How to discover what you want in your life

The more stuff you get, the less you understand what you really want.

When you realize that all those things you bought don’t make you happy, there is one question that crosses your minds: “What do I really want?”

Once you discover your true purpose in life, it will be easy for you to direct all plans towards it. Your days will become more organized and you’ll feel complete.

The question is: how do you discover that purpose? There are 10 methods that can help you get there and find what you really want.

1. Don’t buy everything you think you need

We devote important portions of our energy to maintain two vehicles, too much furniture in the apartment, and a closet full of clothes we hardly wear. Think about it: do you really need that new jacket when you already have a few you don’t wear that often?

If you do, then there is no question about it – go get it. If, on the other hand, you’re buying things to fill the emptiness you feel inside, you’re doing everything wrong. Try to realize where that gap comes from.

When we learn how to detach ourselves from material possessions, we will focus on our true needs.

2. Learn!

Instead of wasting time on Facebook and Twitter, we can use our online presence productively. There are many open sources of knowledge on the Internet. Some of the ones you can try are Coursera, OpenCourseWare, Ted, Khan Academy, and Livemocha.

If you don’t know what career path you want to direct yourself to, you can experiment with different online courses until you find your true calling.

3. Go back to your childhood dreams

What did you want to become when you were a kid? You probably didn’t think about fame and fortune then. You wanted friends, love, and a fun profession. If there is any space for achieving those goals, it’s time to do something about it.

4. Meditate

Meditation is possibly the best technique to help you discover your inner needs and wants. When you realize that meditation masters only teach you to sit in quiet, you might think it would be easy. Don’t expect to reach enlightenment after few meditative sessions.

If you’ve never tried this technique, you’ll be surprised how hard it is to quiet your mind. It will object. The most unnecessary thoughts will come to the surface and you’ll have to let them pass.

After many attempts and hard work that might take years, your mind will become calmer. That’s when you’ll be able to realize what you have deep inside.

5. Ask yourself: “Why am I unhappy?”

Do you feel beaten down by life? Why? Maybe you don’t like your job? Maybe you have friends that are sucking your energy away? Maybe your partner is not making you happy?

In order to figure out what you really want, you need to remove the obstacles that are preventing you from being happy. Make some changes and you’ll make room for a brighter future.

6. Accept help

Your ego has difficulties to accept a helping hand when you most need it. No matter what your goals for the future are, you will definitely need a supportive network of people who love you. Accept their assistance without any conditions.

7. Think about your problems and seek for a solution

Instead of thinking about where you want to be in a year, focus your attention on the problems that are burdening you right now. Can you do something to solve them? If yes, then do it. If the problems and solutions don’t depend on you, there is only one thing you’re left with: acceptance. It’s time to move on.

8. Be adventurous

Instead of spending your days in the usual routine, do something different. Book a ticket and visit the destination you always wanted to see. Not ready for a huge adventure? Then make small lifestyle changes, like meeting new people, reading a new type of literature, or watching weird movies.

It’s important to move away from your usual habits to discover new interests. Then, you’ll be closer to the ultimate realization.

9. Determine your main moral values

Take a piece of paper and write down everything you believe in. Do you possess all those characteristics? If not, you need to become that person you want to be.

10. Be a complete person

Do you act like another person when you’re at work, at home, and at parties? Do you behave differently when you’re alone, with friends, and with people you want to impress? All those masks hide your true self. That’s exactly why you can’t figure out what you really want.

You are the same person in every situation in life. All previous methods guide you to this one: connect the dots and don’t be afraid to let your true persona shine through.

You Can Always Be the Person You Want to Be

How many times have you wished for something really, really hard? When you finally got it, you felt the satisfaction for a day or two, but went back to your usual state of incompleteness right after?

Our wishes and thoughts are not always ours. They are imposed by society. We don’t really want all those perfumes, gadgets and shoes we see in online stores.

The way to personal accomplishment starts with identifying our true needs. Once we get that part covered, we can take real actions towards a brighter future.

  • Author
  • Recent Posts
  • 10 Key Traits of ENTJ Personality Type: Is This You? – February 9, 2021
  • What Is Self-Assurance & How to Increase It with 7 Tips – September 28, 2020
  • How to Develop Your Writing Skills to Benefit Your Brain & Self-Improvement – September 25, 2020

I offer you five techniques that will help you find out what you really want in life. Here they are:

1. Make a wish list

Try to make a list that includes as many wishes as you can think. Getting this task done may take several hours, perhaps even days. If you are serious about getting the most out of your life, find the time and make up your own wish list.

In the process of compiling this list, be very specific. For example, if you want a new car, clearly specify the model and color. If you are going to change your job, specify with certainty what kind of activities you are interested in and how much you want to earn, etc.

In short, when writing down each of your wishes, show maximum precision.

2. Imagine your perfect day

Find a comfortable place where you will not be distracted, turn on soft music, close your eyes, and relax.

Try to create a special, truly perfect day for you in your mind. First, imagine how you wake up. Who would you like to see next to you? How would you like to spend your morning? What do you prefer to do after waking up? Do you exercise, pray, practice some meditation, eat a delicious breakfast, or swim in the pool?

How do you get to work? Where do you work? What does your office look like? What kind of job do you do and what kind of people do you work with? How much is your salary or income? What do you do during your lunch break and after work? Meet with friends or spend time with your family?

Think about all the details of your perfect day. Turning to things that make you happy every day could help you find out what you really want in life on a larger scale.

3. Learn to see your goal clearly

Such kind of mental exercises can help you develop an inner vision and discover what you really want in life. They will help you tune into your own subconscious mind and get in touch with the innermost desires of your heart. The key point is the ability to not think about the process of achieving the goal but to focus solely on the goal itself.

So, turn on some nice, relaxing music, close your eyes, take several deep breaths to relieve tension, and then ask your subconscious mind what your life should look like in each of the following areas:

  • Marriage and intimate relationships
  • Family and friends
  • Property and belongings
  • Career and money
  • Health and physical fitness
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Personal and spiritual growth

When you’re done thinking about each of these areas and visualizing the picture of your perfect life, open your eyes and write down everything you imagined as detailed as possible.

4. Visualize your dream

Every day pay some time to visualize the desired results, i.e. imagining that they have already been achieved.

For example, if you are looking to get a master’s degree or Ph.D. in psychology, visualize yourself sitting in your office with your diploma hanging on the wall. If your goal is to establish a close relationship with a kind and loving person, then visualize yourself near someone who has these qualities.

Try to practice visualization at least two times a day: in the morning upon awakening and in the evening before falling asleep.

5. Create your dream

If you are not experienced in visualization or simply want to accelerate this process, you can use images for each of your goals.

For example, if you want to spend your vacation in Hawaii, contact a travel agency and get an advertising prospect on trips to Hawaii. Carefully cut out your own photo and glue it on a picture from the prospect.

Then hang it in a place in your room/office where you will be able to see it multiple times throughout the day. Every time you will see this picture, your dream will become more and more real in your mind.

You can also make a ‘wish-album’. Cut out pictures that illustrate your goals from magazins and paste them in a notepad or a journal. Try to view this album at least once a day. It will remind you of what you really want in life. The results may surpass your expectations.

  • Author
  • Recent Posts
  • How to Get Rid of Negative Energy with 3 Simple Visualization Techniques – April 9, 2021
  • 7 Invisible Obstacles in Life That Keep You Feeling Left Behind – March 10, 2021
  • How to Talk to Strangers As a Socially Anxious Introvert – February 28, 2021

Related Stories:

Do you know what drives you? What is the thing that makes you want to do what you do? What motivates you?

Motivation is what gives you the urge to get up and get to work on a goal, a dream, or even just do your job. But do you know what motivates you?

Other people’s motivations may be totally different from yours, and you may have multiple motivating factors, but ultimately you do have something deep inside that lights a spark that ignites your flame and pushes you to do what you do. Knowing what motivates you can come in handy when it’s time to make a career change, interview for a new job, or get promoted.

What is motivation?

Tiffany Lee, a communication specialist, and body language expert who specializes in helping professionals find confidence in the workplace, says that motivation can be internal or external. “Some people are motivated by their wants and desires (money, houses, etc.), others are motivated by being able to help their families, help the community and the world,” she says. “One of the most important things motivation can help with is sticking with something when times are harder or things don’t go as planned.”

Motivation can come in multiple forms based on the needs of self-fulfillment, financial freedom, family stability, and health. Because different people are motivated by different needs, motivation varies from person to person. This also explains why some people have service-oriented jobs and others have the skill or task-driven jobs, as well as why some people are driven to take more risks with their jobs than others. It is all dependent on their motivating factors.

When it comes to internal motivation, the idea can be split up into two subcategories: intrinsic and identified.

  • Intrinsic motivation: The things we naturally want to do because we actually enjoy them.
    • Example: I am studying journalism because I love to learn and tell stories.
  • Identified motivation: The things we do because we have identified them as important to accomplishing a goal that we want to achieve.
    • Example: I am studying journalism because I want to write for The New York Times.

One study examined students’ reasons for their behavior at school and found that their level of intrinsic motivation positively predicted their psychological well-being after seeing their grades, meaning kids that liked learning more were happier, regardless of the final results of their grades.

Why do you need to know what motivates you?

Have you ever wanted to quit your job or stop searching for one when you hit a roadblock or rough patch? Knowing your motivation could help prevent this feeling, according to Paula Fendley, Ed.D., a life coach and educational consultant practicing in Houston, Texas. “Identifying what motivates an individual is essential because clarifying the ‘why’ behind what one wants to achieve can help the individual stay focused and persevere even when things get challenging,” she says.

Fendley says that while having a career coach can help, that “self-motivation is the ultimate goal.” You have to learn what works for you in terms of goal-setting, organization, time- management and even strategies for taking breaks in order to increase productivity. “In raising one’s awareness and gaining clarity on what motivates an individual adds to their personal ‘toolbox’ and can accelerate their growth and success,” Fendley says.

Find what motivates you

To find what motivates you, you have to do some self-examination and get honest about how you’ve gotten to where you are and how you will get to where you want to go next. “When considering motivators, it is helpful for people to think of times when they were excited and motivated to accomplish tasks,” Fendley says. “Thinking about all aspects of that high engagement can help inform the type of work one is motivated to do.”

Make a list of these instances and then reflect on what drove you to that feeling of excitement or accomplishment. The “why” behind that feeling is the answer to what motivates you. You can also ask yourself questions and let your answers guide you to find what motivates you.

Answering these questions either aloud with a career coach or in writing so that you can examine your answers can help you determine what it is that motivates you. This can ultimately lead to doing work that is aligned with your personal motivations.

“Living an inspired life in line with one’s beliefs and values, and when one is engaged in work that is purposeful and meaningful, motivation naturally occurs,” Fendley says.

Use what motivates you to your advantage

Once you find what motivates you, you can use it to your advantage to secure your ideal job and lead a more fulfilled life. One way Fendley says this can happen is by “using personality and strengths assessments along with interest inventories,” which can be found online or with the help of a career coach. “Identifying one’s gifts and talents along with the desired salary, preferred work tasks, optimal working environment and one’s purpose in life are all key motivators and finding the right match will significantly increase job satisfaction,” she says.

Once you know what motivates you, you’ll also be able to answer when asked in an interview. The common interview question “What motivates you?” can trip up job seekers if they are unclear about the forces that drive them to do what they do. Once you find what motivates you, you will forever be prepared when this question is asked, as well as be prepared to live a fulfilling work life.

How to discover what you want in your life

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

By Sid Madge

They say every cloud has a silver lining. What about global pandemics – do they have silver linings? There is little doubt Covid-19 has caused chaos and it’s not over yet. During the past months entrepreneurs have had to dig deep and use their creativity in their start-ups. And many of us have also spent more time with loves ones and the situation has given us a unique opportunity to reflect on what’s really important.

That reflection has created some surprising results. According to a YouGov poll only 8 percent of Britons want to go back to life as it was before the pandemic. The Economist has stated that this forced home working experiment is likely to change work life forever, perhaps toward some hybrid model that works for everyone. What is clear is that we have an opportunity to go way beyond some compromised version of ‘new normal’. We can take this time to consider what is important to us moving forward and plan to make that happen.

I’m a great believer in the power of micro moments and tiny interventions that when maintained lead to lasting change. The suggestions below are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our mindset and get into positive and constructive action toward our dreams.

Know your values.

Our values influence our thoughts and actions and yet most of us have never stopped to consider what they are. What’s most important to you in your life? Starting your business? Family? Kindness? Honesty? What do you stand for? What are your ethics or code of conduct? Can you see evidence of these values in your life?

For example, if you believe you value kindness, when did you last demonstrate kindness? If you really want to know what you value look at what you do. If we are to uncover what is really important to us, we have to know our values so we can find more ways to demonstrate those values in our daily life. Take a minute to consider what you value most.

Find the connections.

In Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech he talked about connecting the dots of our life and how that was never possible looking forward. But when we look back, if we look and pay attention, we can often see patterns or signposts in our life. Jobs suggested that we had to, “trust in something, your gut, destiny, life karma, whatever.”

The key to uncovering what is important to us, often lies in the past. It is the recognition of the moments and experiences that, when taken together form a pattern or a direction of travel that will bring purpose and meaning – if we have the courage to pursue them.

Take a minute to map out your interests and where you would like to end up. How can you use the situations and resources in your life right now to reach that outcome faster?

Create an anti-bucket list!

Part of knowing what is important to us is being honest about what is not. We’ve all heard of the bucket-list – the list of all the experiences and adventures we want to have, places we want to visit, things we want to own, before we kick the bucket. But the anti-bucket list is just as important. This is the list of the things we can tick off right now because they are just not important to us – regardless of what the success industry tells us.

For example. I used to want to be rich. Now I want to make a difference, that is more inline with my values and is much more important to me than a new car or fancy watch. Recognising that is liberating.

Take a minute to write your anti-bucket list – all the things currently in your life that you would like to stop or get rid of or old goals that are just not that important to you anymore. Free yourself from their grasp and use the injection of energy, time or resources to make the things that are important happen.

Get started.

Is there something you want to do but are scared it won’t work out? Perhaps you want to create an entirely new business. Maybe you want to lose weight and get fitter but the goal seems too big and too far away. Whatever you want to do – just start. If you want to lose weight, take the stairs today, only have one biscuit with your morning coffee instead of two. The start doesn’t need a drum roll, fireworks or a front page spread in the local paper, it just needs to happen.

Every book is started by one word. The most awe-inspiring music ever composed starts with a single note. The greatest works of art started with a single brush stroke, or single tap of a chisel. Don’t wait until you are ready – no one is ever ready. Besides once you start you will be ready.

Don’t search for signs or defining moments – they may never come. Instead make now your defining moment. Start now. Don’t question whether you are capable or worthy – just start, start small and keep going. If you falter, get back on track and keep going. Don’t stop until you have achieved what you set out to achieve.

Expand your circle of influence.

It’s the people in our life that give it meaning. When something good happens, it’s made more enjoyable when we can share it with others. When something bad happens, it can soften the blow when we have others to lean on. We need friends and family as much as we need oxygen.

Take a minute to consider who you spend the most time with. Do those people build you up and encourage you to be the best you can be or do they put you down and diminish your dreams?

Be aware of how you feel when you are with the people in your life, take stock of whether they make you feel better or worse. If they are not adding positive value to your life then consider spending a little less time with those people and seek out like-minded collaborators so you can be each other’s cheerleader.

This is an opportunity; embrace the silver lining the pandemic has given us, as entrepreneurs and in our wider lives. Let’s use our insights and skills to design a better tomorrow and make it happen.

How to discover what you want in your life

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

E.E. Cummings

At twenty-five I was happily married and had a great career, many friends, and lots of money. During that time I also became deeply depressed, was put on medication for anxiety, and entered what would be a very long relationship with psychotherapy.

It was a real struggle for me to understand why I wasn’t happy when I had everything that I thought was important in life. Was I selfish? Were my expectations too high? I honestly couldn’t understand what was missing and how to fill this huge void that gnawed at me every day.

When I look back at my life, twenty years later, I realize that I really had no idea who I was or what made me happy. I kept expecting something or someone to answer this question for me.

The journey to find out who I was and what really mattered to me eventually involved divorce, the loss of my career and most of my possessions, and overcoming a serious illness.

It pretty much took the loss of everything I thought defined me and made me happy to admit to myself that I honestly didn’t know myself very well at all.

Who am I? What do I believe in? What is my purpose? What fills me with joy and wonder? These are questions that I am just beginning to understand after forty-five years of living my life, and I have to admit that getting there has been extremely difficult.

The hardest part for me was just knowing where to begin. After much therapy, meditation, self-reflection, and reading, I asked myself five big questions that served as a launch pad to begin my journey of self-discovery.

If you are ready to begin the process of truly understanding who you are meant to be, start here:

1. What or who would you be if you knew you couldn’t fail?

The risk of failure terrifies most people. How many times have you wanted to change jobs or careers, move to a new city, promote a cause that is important you, or become an expert in a certain area? Think about it. No risk of failure.

If you were 100 percent certain that you could be or do anything you wanted and not fail, do you know the answer?

2. What is your ninety-second personal elevator speech?

Probably the most important and poorly answered question in most job interviews, this is similar in nature. You can certainly include your career or career accomplishments in your personal speech, but think of this from the perspective of how you might answer this if you were making a new friend or going on a first date with someone.

How would you describe yourself so that the person asking the question would truly understand who you are and what is important to you?

3. What are your core personal values?

Personal values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live. They give you a reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, desirable, and constructive. Once you are able to determine exactly what values are most important to you, you can better determine your priorities.

In fact, having this information about yourself is the key to making sure your daily life is aligned with those values. If you need help defining your personal values, there is a great five-minute assessment tool here.

4. What makes you genuinely happy?

This one is closely related to your core personal values. However, ask yourself this question once you’ve really nailed down what those values are.

For example, if family is one of your core personal values, will taking a job that involves tons of travel make you happy? Take it a step further and really consider dreams you had when you were younger or currently have about what will make you truly happy.

5. If money were no object, how would you live your life differently?

Many people equate happiness and success directly to the amount of money they have. How many times have you heard someone say, “If I hit the lottery, I’d…”

But remember, this question isn’t really about money at all. It’s more about thinking outside the limits we tend to put on our aspirations and actions because things seem out of our reach financially.

You may not be able to do those exact things, but once you know what those true desires are, you expand your thinking and begin to develop a plan to work towards goals you may have never imagined possible.

These are tough questions and the answers may not come easily or quickly. In fact, I found myself having to think and re-think my answers several times. This work is hard but necessary in order to really understanding yourself on a deeper level.

While I can’t say that I now know everything about myself, answering these questions completely changed the negative internal dialogue that was limiting my ability to see myself as I exist today and the me that I can become in the future.

But the biggest change came from revisiting dreams and aspirations that I had long ago put on the back burner while I was stuck in the process of “getting things done.”

My dreams of writing about things that are truly meaningful to me, finding a fulfilling and passionate relationship, being more present with my children, and discovering a higher power are all coming true now that I am focusing my energy in the right direction—and that direction was to look within.

So, find a quiet place and allow yourself plenty of time to go through and really think about each question and then just go for it. Go ahead. Begin your journey. Change direction. Create new dreams or rediscover dreams you left behind. Now that I have started, I haven’t looked back since.

How to discover what you want in your life

How to discover what you want in your life

There’s a lot of information out there about how to achieve your goals. About how to stay motivated, how to focus on your dreams, and not be distracted by failure and setbacks. But that all assumes that you know what you want out of life, that you already have goals in life you’re eager to achieve.

Recently, in response to a comment, I made about pursuing one’s goals on Possibility Change, I got a poignant reply that asked “But what if you haven’t found anything worth doing, any goal worth pursuing?”

Great question – focus is wonderful, but if we aren’t looking at the right things how useful is it? Sure we can learn from failure, but what do we do with those lessons if we’re not really doing anything? How can we find out where we should be looking for our satisfaction in life?

Step 1 – Make a list of what’s important to you.

Do it quickly and without censoring – it’s ok if your list includes your cat or your new shoes. Your choices reflect a snapshot of your life right now and don’t need to be lofty or impressive. Here’s my quick list (in no particular order): my daughter, my friends, writing, coaching, my house, my central heating, my cat, my favorite TV shows (blush), learning, my blog.

Step 2 – Ask “Why is this important?” for each item on your list.

Here are my answers:

  • My daughter because she is my contribution to the world at the most basic level and because she’s fun, loving, and makes me happy.
  • My friends because they support me, teach me, and make me laugh.
  • Writing and my blog because they ignite my passion and I feel like I’m able to help people with them. And they’re fun!
  • Coaching because I’m helping my clients live better and clearer lives.
  • My house because it provides me with a beautiful and safe place to be.
  • My central heating because it keeps me warm and comfortable.
  • My favorite TV shows because they take me to places where life is silly and adventurous and because they often provide me with a fascinating glimpse into human nature.
  • Learning because it makes me a better person and helps me grow.

Step 3 – Use your answers to identify your values.

Look for themes in your answers. When you read over your list, what pops out at you? What shows up more than once? Are there items that have something in common? I see the following themes in my list: contribution, fun & laughter, learning, helping people, comfort.

The themes we identify reflect our values and what’s most important to us in our lives. And this is where goal setting should begin.

Step 4 – Use your values to set your goals.

The goals that inspire you most will be based on your values, on what’s really important to you. You might already be working on some of them – I’ve set clear goals around my writing and am beginning to revamp my coaching practice. But when I look at my list I realize that I’m not putting much effort to making sure that I have enough fun and laughter in my life right now, so I might want to set a goal to find more ways to play.

When you set your goals:

  • Make your goals bite-sized – A goal of “Learn the skills I need for my next promotion” sounds achievable, while a goal of “Become CEO by the time I’m 30” is probably going to set you up for failure.
  • Make your goals positive – You should work toward what you want, not away from what you don’t want. “I want to find a loving partner” inspires while “I don’t want to be lonely anymore” already feels defeated.
  • Realize that as you work toward your goals they’ll probably change – As we learn and grow from the work we do to move toward our goals we often connect with new, more resonant goals. After I set up my coaching practice I started writing newsletters to attract more clients. But I found that I loved writing as much as I loved coaching, and my goal shifted from attracting clients to creating a blog.

The bottom line is that when our goals tap into the beauty and energy of our values they make our hearts sing. They feed our hunger, we can’t wait to get started working on them. So my answer to the reader who asked about finding a goal worth pursuing is that the answer is in your heart, it’s in your longings, it’s in the things you want more of.

How to discover what you want in your life

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

E.E. Cummings

At twenty-five I was happily married and had a great career, many friends, and lots of money. During that time I also became deeply depressed, was put on medication for anxiety, and entered what would be a very long relationship with psychotherapy.

It was a real struggle for me to understand why I wasn’t happy when I had everything that I thought was important in life. Was I selfish? Were my expectations too high? I honestly couldn’t understand what was missing and how to fill this huge void that gnawed at me every day.

When I look back at my life, twenty years later, I realize that I really had no idea who I was or what made me happy. I kept expecting something or someone to answer this question for me.

The journey to find out who I was and what really mattered to me eventually involved divorce, the loss of my career and most of my possessions, and overcoming a serious illness.

It pretty much took the loss of everything I thought defined me and made me happy to admit to myself that I honestly didn’t know myself very well at all.

Who am I? What do I believe in? What is my purpose? What fills me with joy and wonder? These are questions that I am just beginning to understand after forty-five years of living my life, and I have to admit that getting there has been extremely difficult.

The hardest part for me was just knowing where to begin. After much therapy, meditation, self-reflection, and reading, I asked myself five big questions that served as a launch pad to begin my journey of self-discovery.

If you are ready to begin the process of truly understanding who you are meant to be, start here:

1. What or who would you be if you knew you couldn’t fail?

The risk of failure terrifies most people. How many times have you wanted to change jobs or careers, move to a new city, promote a cause that is important you, or become an expert in a certain area? Think about it. No risk of failure.

If you were 100 percent certain that you could be or do anything you wanted and not fail, do you know the answer?

2. What is your ninety-second personal elevator speech?

Probably the most important and poorly answered question in most job interviews, this is similar in nature. You can certainly include your career or career accomplishments in your personal speech, but think of this from the perspective of how you might answer this if you were making a new friend or going on a first date with someone.

How would you describe yourself so that the person asking the question would truly understand who you are and what is important to you?

3. What are your core personal values?

Personal values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live. They give you a reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, desirable, and constructive. Once you are able to determine exactly what values are most important to you, you can better determine your priorities.

In fact, having this information about yourself is the key to making sure your daily life is aligned with those values. If you need help defining your personal values, there is a great five-minute assessment tool here.

4. What makes you genuinely happy?

This one is closely related to your core personal values. However, ask yourself this question once you’ve really nailed down what those values are.

For example, if family is one of your core personal values, will taking a job that involves tons of travel make you happy? Take it a step further and really consider dreams you had when you were younger or currently have about what will make you truly happy.

5. If money were no object, how would you live your life differently?

Many people equate happiness and success directly to the amount of money they have. How many times have you heard someone say, “If I hit the lottery, I’d…”

But remember, this question isn’t really about money at all. It’s more about thinking outside the limits we tend to put on our aspirations and actions because things seem out of our reach financially.

You may not be able to do those exact things, but once you know what those true desires are, you expand your thinking and begin to develop a plan to work towards goals you may have never imagined possible.

These are tough questions and the answers may not come easily or quickly. In fact, I found myself having to think and re-think my answers several times. This work is hard but necessary in order to really understanding yourself on a deeper level.

While I can’t say that I now know everything about myself, answering these questions completely changed the negative internal dialogue that was limiting my ability to see myself as I exist today and the me that I can become in the future.

But the biggest change came from revisiting dreams and aspirations that I had long ago put on the back burner while I was stuck in the process of “getting things done.”

My dreams of writing about things that are truly meaningful to me, finding a fulfilling and passionate relationship, being more present with my children, and discovering a higher power are all coming true now that I am focusing my energy in the right direction—and that direction was to look within.

So, find a quiet place and allow yourself plenty of time to go through and really think about each question and then just go for it. Go ahead. Begin your journey. Change direction. Create new dreams or rediscover dreams you left behind. Now that I have started, I haven’t looked back since.

How to discover what you want in your life

How to discover what you want in your life

There’s a lot of information out there about how to achieve your goals. About how to stay motivated, how to focus on your dreams, and not be distracted by failure and setbacks. But that all assumes that you know what you want out of life, that you already have goals in life you’re eager to achieve.

Recently, in response to a comment, I made about pursuing one’s goals on Possibility Change, I got a poignant reply that asked “But what if you haven’t found anything worth doing, any goal worth pursuing?”

Great question – focus is wonderful, but if we aren’t looking at the right things how useful is it? Sure we can learn from failure, but what do we do with those lessons if we’re not really doing anything? How can we find out where we should be looking for our satisfaction in life?

Step 1 – Make a list of what’s important to you.

Do it quickly and without censoring – it’s ok if your list includes your cat or your new shoes. Your choices reflect a snapshot of your life right now and don’t need to be lofty or impressive. Here’s my quick list (in no particular order): my daughter, my friends, writing, coaching, my house, my central heating, my cat, my favorite TV shows (blush), learning, my blog.

Step 2 – Ask “Why is this important?” for each item on your list.

Here are my answers:

  • My daughter because she is my contribution to the world at the most basic level and because she’s fun, loving, and makes me happy.
  • My friends because they support me, teach me, and make me laugh.
  • Writing and my blog because they ignite my passion and I feel like I’m able to help people with them. And they’re fun!
  • Coaching because I’m helping my clients live better and clearer lives.
  • My house because it provides me with a beautiful and safe place to be.
  • My central heating because it keeps me warm and comfortable.
  • My favorite TV shows because they take me to places where life is silly and adventurous and because they often provide me with a fascinating glimpse into human nature.
  • Learning because it makes me a better person and helps me grow.

Step 3 – Use your answers to identify your values.

Look for themes in your answers. When you read over your list, what pops out at you? What shows up more than once? Are there items that have something in common? I see the following themes in my list: contribution, fun & laughter, learning, helping people, comfort.

The themes we identify reflect our values and what’s most important to us in our lives. And this is where goal setting should begin.

Step 4 – Use your values to set your goals.

The goals that inspire you most will be based on your values, on what’s really important to you. You might already be working on some of them – I’ve set clear goals around my writing and am beginning to revamp my coaching practice. But when I look at my list I realize that I’m not putting much effort to making sure that I have enough fun and laughter in my life right now, so I might want to set a goal to find more ways to play.

When you set your goals:

  • Make your goals bite-sized – A goal of “Learn the skills I need for my next promotion” sounds achievable, while a goal of “Become CEO by the time I’m 30” is probably going to set you up for failure.
  • Make your goals positive – You should work toward what you want, not away from what you don’t want. “I want to find a loving partner” inspires while “I don’t want to be lonely anymore” already feels defeated.
  • Realize that as you work toward your goals they’ll probably change – As we learn and grow from the work we do to move toward our goals we often connect with new, more resonant goals. After I set up my coaching practice I started writing newsletters to attract more clients. But I found that I loved writing as much as I loved coaching, and my goal shifted from attracting clients to creating a blog.

The bottom line is that when our goals tap into the beauty and energy of our values they make our hearts sing. They feed our hunger, we can’t wait to get started working on them. So my answer to the reader who asked about finding a goal worth pursuing is that the answer is in your heart, it’s in your longings, it’s in the things you want more of.

Tweet This

Imagine you had a roadmap to meaningful work.

We’re all chasing that one true goal: finding work that feels good. At times, it can seem as though the dream of waking up every day and loving your job has been placed in the rear view mirror. But is there a way to finally get what we want? Can we truly love what we do?

Sarah Vermunt is a speaker, founder of Careergasm.com, and the author of Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel Good Work. I recently interviewed Sarah on the LEADx podcast about her approach to finding meaningful work, and how we can navigate our way back in love with our 9-5. (The interview below has been lightly edited for space and clarity.)

Watch on Forbes:

Kevin Kruse: You say that one of the hardest things to do for career happiness isn’t picking what you want to do, but admitting it to yourself. What do you mean by that?

Sarah Vermunt: I’m a career coach. A lot of people come to me with one of two problems. Many of them will say, “You know, I have this job I hate, but I don’t know what I want” or “I have this business that I built that I hate, and I don’t want to do it anymore, but I don’t know what I want to do instead.” Very quick in our work together, we find out very often that that’s actually not the problem. The problem is that on some level they do know what they want, but they’re afraid to want it because there’s a big difference between―like you say, not knowing what you want and not admitting that you want it―and sometimes admitting that you want something is even worse than feeling lost because it actually puts the pressure on you to do something about it.

Kruse: Tell our listeners about ‘the resistance.’

Vermunt: Resistance comes in a couple of forms, at least for me and the people I work with. It seems to come in two main forms.

The first is when you’re resisting something because you’re actually telling yourself that you should do it and you have to do it and you don’t really want to do it. It’s just avoiding something that feels bad. Then there’s another form of resistance, and this is where people really dig in their heels where people are trying to or want to pursue something, but it just feels so scary that they will distract themselves by any means necessary to prevent themselves from doing it because the action piece of it just feels too hard.

One of the things I talk about in the book is my own resistance when I’ve been doing things that are scary but exciting. For example, developing a course for people. One day, I remember I did 12-20 crazy things to procrastinate working on this project that I really wanted to do, and I was doing all of those crazy things, like watching 12 TED Talks, and making a batch of brownies, and eating a whole bunch of guacamole, and playing with the cat and farting around on Instagram, and all of that was because this thing that I really wanted to do felt really scary. I think that’s when resistance comes in for a lot of people. The thing you want just feels too scary.

Kruse: How do people get hung up about the money piece when it comes to switching careers?

Vermunt: You can’t be a career coach without talking about money because the money piece is usually what keeps people stuck in jobs that they hate because everybody has these ‘bag lady’ fears. The chapter that’s called The Cheese Maker and the iPhone is actually a story about a woman I worked with. She was really successful in her career. She was working in finance. She said to me, “Well, I can’t leave finance to become an artisan, like a cheese maker or something.” She was interested in art, working as an artisan or a healer of some kind. We hadn’t nailed it down yet. She’s like, “Well, I can’t do that. I like my iPhone. Like, I need to keep my iPhone.” I had to say to her, “Do you really think that cheese makers don’t have iPhones?” It was just a really interesting turning point for her because she thought, “Oh, my God. Like, I have these crazy, like, blown-up stories in my head about poverty and fulfilling work.”

Many people tie the ideas of poverty and fulfilling work together and tie the ideas of abundance and lots of financial security with work they hate. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive and tied together.

Kruse: We often blow up these fears in our minds, and they feel really real to us at the time.

Vermunt: We all have funny fears. It’s so interesting how we place them in ‘I either have money’ or ‘I’m living on the streets.’ There’s no in-between. That’s when you know some of the crazy fear stuff is creeping up on you, when you can’t even be rational about it.

Kruse: I like to challenge our listeners to get 1% better every day. Is there something you want to challenge them to do today for their career?

Vermunt: I totally do. I’ve been thinking about this actually. I would love to challenge your listeners to drop one thing that feels bad so that they can lean a little further in the direction of something that feels good because very often you might not know what your dream job is or the exact way you want to run your business, but we have this internal compass that says, “Oh, this feels warm or this feels cold.”

If you can just turn away from something that feels not quite right and turn more towards something that is already feeling good for you , I think it’ll be wonderful for your career and your business.