Most of us have no clue what we want to do with our lives. We let life take us from one job to the next, from one partner to the other, one home to the next without really grasping at where we actually want to steer our boat. We want to live fulfilled lives, but there is so much choice (and so many examples) out there today, it’s hard to discern what our own path is, and decide what you want out of your life.
I think we don’t decide because it’s scary to define ourselves, to say “this is who I am and what I stand for.” Once you decide, you have to take action. So sitting in indecision land is a way to escape your potential. When we choose what direction to point ourselves in, we have to live our lives by that choice… or do we? Choosing what you want out of your life doesn’t have to be as scary as it feels.
How to decide what I want to do
You’ve probably made a bunch of big life decisions without giving them too much mental space, choosing a partner or friends who just so happened into your life, and a career that seemed like a good idea, but now is not as fulfilling as it once seemed. But don’t worry! You probably made pretty good choices that just need some tweaking. You don’t have to change everything – small, incremental changes can move you toward that life (and lifestyle) you want.
Choose what you don’t want
Making major life decisions is daunting because we have so many options today – you can literally do and be anything you want, reinventing yourself online or in real life with the change of locations, partners or career. When you want to figure out your life, it helps to cut down your options and focus on what you DON’T want.
That’s right. Instead of focusing your attention on what you want, look at what you already know you DON’T want. Make a list that is focused on the things you would like to get rid of from your life, like this:
Don’t Want List:
- A 9-5 job
- A boss
- Stress about money
- To commute long hours
How will this help me??
Don’t let this list get you down! It’s just a starting point to more awesome. It’s just a short list, but you can already see – by looking at this list and then asking yourself: What is the opposite thing I actually WANT? The picture becomes much clearer:
- Positive people surrounding me, and supporting me.
- Freedom to work where I want, when I want.
- Guidance and help from experts, but not top-down instruction.
- Ease of a short commute (to my desk, coffee shop, or coworking space)
- Respect from my partner and those around me
Choosing the bright side
This gives you a very clear blueprint to decide the kind of life you want to lead. Let yourself free in this process, don’t worry too much about the what’s, the hows, or the when’s. Concern yourself with painting a clear picture of what you do actually want. Try it for yourself, this is the first step to deciding. Write yourself a list of “don’t wants” and see what materializes for you, use your intuition.
Decide what you want to feel
The next thing I am going to teach you about it Core Desired Feelings, a concept from the book The Desire Map from Danielle Laporte. She says that feelings come first, and when you ask yourself “how do I want to feel?” all kinds of magical shit starts to happen.
I’ve seen it again and again. I teach my clients to focus on the way they want to FEEL instead of all the things they want to have, or what they want to DO. Often, our materialistic lives can trick us into thinking that if we only have THAT POSITION, that THING, that SHINY OBJECT, then we will finally be happy. It actually works in reverse.
Reverse Engineer your feels
To decide what you want, work backward from the feelings. Think of five glorious feeling words that you want to FEEL. If you are stuck, think of the things you want (travel, a promotion, love). Then associate the desired feeling with it (adventure, freedom, powerful, accomplished, sexy, romantic). See how that works? Here are some fun feeling words to get you started:
What do I do with these words?
Once you have chosen some words to play with, write them EVERYWHERE. I have mine in my planner on a post-it, at my desk on a bulletin board, and taped on my laptop. I meditate on each word individually, then work on ways to feel that way FIRST. I had a word I was working on (beloved) and I spent much time and effort on giving that beloved feeling to myself first, and then I met a man who made me feel that exact feeling, so I knew it was what I was looking for. If you want to feel powerful, use your wardrobe and create a power outfit. If you want to feel peaceful, carve out an “hour of peace” into your schedule and work on feeling that way for one hour.
“So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide.” – Meredith Gray
You have to engineer your own life path. You can decide what you want out of your life by doing these two things – defining what you don’t want, and defining how you want to feel.
Deciding is scary. It means we actually are putting out there what we truly need and what we don’t, shutting down our options, choosing a path, risking loss, and getting on our way. If you are stuck in indecision because you don’t know what life will be like on the other side, hear my voice: it will be magical if you are brave enough to take the leap.
What do I do next?
It’s time to make a decision about who you are and what you stand for. Make your want/don’t want list, and decide what your core desired feelings are. This is just the first step: deciding what you want can lead to all kinds of incredible outcomes. Now that you’ve mastered this, join me at Design Your Life 101 – a free webinar masterclass that goes one step further, teaching you the framework you need to actually put your dreams into action. It’s not rocket science, but a trusty guide can help you and cut the worry in half! Join a group of like-minded learners on Friday, July 20th at Noon EST, and get in on this complimentary half hour lesson on what to do next. Sign up here and reserve your spot!