Do you feel like a clock is ticking and you need to quickly figure out exactly what you want to do with your life? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, 60% of millennials are suffering from a quarter-life crisis.
We are the generation that grew up being told we can be anything we want. But knowing you can be anything is a lot of pressure. You feel stuck trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do.
If you’re suffering from analysis paralysis or just don’t know what the heck to do next, I share my top tips below to help you figure out what you want to do with your life.
How to Figure Out What You Want to Do With Your Life
1. Stop thinking about it
When you say you’re going to figure something out, this generally implies that you’ll be able to figure it out by thinking about it. You know if you just think through all of your options, you will eventually land on the perfect solution.
But that’s not how it works.
You don’t get anywhere in life just by thinking about it. You have to put on your big girl pants and go out into the world and start taking action.
You might think you are really going to enjoy doing something only to find out a few days, weeks or months later that you absolutely hate it.
But it’s just as important to figure out what you don’t like.
So stop living your best life inside of your mind. Stop thinking and start doing.
2. Stop “should-ing” all over yourself
There are probably a gazillion things you feel like you SHOULD be doing. This causes a lot of internal conflict because you probably don’t want to do most or any of those things.
You tell yourself things like “if I don’t become a lawyer, I’ll be wasting my degree or I won’t live up to my potential.” This is exactly what I used to tell myself.
But I would be miserable as a lawyer, and I learned a lot during my time studying. So it wasn’t a waste.
The truth is the only way you will be wasting anything is if you continue to pursue things you think you SHOULD be doing instead of focusing on the things you WANT to do.
So stop “should-ing” all over yourself.
3. Brush off the haters
The truth is you probably have some idea of what you want to do. But it’s outside of the norm, and you are afraid of what other people will think.
I’ve wanted to be life coach since I graduated with my degree in Psychology almost TEN years ago. But I kept telling myself lies like “oh that’s not a real job” or “who am I to help people with their lives.”
Don’t let your fear of what other people will think hold you back from pursuing something you feel really passionate about.
It doesn’t matter what you decide to do, someone is going to have an opinion about it. So you might as well be doing something that you love.
4. Embrace being a beginner
Whenever you try something new, you have to be prepared to really suck at first.
This is where I struggle the most. I want to be the best in the world at something on the first try. Then when I’m not, I accept that I’m not good enough and quit. This is why my calligraphy still looks like a five-year old designed your wedding invitations.
I give up too early so I never get better.
So when you are trying something new, be prepared to go through a period of being reeeaaallllyy bad at it. But know that with practice you will get better.
What helps me is to practice in private. You don’t have to announce to the whole world – “Hey, I’m trying this new thing!” Just work on it in your own time. Once you feel more confident in your skills then you can start shouting your awesomeness from the rooftops.
Try to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to be the best. Embrace your suckiness and don’t forget to celebrate as you stick with your goal and get better!
5. “Figuring it out” doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy
We think that once we have it “all figured out” (whatever that means), life will somehow be a lot easier. But it’s important to set realistic expectations.
Even the people who have known what they want to do with their lives since they were five have to struggle with uncertainty and indecisiveness.
There isn’t a single path in life that comes with a manual that will tell you exactly what to do every step of the way. We are all just doing our best to figure it out as we go along.
Once you realize that nobody really knows what they’re doing, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
So remember, fear and uncertainty isn’t a sign that you’re not ready or not good enough. It’s just a sign that you’re growing.
6. You can always change your mind
You might be really struggling to figure out what you want to do with your life because you fear making the WRONG choice.
I’ve totally been there. After five years, I was completely sick of my job. But I had no idea what I wanted to do next, and I felt like I had already wasted so much time.
But the problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to try. I wanted to try EVERYTHING. As a multipotentialite, I have always struggled with narrowing my focus down to one thing. This kept me frozen for YEARS.
I didn’t want to make the wrong choice so I did nothing. It wasn’t until I started experimenting with several of my passions that I finally started to move forward. I took a semester of Interior Design then explored starting a Virtual Assistant business only to find that these were better suited as hobbies and just weren’t the right path for me.
You can’t truly know whether you will enjoy something until you try it on and test if it’s a good fit. If you feel stuck because you can’t decide which path to take, just try one. If it doesn’t work out or it’s not what you expected, you can always change your mind and move on to the next thing.
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Life is about the journey not the destination. Take the time to explore all of your interests. Eventually you won’t be worried about “figuring it all out” because you will be too busy enjoying your life.