I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life: 21 Tips

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Sarvika Aggarwal

31 January 2024

9 Mins

Once in a lifetime, everyone goes through a phase where they say, “I don’t know what to do with my life.” Especially individuals who are entering their 20s and are currently in their 20s.

This dialogue usually comes out when someone is asked about their career plans or, in general, what they wish to do in life. It can be quite daunting to carry this feeling when you see people around you going after their dreams and feeling like everyone knows what to do with their life except you.

However, we don’t see it but all of us, every individual we meet, go through or must have gone through this feeling of, “I don't know what I want to do with my life.” Not that there is anything wrong with not knowing but for a person who wishes to know, they go through a spectrum of emotions to get to the other side of it. So, how should one deal with this?

Well, let’s take a look at what to do when you don't know what to do with your life.

21 Tips if You Don’t Know What to Do With Your Life

While it can be quite difficult to sit and do something when you are going through a feeling of, “I don’t know what to do with my life.” However, to get somewhere, you will have to start somewhere, so here are 21 tips on what to do if you are always like, “idk what to do with life.”

1. Know that it is okay to feel lost in life

It is quite impossible to know everything in life and when you accept this, you accept how sometimes things can make you feel scattered or lost in life. However, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get to know what you wish to do in life. When you let yourself be okay with the feeling of being lost, you are able to sit in the feeling of “I dont know what to do with my life” and give yourself time to get on to the other side of life.

2. Change your perspective

Not knowing what you want to do in life is absolutely okay. Today’s society makes it seem like you have to know everything in order to achieve everything. However, when you change your perspective, learn to go with the flow and sit with the feeling of “I don’t know what to do with my life”, your perspective on life changes and you can at least feel okay about it rather than get restless about it.

3. Explore your options

If you get the thought, “I don’t know what to do with my life," it is important that you explore your options and get out of your comfort zone. It might seem difficult or uncomfortable; however, sitting with those thoughts won’t get you anywhere. So, it is better that you do something about this by trying new things.

4. Try things you always wanted to do

This is your chance to try out things that you have always wanted to do. It might seem hard or challenging but take it as a golden opportunity and explore things that have always made you happy and excited from the inside. It can be as simple as trying out pottery or signing up for dance classes.

5. Try journaling

When you are not able to let go of the thought “I don’t know what to do with my life," it is best to take a piece of paper and jot down whatever you are feeling or thinking on it, so even if it might not make you feel better, you will be able to understand what mess or chaos has been going on in your mind.

6. Research on what you can do

If you have no idea about your interests or passions, do research about them and see what options are available and feasible for you. You might not get your answers right away but doing proper research, reaching out to your seniors, and talking to people who have tried and tested different things will help you get an idea of what you want to do in life.

7. Reframe your thoughts

Often times, our thoughts end up becoming our reality. So if your thoughts are based on a negative ideology, it is important that you reframe your thoughts and instead of thinking that you would never be able to do anything in life or that it is so bad that I don’t know what I want from my life, you think that I am in the process of understanding what I want from life or that I am not making any hasty decisions when it comes to doing something important in life.

8. Make a list

When you are confused and lost about what you want to do in life, it is best to make a list and write down things that excite you and things you wouldn’t want to do in life. Through this, you will get clarity on which direction to take.

9. Set SMART goals

When you are feeling lost and do not know which path to take, try making SMART goals for yourself. Goals that are small, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented will give you the push and motivation to go after them and manifest them.

10. Talk to old people

This is not said much but talking to old and experienced people who have seen life and have had their share of ups and downs can help you immensely in this situation. So when you feel like you have no goals or know what to do in life, talk to an old person like your grandparents and share these feelings with them. You might not get a solution but listening to their stories will definitely help you feel better.

11. Read non-fiction books

Sometimes the answers you are looking for in the outside world are hidden in books. Reading non-fictional books or autobiographies of certain people will help you see the world from their perspective, which will eventually help you write a path for yourself. So when you are getting thoughts like “I don’t know what to do with my life," grab a non-fiction book and try giving it a read.

It is okay to not know what to do in life. Talk to professional experts and get the answers to your questions for free.

12. Meet new people

When you have no idea what to do in life, go out and meet new people, network on LinkedIn, or just try Bumble BFF to see who piques your interest. Meeting new people and listening to their personal stories can help you in unimaginable ways. So if you have no idea what you want to do, try this; if not anything, you might just make some friends for a lifetime.

13. Go on a solo trip

If you have no idea what to do in life, rather than sulking or isolating yourself, go on a solo trip and explore places you have never visited before. Nothing teaches you more than a solo trip. However, if your parents are against this idea, you can always sign up with groups and go on trips with people you have never met before. This way, you can meet new people and even enjoy your personal time.

14. Say yes to things that are out of your comfort zone

Often times, we do not understand what we want to do because we keep saying no to things that might bring us growth and awareness. So if you come across something that you know will push you out of your comfort zone in a good way, say yes to it even if it makes you scared.

15. Enroll in different courses

A good way to get to know yourself and where your passion lies is by enrolling in different courses. Some courses might be out of your reach but if you do not try them, you won’t know what suits you the best. So the best way to know what makes you happy is by enrolling yourself in different courses and seeing what piques your interest the most.

16. Think less, do more

Often times, we do not understand what we want to do because our thoughts create restrictions for us and we end up listening to them rather than actively doing something to see what we wish to achieve in life. So instead of listening to your thoughts, do what your conscious says and act on those things.

17. You can do many things at once

If you have a lot of interests and do not know what piques your interest the most, you can do 2-3 things at one time. This way, you will get a fair understanding of what makes you excited and happy and what option you won’t want to go after.

18. You don’t have to figure it all out

In order to go after something that makes you happy, you do not have to have everything figured out. You can go after what makes you happy without having all the answers. You do not have to necessarily have everything in place to pursue your dream career.

19. Listen to your intuition

In times when your thoughts are playing with you and you have no idea what to do, sit with yourself and listen to your intuition. Ask your inner self what will make you happy and rather than listening to your thoughts, listen to your intuition.

20. Sit with your inner child

When you feel lost and confused about which path to pursue, sit with your inner child and go back to the basics, like reading books, watching TV shows or movies, or simply spending time with yourself. This will help you put things in perspective and see what really makes your inner child happy.

21. Do weekly/monthly passion hunts

Set your weekly/monthly goals, like doing painting for one week or going to dance classes the next week. This will keep you motivated and help you determine what path to finally pursue for yourself.

5 Specific Questions That’ll Help You Know What to Do With Your Life

If you are not able to find the answer to your thought, “I don’t know what to do with my life," try asking yourself these 5 simple questions,and you just might get to know something you didn’t before.

  1. What will I do if money isn’t an issue?
  2. What will I do if I know I won’t fail at all?
  3. What is stopping me from doing what I love?
  4. In my opinion, what kind of work would satisfy me?
  5. Am I holding back because it is too late for me? Why?

How Can Now&Me Help?

If you are not sure what path to pursue or what makes you happy from the inside, sign up on Now&Me, connect with career counselors or professional experts for free, and understand where your interest lies.

If you are not too keen on taking therapy, you can even explore the community section and talk to like-minded people who have been through a similar situation as yours. This will help you see your situation in a different light and go towards what you really want.

Download the Now&Me app and get to know what you want to do in life right away!

Talk to career counselors and understand what you want to do in life for free.

Sources

  1. “I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life”: 23 Tips to Find Your Way. Aimlef. https://aimlief.com/i-dont-know-what-to-do-with-my-life/

  2. I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life: Here’s How to Find Your Way. Soul Salt. https://soulsalt.com/i-dont-know-what-to-do-with-my-life/

Now&Me articles are written by experienced mental health contributors and are purely based on scientific research and evidence-based practices, which are thoroughly reviewed by experts, including therapists and psychologists with various specialties, to ensure accuracy and alignment with current industry standards.

However, it is important to note that the information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Individual circumstances vary, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified mental health professional for personalized advice and guidance.

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