What Am I Doing With My Life? How to Find Clarity and Set Yourself Up for Success

Updated Dec 21, 20225 min
What Am I Doing With My Life? How to Find Clarity and Set Yourself Up for Success

What Am I Doing With My Life? How to Find Clarity and Set Yourself Up for Success

Caroline BantonUpdated Dec 21, 20225 min
What Am I Doing With My Life? How to Find Clarity and Set Yourself Up for Success

Things have changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Work models have changed, the education system has changed, the economy has changed. So, in the midst of turmoil, it’s no surprise that some people are struggling with personal development and the trajectory of their lives. Even without unexpected circumstances, it can be difficult to find satisfaction and fulfillment in life. 

This article will show you how to set a direction, whether you are stuck in a job you hate, a college student without a rudder, or someone seeking their life's purpose. It will help you decide what changes you should make now and offers some simple steps to take for positive change.

Realizing You Have a Problem Is the First Step to Resolving It

If you are asking yourself the question, “What am I doing with my life?” chances are you are experiencing frustration or unhappiness. You might have realized that you hate your job, or you might have experienced a life event that has caused you to reassess your current situation. Clearly, you are basically unhappy with your current life.

What’s the way forward? Well, you're well on your way because you have realized you are a little lost; otherwise, you would not have asked the question in the first place. Realizing you have a problem will take you halfway to fixing it. The next step is to figure out what exactly it is that’s making you frustrated or unhappy so that you can then take steps to live your life right.

Try asking yourself the following questions to help you figure out what is wrong with your life, how you would like it to change, and what you can do.

Question #1. What’s Wrong With My Life?

It’s not easy to zone in on what exactly is making you feel so dissatisfied. If you are depressed, every aspect of your life could seem like it is wrong. A better approach might be to ask yourself how you would like your life to be? What would you change if you could? Do you want to learn a new trade? Change occupations? What would make you happy? 

Until you can determine what makes you feel jazzed, it will be hard to make lasting changes that will have the desired effect.

One word of advice is to get off social media for a while. Certain social media platforms can cause you to compare your seemingly dull life with the exciting and fulfilling lives of others. Bear in mind that people tend to post about the most positive aspects of their lives, not the negative ones. Social connections are very important, however, and I talk about them under question #5.

Question #2. Who Do I Want to Be?

This question might help you to envision your future happier self. Can you see yourself doing something that you think is worthwhile? What are you doing when you see yourself content and engaged? Take your time to think about this. Consider what really excited you as a child. What you think is your passion now might not be your passion after all. 

If you are still struggling, talk to a mentor, a life coach, or people who know you well. Once you have pinpointed what you would like to be doing and who you would really like to be, you can figure out how to get there.

Question #3. What Would I Do If I Could Do Anything?

Are you still not seeing yourself happier? Imagine you can do anything for a moment. You don’t have to work, money is less limited, and you feel fantastic. What do you want to do? Travel the world? Buy some land and farm organically? Go back to school and train to be a doctor? 

Brainstorm for a while, and don’t hold back on your wish list. It might seem ridiculous, but don’t limit yourself. Casting a wide net at first can help you to pinpoint your life goals. Just a little thing can spark an idea in your mind that will show you the life you want.

Question #4. What Would I Do If I Could Only Accomplish One More Thing in My Life?

This question is easier to answer if you have completed the one before it. Review that list and see which item is most important to you. If you had limited time, what would you do? The answer might seem impossible to achieve right now, but there might be a way for you to at least head in that direction. 

Perhaps you might decide to save up to travel somewhere. If you want to start a business, you might decide to research what you need to do to find funding. This question should reveal where your true passion lies, and from there, you might be able to come up with a compromise, a way forward that you would enjoy. 

Question #5. How Can I Help Someone Else Right Now?

Very often, we feel lost and unhappy merely because we are lonely and disconnected. This has certainly been the case for people during the COVID-19 epidemic. Try reaching out to others through volunteer work. Join an exercise class, or take up a hobby.

Even if it is just meeting a friend for a coffee or a hike, having a conversation will take the focus off you for a hot minute. Believe it or not, it's healthy to realize that everyone has things going on in their lives, and you are not the only one with trials and tribulations.

Reaching out will also help you to build a support network. If you decide to make changes in your life, you will need the support of friends and family. Be aware though, that the idea here is to listen to others, not to spend hours complaining about your own existential crisis. 

Use this as an exercise to be interested in others and to expand your horizons. You might be surprised what you learn, and helping others can be more fulfilling than helping ourselves.

Question #6. How Do I Find the Time for My Passion?

Spending time with others, taking up an interest, volunteer work, starting a business. These are all excellent suggestions, but how do you find the time when we are all so busy already? Good question.

So, we’ve reached a crucial point here in finding a new direction. Hopefully, you have some idea of what you can or would like to do, and you're done with the goal setting. Now comes the crux of the matter, which is reorganizing your whole life.

Now, you have to prioritize and make sacrifices. You have finite resources in terms of time and money. To pursue a goal, you might have to find a more flexible job or manage with less income for a while. Can you work part-time or take out a loan to tide you over?

This part is tricky because it requires taking risks. It’s the scary part where you make a big decision without knowing what the outcome will be. Here’s the thing. If you don’t, you may regret it for the rest of your life. One strategy is to go for it but to mitigate the risk as best you can at the same time.

For example, if you want to leave your job to start a business, stay in that job for as long as you can before leaving. See if you can work part-time while you launch your business so that you still have some income. 

Draft a solid business plan and find financing. Talk to others who have started similar businesses to find out what challenges they had and how they overcame them. Prepare yourself for similar challenges. Learn everything you can before taking the leap. Take your time.

Question #7. “Where Am I in Relation to Where I Would Like to Be?”

What changes do you need to make to get on the right path to where you are headed? Some changes are obviously going to be much more straightforward than others. If you need to change jobs, that’s simpler than changing careers. If you decide to switch to a new career, you may be looking at going back to school. 

Consider where you are now and what it will take to get to where you want to go. Look at the steps you need to take, the cost, how it will affect your family, and how it will affect your finances. Don’t feel overwhelmed or give up on a dream. Plan out the steps, even if you are looking at year 1, year 2, year 3, etc.

Just the process of creating a plan should make you feel more in control and confident because you have a direction.

Question #8. What is One Thing I Could Do Every Day to Move Towards My Big Goals?

Once you have direction, you should be motivated to take the first step towards your goal. However, fixing what is wrong with your life cannot be done overnight. For example, if you decide you want to get into shape, you will need to eat better, exercise, and get more sleep. But you will have to be patient to see the results of your hard work.

If your goal is to relocate geographically, it requires researching where you would rather live, finding a home, and then figuring out the logistics of moving. You will probably have to get a new job, and doing so will also take some planning.

If you want to start a business, you will need to develop a business plan, find funding if you need it, and that’s all before you start to set up and run your business.

This question points to discipline. To instill lasting change that will allow you to reach your goals will mean stepping out of your comfort zone and committing to hard work and consistency in the short term. If you are willing to commit time, and you follow through, you will build your confidence. Set milestones and reward yourself when you reach them. Doing so will keep you motivated.

Key Takeaways

Some people know from an early age where they want their entire lives to go, but most don’t. So, asking yourself the big question, “What am I doing with my life?” is a good sign. It’s a catalyst for badly needed change.

Starting from a point of feeling lost, you can find clarity and purpose by asking yourself a few introspective questions. The answers can set you on a new personal direction or career path, one that you are motivated and excited to follow. But hold on, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Now is the time to channel that motivation and plan each step carefully so that you set yourself up for success.

Caroline Banton
Expert on career acceleration and business topics with vast experience writing for globally-recognized publications

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