Career

Practical Steps To Take If You Don’t Know What You’re Doing With Your Life

We’ve all had those moments in life where we catch ourselves quietly thinking, what the hell am I doing? You might be three years into a uni degree that you’re now completely unsure of, in a job where you feel trapped, or  just struggling to find your feet – regardless of why you’re feeling this way, it’s undeniably the worst.

When we get stuck in this toxic and negative headspace, it can conjure up feelings of inadequacy, failure and disappointment, and while in this frame of mind it can be difficult to know exactly who to turn to or what to do.

It might be tempting to just entertain these feelings of sadness and confusion by slipping into unhealthy habits, but it’s important to pull yourself out of the slump, ASAP.

If you are having a ‘WTF am I doing with my life?’ moment, you’re not alone – here are some practical steps to get you back on track.

Find a mentor

If you think you have an inkling of what you do want to do with your life, but just don’t know where to start or the processes involved, it’s good to seek out someone who you admire and has achieved what it is you desire.

This might be someone in the industry of your dream job, someone with a bunch of life experience or someone you trust – regardless who it is, it’s always easier to conquer these sorts of things when someone’s by your side.

Once you’ve found a mentor and they’ve shared some of their wisdom, the next step is setting small and attainable goals. If you’re gunning for a new job, update and send out your resume. If you’re trying to get over an ex, just key their car (kidding!). You get the picture: draw on their knowledge and experiences and then take practical steps.

Maybe you’re not looking for a professional mentor, but someone who can give you perspective on life itself. There’s a one-stop shop for these kind of experts – a nursing home. Old people get overlooked at times, but they’ve lived through a bunch of stuff, way more than you have. You’re sure to find someone to offer advice plus volunteering is super fulfilling.

Take a break

When we hit this point of uncertainty, it can be difficult to find a moment to think – especially when you’re still caught up at work and tied up with commitments. If these are the things that are causing you stress, it’s can help to take a step back from the situation.

If you’ve got some leave banked up, peace out and go on holidays. You’re entitled to them! Seriously, leave your problems at home or work and just get away for a while. It’ll allow you space to think things through with a level head.

If you’ve been seriously contemplating quitting your job but aren’t sure, do you think it would be better to make that decision at work while you’re stressed and annoyed, or on some beach somewhere when you’re relaxed and super chill? I’ll take the latter any day, please.

Use this as a time to reflect, give yourself some space and figure out a game plan for your return. If you can’t get away, the break doesn’t have to be as extravagant – it could be as simple as finding a nice quiet spot for a few hours that doesn’t stress you out where you can consider your options going forward.

Make time for what makes you happy

Ha, I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done, right? But you might find the biggest barrier to discovering something that makes you really happy is the fact that you just haven’t tried it yet. Make a list of all the things that you’ve always wanted to have a crack at, but for whatever reason just haven’t.

This might mean joining a sports team, taking some night classes after work that interest you, or volunteering. The most important thing is to continually and actively seek make time for something that makes you happy.

It’s also important to note that it mightn’t happen right away, and that’s OK. Give it some time though, because accepting defeat when you’re bummed with uncertainty like this isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.

Most importantly, when things are going bad, it’s easy to spend your time dwelling on the crappy things. Take a moment to count your blessings and reflect on all the things that are going good in your life and above all else know that it’s just temporary. Keep persevering and you’ll be sweet.


Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys Tina Fey comedies, is an advocate of cheese and a connoisseur of cheap red wine.