Do you find yourself asking ‘what am I doing with my life?’ Are you struggling with little sense of purpose or clear personal goals?
The following five steps will help you work towards refining your sense of personal direction and can help you get back on track, whatever stage of life you are at.
1. Personal Vision
The first thing to consider is what it is that you want out of life. Consider your emotional, material and spiritual needs. Your vision does not have to be big – to find a partner and settle down is a vision; retiring by the sea can be your vision. This is about your long-term dreams; don’t dismiss them. Practical consideration comes next. If you struggle with this consider what you believe you need to do to make you happy, but make sure you align this with your personal values.
2. Set Goals
Once you have a vision or long-term view of where you want to go in life you can start to turn this into goals. For tangible achievements (getting a job, starting a business, building a house) you can make the goals SMART. More subjective goals such as ‘be happy’ are more difficult to define as goals, but consider what tangible goals you can set to work towards those goals.
3. Plan It
With a clearer idea of what you do want to do you now need to move into making it happen. Before you dive in though, think about what you really need to do, in what order to be sure of success. Do you have all the resources you need (money, time, people to help you)? Do you need to learn or research anything before making major life decisions?
If you find yourself saying ‘I could never do that’ or lose faith in yourself as you cannot ‘see’ yourself having achieved the goal, create an outline plan with a more detailed short-term plan that breaks things down into small enough steps to move you in the right direction and lets you worry about the big stuff later.
4. Do it!
There’s no substitute for action. Thinking about it, self-analysing and talking to others about your dreams will just keep them that, dreams. If you’ve created SMART goals, devised at least an outline plan with some first steps, then get out there and get on with it.
5. Rinse and Repeat
It is important to continue using this process throughout your life. Your goals and dreams do change due to both internal and external experiences and growth. Plans don’t always work – so revise them and finally don’t give up.
You will know it is time to refresh the process when you find yourself asking yourself again ‘What am I doing with my life?’ – a sure sign that you’ve once again lost some direction.