Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This was me for a long time.
So I decided I needed to take a step back and look at my life objectively. That way, I could gain clarity and perspective.
You may have heard of the famous quote by George Bernard Shaw:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”
I decided it was time to start creating a better life. In this article, I’m going to share with you exactly what I did.
Do you feel like your life is going nowhere fast? Then read on.
I feel like my life is going nowhere so did these 10 things
1) I took an honest look at the different areas of my life
That feeling of being stuck is one of the most frustrating.
And if you are anything like me, it’s made far worse by not really being able to pinpoint what exactly is wrong.
It felt more like an overall feeling of discontent. But I couldn’t have told you what precisely.
Maybe it was a mixture of boredom and an uninspired feeling about my life in general.
But I decided that in order to make changes, I had to be able to more clearly look at what needed to change.
Life is obviously made up of lots of different areas. Our relationships, our health, our careers, etc. To have a happy life, we ideally want a balanced life that takes into account all our different needs.
Some areas of your life may need more attention than others right now.
To help me assess my life I used a simplified version of the wheel of life exercise.
In a nutshell, here’s what you do:
- Think about all the significant areas that make up your life. You can tailor these to what is most important to you. Personally, I used:
4) Family & friends
5) Romantic relationships/Love life
- Then you give each of these areas a satisfaction score (from 0-10). How fulfilled do you feel in these areas at the moment?
For example, I know I have some solid friendships, so I rated this at 7 out of 10. But my love life feels like a shambles, so this got a 2.
This exercise is good as it helps you take an objective look at your life, and figure out the bits that are and aren’t really working.
2) I considered what my biggest priorities are
My next step was to try and figure out my priorities and then align my life with them.
Because the funny thing is that the vast majority spend a lot of our time on things we probably don’t really care about, and not enough time on the stuff that we do.
If you were to list the top most important things to you in your life right now, what would they be?
What matters more to you?
There aren’t any right or wrong answers. It’s about working out what is most important to you.
Here’s a powerful exercise to help you check in on your priorities.
Create a list of the things you spent most of your time on —people, activities, and the areas that take up your time.
Once you’ve created your list, note on a scale of 1-10
1) How important is this to you right now?
2) How much time do you devote to it?
When we do this, we can see where what we say and what we do are not matching up.
We say our relationships are most important to us, but we’re spending 60+ hours a week working.
We say we want to learn new skills and grow, but we discover we’re spending 20 hours a week bingeing on Netflix
We say our well-being is vital, but we realize we’re not making the time for positive habits that support it.
Creating a list of your biggest priorities help you to decide where to focus your time and energy.
3) I identified my self-limiting beliefs
We can be our own biggest enemy. We constantly put ourselves down.
Self-limiting beliefs are thoughts that limit us from living a fulfilling life. They’re often unconscious and started as early as childhood.
They may be things like:
“I’m not smart enough”, “I’ll never get a job”, “I’m too old to start something new”.
They are basically the negative stories we tell ourselves. But the big problem is that if you believe something, you act accordingly.
The limiting assumptions we make about ourselves hold us back and stop us from achieving our potential.
If we think nobody listens to us, we’re not going to bother speaking up. If we think we’re powerless, we don’t bother sticking up for ourselves. If we are terrified of failure, we never dare to take a risk.
Ask yourself some of the negative stories you tell yourself.
There’s no magic way to erase self-limiting beliefs overnight. But it does start with a) identifying your own unique self-limiting beliefs) challenging them.
You can start to challenge them by:
1) Looking for real-life examples where your negative assumptions have been incorrect. (e.g. I’m going to fail that exam, but then you didn’t)
2) Recognize when they pop up and consciously replace them with a more positive thought. (e.g. “I’ll never get that job” might be replaced by “I have plenty of things to offer an employer”)
3) Take positive action despite your self-limiting beliefs. (e.g I’m not sure if I’ll get the job, but I may as well go for it)
4) I tapped into my personal power
If tapping into your personal power sounds a bit vague. Here is exactly what I mean:
I decided to take responsibility for myself.
I decided that it was up to me to get to the bottom of what I really want out of life, remove the obstacles standing in my way, and cultivate the enthusiasm I need to shape my life however I want.
I recognize that sounds like a tall order. And I didn’t do all of this alone. I took a free Masterclass on personal power from a shaman called Rudá Iandê.
Please note that I’m certainly not the kind of guy who has ever had a shaman (in fact I actually had to Google what that even meant).
But taking his free masterclass gave me some very practical guidance on things like:
- Getting rid of limiting beliefs
- Building a stronger relationship with myself
- Discovering more creativity and enthusiasm for life
- Figuring out how to actually achieve the life I want (rather than just dreaming about it).
Taking Rudá’s free Masterclass was really significant for me because it helped me to recognize that I already had a huge amount of power and potential within me.
I just wasn’t tapping into it and that’s why I felt stuck and like I was going nowhere.
Sadly, nobody is going to improve your life but you. That’s why tapping into your own unique power is pretty essential.
To help you do this I really recommend you check out that free video.
5) I took the pressure off and got curious instead
There’s nothing more debilitating than piling on the pressure.
The more pressure we put on ourselves, often the more we procrastinate and just end up feeling even more stuck.
I realized that I was making everything such a big deal, but this was stopping me from giving things a try.
So I took some very good advice from a friend and I got curious.
He is always trying out new things. He has this really playful energy. He is fascinated by life and approaches things with a beginner’s mindset that just wants to learn.
He is also very successful and he attributes this success to his curious attitude.
I decided I needed to stop shutting myself off from my playful side. I vowed to become more childlike.
That meant being prepared to give things a go, rather than making it all such a big deal.
When faced with something new I swapped my expectations for experimentation. I didn’t have any other goal than to curiously see what could happen.
This might sound a bit silly, but it’s been one of the most effective things on the list.
It’s helped me to relax and enjoy life again. It’s made me more open to opportunities and less afraid of taking risks.
And that’s exactly what I want in my life.
6) I pledged to take one small step every day
Nothing changes without taking action.
So armed with all this new information about what was holding me back and what I wanted to improve in my life, I vowed to take some kind of action every day.
And here was the key to make sure I actually did it:
Rather than overwhelm myself, I simply committed to taking small actions.
It could be doing some research, searching online for local courses, reading for 30 minutes, practicing something for an hour, etc.
As long as I was taking steps in the right direction, I knew that I was creating momentum to feel like life was going somewhere.
Make a list of things that you are curious about, or things that you want to do to improve an area of your life and then (without expectation) do it.
It might be applying for jobs, starting to learn a new language, planning a trip, joining an online dating agency, taking an exercise class, etc.
Just pick something and commit to taking some action on it each day.
7) I started to appreciate what I already have
I really think that every single one of us looks at our life at some point and feels like it’s not going anywhere.
One of the most instant antidotes to feeling like this is to remind yourself of what you do have. Because everyone has something to be grateful for.
I’m not trying to be all sickly sweet here. But the reality is that there are so many people who don’t have much. And they still manage to live happy lives. So why can’t we?
If you’re struggling to find gratitude in your life, start looking around you. You probably have a lot more than you realize.
For example, you have a roof over your head, food to eat, clothes to wear, a bed to sleep in, access to water, electricity, your health, people who care about you, etc.
There are so many things that we take for granted.
I’m not trying to guilt trip you. Gratitude is really useful as scientific research has proven it can make you “feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships”.
Simply starting a gratitude journal can help you realize that you have way more than you think.
8) I confronted my feelings of “not enoughness”
Society tells us we are not enough.
We are not beautiful enough, we are not smart enough, we are not fit enough, we are not successful enough, and we are not rich enough.
I don’t know you, but I guarantee you will most likely have felt at least one, if not all, of this “not enoughness” at some point.
More is always the solution to feeling better within our culture. And we can end up measuring ourselves on our productivity above all else.
It’s easy to give you a long list of things you can start doing today to feel like your life is going somewhere.
But there is no point in changing your external circumstances without taking a long hard look at how you feel on the inside, and why you feel this way.
Because no external changes will ever be enough for you if you don’t feel enough on the inside.
To feel like you are “going somewhere in life” I think it’s super important for us to ask ourselves ‘Where is there to go?’
Because you want to make sure your motivation is coming from your own desires and not someone else’s.
We can all rush from place to place, franticly doing, doing, doing and it might make us feel better. We might be able to say, well, at least I’m on my way.
But where do you want to go?
What will be enough so that you can finally feel good about yourself?
9) I stopped comparing myself to other people
The times in my life when I’ve felt like the biggest loser have been when I’ve compared myself to someone else.
So and so just bought a new car, my buddy just got this great new job, my younger sister has been happily married for years and I’m still single.
It’s so easy to feel like you are falling behind in life when you’re busy looking around at what other people are doing or have.
You get caught up in thinking that you need to catch up to them before you can feel like you’re moving forward.
This is a trap because it makes you feel bad about yourself. It makes you feel like you’re not good enough.
If you compare yourself to others too much, you’ll never feel like you’re making progress. You’ll only feel like you’re losing ground.
When you stop comparing yourself to others, you start to see yourself differently. You start to value yourself more. And you start to appreciate who you are.
10) I recognized the progress I made
Remember I mentioned how easy it is to beat yourself up?
Well as a consequence of being so down on ourselves we also have a tendency to completely overlook the progress we make.
This was something I struggled with. Because I was constantly focusing on improving myself. But I forget to celebrate the small victories along the way.
Look back on the accomplishments you have already achieved in life — big and small.
Think about things you’ve done that make you feel proud.
And as you try to make changes and improvements to your life moving forward, be sure to notice your efforts along the way.
To help me do this before I went to bed, I started to write down all of the day’s “wins”.
I recognized all the things that had gone well, and any progress or effort I made.
We’re not talking about huge things. It’s those small actions that all add up.
To conclude: when life feels like it’s going nowhere
I’m not going to pretend that life is perfect now. It’s a work in progress and that’s ok. But at least I feel like I’m finally moving forward.
And importantly, in a direction, I want to be heading.
It can be hard to change our lives if we don’t know where we’re starting from.
But once we realize that we’re not starting from scratch, we can begin to tap into our inner strength and confidence.
We can make peace with where we are now, whilst simultaneously working towards the life we want.