I feel like I’m just floating around in life and have no idea where I’m headed. I’d like to have more of a “north”, like a calling. But I don’t know how to find that…
When I have moments of “Where am I headed?” (like we all do) I have two prompts that I ask myself –
/ What am I avoiding most in my life?
/ Where do I want to be in ten years?
These two questions have done wonders for putting me back on track. They target two of the largest “goal-blockers”, the tough things you are avoiding and the future you want for yourself. They are each big and scary, but approachable once you break them down.
What am I avoiding most in my life?
We avoid the things that are hardest. Look at places or times in your life when things were difficult and you walked away. Sometimes that’s in education (Are you second-guessing your major? Did you quit school and are having regret?), sometimes it’s in relationship (Are you deep in a relationship that you don’t want to be in? Do you feel like you’ve invested time in someone else and don’t want to “start at square one” with someone new?), maybe it’s in working through past trauma (We’ve all been hurt).
The tough moments in our lives aren’t roadblocks, they’re speed bumps. They’re a check engine light that asks you to slow down and assess. Sit down, set a clock for five minutes and write out everything difficult you’ve been or are going through. Everything you are carrying around. Take time away – 30 minutes, a full day, whatever you need – and come back to that list. Look at it from a third person’s view. What do you need to do to cross off each thing? How can you remove an obstacle?
Clearing your mental “slate” is essential for moving onto the second question.
Where do I want to be in ten years?
Goal-setting is easiest when based on a vision. Not a hazy “maybe this, maybe that”, but a rock-solid image that you can vividly see when you close your eyes. So, to form it, do just that. Get quiet, close your eyes, have time to yourself, and let your imagination run. Where do you live? Who are you with? What does your apartment look like? Or do you live in a house? Do you have a family? Do you have a dog or a cat? Where do you work? What’s your job like? How do you spend your weekends? How do you feel?
And write it out. Every detail. This is your north. It can, and will, change. Revisit it often, revise it often. I look at my goals at least once a month to make sure I’m still on a path that serves me.
Armed with your ten-year goal, you can begin working backward and finding what you need to do in the next five years to reach that ten-year goal. And what you need to do in the next year to meet your five-year goal. What actions do you need to take today to reach that one-year goal?
Finding your direction for today starts with finding where you want to be in ten years. You can only craft that if you are uninhibited, but the things you are currently wading through. Dive deep into all the shadows of your life to find how you are going to bring them into light and reach where you want to be.