I don’t know what I want to do with my life. That is such a common question that it’s almost cliche – but it’s not cliche at all, really. What is my purpose in life? There are so many choices, and what if I choose the wrong one? And if that happens, then what is the point in trying so hard in the first place? What if I have amazing potential, but I simply pick the wrong path and completely miss it? All very legitimate questions, but not as scary as they might sound.
What Do I Want to Do with My Life
Don’t you wish there was some ultimate authority who could map it all out for you, so you could just follow the steps and know that it’s all going to happen the way it’s “supposed to?” You could quit asking “what do I want to do with my life” and start actually doing it! I think most of us humans would love that.
What we really need is a life plan. A map, with a clear destination and a well-marked path, with landmarks and everything. A real plan. Does something like that exist, in any form? It does, so let’s take look at it.
Creating a Life Plan
You can actually take charge and start creating a life plan, today, by following these 7 steps:
- Define a preferred destination
- Set goals toward that destination
- Map out the route you need to take to get there
- Identify obstacles along the way
- Devise methods to get around those obstacles
- Put it all on a timeline
Spoiler alert: that might sound too good to be true, and it is at some levels. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, and with great effectiveness.
Let’s Make a Plan
So let’s make a plan – how do we start? Well, we’re going to pick one little goal and use it as an example. We’ll make ourselves a plan to achieve that goal, and see what it all leads to. Let’s say we have a life goal to take a trip to Hawaii, and we want to do that 2 years from right now. That’s a great goal (I can attest – I’ve been there), so let’s see what we can do about it.
Life Plan Template
We’ll make a plan for a trip to Hawaii as kind of a “life plan template,” so you can see that it’s actually doable – and then we’ll apply the concept to a larger scale. Let’s start with figuring out what’s standing between you and your amazing trip to Hawaii. Probably money, mostly. Money, and some specifics around the goal of making the trip to the middle of the Pacific. Which island? How long to stay? What type of place to stay? Who’s going with us? That stuff is pretty easy, and you probably already know all those answers. So let’s see what we can do about the money.
For easy math (of which I am a big fan), let’s say the trip is going to cost you $10,000. To get there in 2 years, you’re going to have to save $5,000/year. That means saving $420 every month for 24 months. That’s your major obstacle, so how can you get around that obstacle? Do you drink $420 worth of Starbucks every month? Probably not. But you might spend $5/day there, which multiplies out to about $100/month, so that’s a start, maybe. Or you could take on a side gig of some type, or sell the clothes you never wear, or trade your car that’s costing you $600/month for a clunker that’s going to get you to work & back for the next couple years. But you get the idea – if you come up with a way to stash away $420/month for 2 years, you’re on your way to the Aloha state in a mere 24 months! And those 2 years are going to go by either way – so you might as well have a trip waiting at the end!
How to Figure Out What to Do with Your Life
That’s an oversimplified illustration, to say the least, compared to how to figure out what to do with your life. Life is much bigger than a trip to Hawaii, of course. But the same principle applies, and you can come up with a plan for your life even if it sounds too big to consider. Once you identify some major passions or your most important goals, or several things that are key for you to feel like your life is successful, it almost comes down to a matter of scheduling. Don’t underestimate the power of working backwards from a goal, which we’ll talk about more below.
Life Plan Workbook
Here are 4 simple concepts that might help you as you think about how to identify your preferred future and create your own personal life plan workbook. These are not specific instructions, but are general concepts that should help you get some shape around your future and approach your specific goals and passions with purpose and confidence.
In Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he says to begin with the end in mind. Like our plan for the Hawaii trip. Looking at it from the perspective of the end will help you see the challenges you’re going to be facing along the way, and will enable you to somewhat reverse engineer your life. It’s a great exercise, and can be very helpful in getting on the right track toward years of meaning and fulfillment.
Remember that you are writing your eulogy right now, and you actually have the chance to make it awesome! You probably wouldn’t want somebody to stand up at your funeral and say, “Man, mainly he really loved his boat – a lot!” or “She was incredibly skilled at getting what she needed by making her kids feel guilty.” That’s not the eulogy any of us are hoping for, and a healthy perspective can help us write the right story while we have the chance.
One of the most important processes that form a life well-lived are the relationships that we foster, and loyalty is a key factor in the pursuit of those relationships. If we’re loyal in our friendships, our marriages, at work – all relationships – our foundation will be solid and we will stand a much better chance of creating ourselves a successful ongoing situation in our lives. Relationships are the building blocks of any well-lived life, and if we get them wrong, we’ve screwed it up completely.
Ambition is often held as a negative trait, but it has its positive side. You’ve heard that fortune favors the bold, and that’s what I mean by ambition – a boldness, a fearless approach to life and its possibilities. Don’t allow yourself to get jaded just because you tried something and it didn’t work. Many successful businesspeople will say that the reason so many entrepreneurs don’t make it is not because they had a terrible idea, but because they quit trying too soon. Have some ambition, be bold, and don’t stop trying.
Also, ambition doesn’t only apply to the typical concept of achievement. Allow yourself to nurture ambition in your family, your friends, your charity – your overall positive impact in the world. If we foster an ambition within ourselves to contribute to the world around us in a positive way, everything gets better, even our own existence!
This one might be a little harder to get your head around, but think about it – you’re part of a much much bigger plan. A giant tapestry of life, stretching around the world, through and around many, many generations. The nobility of human life. We’re all equal players in this noble cause, so let’s treat it as such. It’s amazing that we’re all here, and we’re in it together, and it mostly works! It’s a noble pursuit, so let’s give ourselves that, and live in the light of that fact.
Why Am I Here
If you still don’t see it, and you still wonder how it all makes sense in the context of your life specifically, I can let you in on another secret: God is real, and he has a plan for your life that’s better than your plan. Better than my plan.
He literally created all of it, and has a master plan that works in favor of these humans he made and loves. To be more specific, he created you. He has a master plan for you. He made you, and he loves you.
If you’d like to know more about that, please watch the video at the top of this post that says “Great News for You.” Because it really is great news, and to know that there’s truly a master plan that’s designed especially for you is to know that you matter, and that you have a real reason for existing. And that’s awesome!
I Don’t Know What I Want to Do With My Life
It’s the ultimate answer to the “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” syndrome. You don’t have to decide! There really is a plan for life that you can follow, and it really is from an ultimate authority who loves you and cares about you more than anything else. He has a blueprint for us – all we have to do is follow it.