“I have no idea what to do with my life.”
This is not the first time the thought has crossed your mind. Maybe this time it resonates more strongly than usual. Perhaps this time you realise that the thought is rather debilitating, and something needs addressing. This is good. This, in itself, is progress. You must first realise a problem before it can be properly understood and fixed.
For these following solutions to work effectively, you must first truly believe and know it within yourself that you are genuinely capable of tackling this problem to better your life.
Truthfully ask yourself why these thoughts surface within your psyche
The disorienting thought of “I have no idea what to do with my life” can be damaging to your mental health and willpower to get things done. To be productive in life, you want to be grounded, self-assured, and motivated.
Having these thoughts arise is a hindrance to your ability to excel in whatever it is that you wish to achieve. Our goal here is to address these thoughts by asking truthfully to ourselves the reason why these thoughts arise in the first place.
This is where it becomes incumbent on you to figure this reason out for yourself. Only you truly know yourself. Others, including myself writing this, can only assist you in your journey.
Consider the following for potential reasons why these thoughts may be coming up for you.
- You feel that the world around you is moving too fast and that you are perhaps stuck with a particular trauma or mental affliction inherited from past experiences.
- You have not taken up enough responsibilities in your life for you to feel that life has any real purpose.
- Perhaps you are still young or not mature enough to realise for yourself what you need to do with your life to feel fulfilled. You need more time, more life-experiences.
- Perhaps this is only a small setback from your usual high productivity lifestyle to which you are exceptionally proud of. Maybe this means you simply need to correct a few things to get back on track.
- You, either willingly or unwillingly, allow the thoughts to perpetuate your mind so that you can continue to live a life free from any real responsibility (which risks going down the path of nihilism).
As you may realise, the potential reasons above are highly diverse, each curated to a particular type of individual with their own separate life journeys. You do not have to fit yourself into any category. You need to figure out your specific circumstance. It is also an opportunity to truthfully reflect on yourself to solve a relatively complex mental predicament. A lot of self-growth can be derived from this task.
It is also important to realise that everyone has these thoughts from time to time. The key aspect to look out for is when the thoughts become too frequent and intense that it becomes difficult to function.
Remember that overcoming this struggle does not mean the thought will never arise again. It means that when the thought does arise, it does not obliterate your will to engage with life and function with the productivity you desire. There are solutions that when you next time become aware of this sentence “I have no idea what to do with my life”, you will just have a smile on your face, because you will have your answers!
A different perspective may help
One possible perspective: If life inherently has no meaning, the responsibility lies within ourselves to create meaning in our own lives. This can be a source of liberation for those suffering from the initial thought of being unsure of what to do with life.
The rational solution to this problem is to realise that your life’s mission is to figure out what it is that you love, that drives you, that gives you the source of meaning that you need to keep going. This is highly individual. We often take our inspiration from what we see happening around us. Often part of the journey of finding out what we want is through finding out what we do not want.
Ways how to get a new perspective on life:
- Help a few different non-profit organizations for example on the weekends; when volunteering in retirement homes you can listen to the life stories and life advice from old people and ask them some good meaningful questions
- Check out sites such as workaway; this enables to live with other families and communities for a couple of weeks or months, and participate in their daily lifestyles and learning some practical skills from them
- Joining meetups and spending time with getting to know people who have different interests
- Watching documentaries (on a vast range of different topics; you can find many documentaries also on YouTube)
- Learning more about “Simple Living” / “Minimalist Lifestyle”, what it is, what are the benefits of it
- Talking to several homeless people and asking about their life story
- Reading books for example about spirituality to get to know more about the “Higher Purpose” in life according to some “awakened and enlightened people and avatars”; when going through the process of awakening or enlightenment, depending on the stage of that process you will be realizing a new perspective on life
Journaling is commendable in its ability to grant clarity and understanding of yourself. Consider it strongly as a solution to being overwhelmed by the possible thought of not being sure what to do with life.
Journaling takes time to get used to if you are new to it, but like any skill, practice makes perfect.
What to journal?
All the positive things that you notice: What made you smile today? What made you feel happy today? The more of such moments you become aware of and collect them and remind yourself of them, the easier it becomes to see, notice and acknowledge the bright side of life and the more motivation you will have to live a life with more of such positive moments in it. Even if you do not always know what to do in life, you can enjoy life more thanks to training your ability to see the good things in life more often and approach your daily tasks with such a positive attitude. You cannot always change or control what is happening and what will happen, but you can choose your attitude.
Some people journal their dreams to gain some additional insights into their subconscious mind and discover what blocks and limitations they could choose to work on consciously during the day to resolve and be free of them, doing it either alone or with the help of a professional experienced therapist. Life becomes easier and more enjoyable without certain blocks and limitations, which tend to have a big influence on our experience of life.
When talking about dreams – do you know that it is possible to do “conscious dreaming” also known as “lucid dreaming”? This means that you are fully aware that you are sleeping and dreaming and you can “make your dreams come true” while sleeping. We sleep roughly 1/3 of our lives; imagine using that time to experience things, which are not possible so easily and fast in the normal waking state.
People who learned and mastered lucid dreaming say, that it feels/looks same real as the non-sleeping part of life. If you think you can never reach certain dreams, wishes and experiences, think again – it may be easier than you think if you educate yourself about and practice lucid dreaming. You can let your imagination run wild. Check out this free resource about “The Phase”. When searching for books for example on amazon, you could also search for “dream yoga”.
Motivation and further solutions
We transform many times in life.
Let go of that you have to prove anything to anyone.
Live a life from which you do not need a vacation.
Every day is a new beginning.
Find out what you love and do it as much as possible. You find it out by trying out things you haven’t done before. It is highly individual, only you can find it out by doing, by taking action, not by waiting and postponing. Do more of the activities which you like/enjoy/love.
Is there something you have always wanted to do, but you have been putting it off?
You can create a bucket list of what you would like to experience – get inspired by bucket lists of other people. Having such a list can motivate you to do more of them in your life and can give you some answers next time the thought “I have no idea what to do with my life” crosses your mind. It can serve as a type of motivation, something to look forward to, something to keep you busy instead of bored and depressed (lack of meaning in life, lack of joy in life, lack of motivation can amplify feeling depressed).
Gain clarity about your short-term goals and long-term goals (one goal is enough to start) and develop an action plan (concrete steps you can keep doing daily/weekly) and go through the process step by step, adjusting and learning along your own unique path. While doing the steps keep asking yourself: what could I do to enjoy this activity even more?
Whenever you feel lost or down, remind yourself why you started. What’s your motivation? It is very helpful to know what motivates you.
If you don’t take action, life often seems to put us in an even less favorable place, until we make the action happen.
What’s the next best step? Focus on the next step that appears to be doing something positive and helpful.
Recommended reading: Get new inspirations about different types of life purpose from the chapter “Give Meaning to Your Life” in the book “Quest For a Depression-Free Life, a Practical Guidebook”, which is free to download.
Questions to ask yourself
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get more clarity about what to do with your life:
- Do I want to gather things or experiences, if experiences, what type of experiences?
- What feelings would I like to feel often, regularly in my life and what are examples of how and when I can feel those feelings?
- Is there something that I have always wanted to do? Do I have a bucket list with priorities and assigned dates – what would be the soonest possible dates when I could actually make it happen?
- What matters to my family and do I really want the same?
- What is a universal higher purpose of life according to enlightened people and am I interested in it?
- What are my biggest challenges in life? Could I choose to master them and become an expert at least for some of them?
- What are my hobbies? Can I do them more often? Can I live a life, which is based on my hobbies? Why not? Why not choose it and strive to make it happen?
The adage of “I have no idea what to do with my life” is prevalent in the lives of many people over many generations. Perhaps it has become more so a problem in our recent times as mental health problems including depression and anxiety have been on the rise. Nonetheless, this article aims to provide some practical suggestions to dealing with the uncertainty of life and I hope this imparts some comfort to whoever is struggling.
Live a healthy lifestyle, love deeply (do what love would do), approach life with a childlike wonder and a smile on your face, be kind to everyone, be a positive example to others, contribute to making life on this planet better for others.
Find three hobbies you love:
- One to make you money
- One to keep you fit
- One to be creative
Get personal recommendations and insights: