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Life Potential

I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life! 5 Steps to Get Unstuck

Written by Kathryn Sandford
Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.
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Feeling lost in the maze of life’s possibilities? You’re not alone. We’ve all been there, standing at the crossroads of our lives, wondering, “What should I do with my life?” Be it fresh graduates or those considering a career shift, this question is universal, and it’s okay not to have all the answers right away.

The path to finding your purpose is often winding and full of surprises. But don’t mistake these uncertainties for setbacks. Instead, see them as opportunities for growth and self-discovery. So, if you’re pondering the direction your life should take, let’s delve into exploring the options and finding the meaning that resonates with you.

What happen if you don’t know what to do with your life?

There are moments when individuals may feel directionless, frantically searching for an answer to the question, “What should I do with my life?”. This question, although intimidating, is not unusual. The unknown often compels us into self-doubt and fear, hindering our ability to move forward.

For instance, life can be comparable to a vast ocean. Sometimes, it’s hard to discern a destination amidst the vastness, leaving us feeling overwhelmed. The default response, as I’ve noted, might be to just float, aimlessly awaiting a hint or signal to gravitate towards. This feeling isn’t exclusive to a particular age or stage; it can affect anyone – from new professionals questioning their career choices to individuals exploring new dreams or ambitions.

Let’s acknowledge that it’s alright not to know. Maybe you’re yet to discover your interests, or perhaps you’re closing in on your ‘zone of genius.’ It’s possible that you’re still piecing together your passions, your strengths, and feasible paths that merge them together. It’s a journey that can seem puzzling at times.

However, it’s crucial to note that sometimes this ambiguity stems from fear; fear of ridicule, fear of failure, or fear of others’ judgment. The phrasing “I don’t know what to do with my life” can camouflage the real narrative: ‘I’m petrified to pursue what I want.’


So, what’s next for those navigating these waters of uncertainty? We’re about to delve into it, openly discussing it and figuring out the subsequent steps. Emphasis placed on navigating this journey of self-discovery, acknowledging the fears, and making strides toward unveiling and pursuing your true aspirations.

Discover What You Should Do With Your Life

There are many ways to try and figure out what do do with your life. Personally, I have discovered that following these 5 steps will help you to find out what to do with your life, feel good, and get unstuck.

1. Get Moving and Clear Your Mind

“Not knowing what you want is a lot better than knowing exactly what you want but not being able to get it, at least you have hope.”

I once faced a very challenging and emotional time; all I could do was think about what I needed to do to get to the next day.

There were no thoughts of what I wanted to do in the future nor were there any thoughts of what should i do with my life. It was just a matter of surviving from one day to the next.

For me, during this challenging time, when I was telling myself, “I don’t know what to do with my life,” exercise was the solution to helping me get through my day.


Every morning my alarm would go off at 6 am. I would have my running gear ready by the bed. I would get dressed, walk out the door, and start running for 45 minutes.

For a long time, it was hard to get out of bed and go for my run because I just wanted to hide away. Over time, I began to look forward to my morning run as I felt more energized, and I was sleeping better.

It may not be a morning run, but finding a way to get moving can help you clear your thoughts and improve your overall attitude[1]. Numerous studies[2] have found that exercise reduces symptoms of depression, which can create the space in your mind you need to think through your next steps in life.

Whether it’s running in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, or cycling on the weekends, find what works for you and your lifestyle.

2. Wake Your Conscious Mind and Limit Choices

“Nobody is going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or making it, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice…Self pity is a dead end road. You can make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.” -Cheryl Stryed.

Life isn’t predictable, and the solutions we seek to answer our life questions don’t always come nicely wrapped. There are no rules to follow, and you have to work hard to define your life pathway when you don’t know what to do with your life.


Waking our conscious minds to accept our reality and embrace change is one step toward finding out what we need to do next in our life.

We become paralyzed rather than liberated by the power of choice. When we are presented with too many options, our brain doesn’t know what to do with it all.

Research has shown that there is a sweet spot when it comes to choices[3]. If we have too few, we feel limited. If we have too many, we feel overwhelmed.

How does this translate to your everyday life? If you’re changing career fields and aren’t sure what to switch over to, limit your options to five or six possible areas. Choose to mark one off the list every few days once you’ve sat with the choices a bit. As your brain focuses on fewer and fewer choices, it will become easier to figure out what to do with your life

3. Take Small Steps With a 30-Day Challenge

In order to reprogram your conscious mind and stop saying “I don’t know what to do with my life,” set yourself a 30-day challenge.

You may ask, why 30 days? Because this is how the small steps you take gradually become your powerful habits. (In fact, the power of these little habits are beyond your imagination! Here’s why.)


Setting a deadline has a powerful effect on motivation. Research has shown time and again that deadlines, even those that are self-imposed, can reduce procrastination and lead to better decision making[4].

Try setting one to three goals to be achieved during your 30-day challenge. Maybe you want to learn to code. Set weekly goals related to free online courses, and by the end of the month you’ll have a good deal of knowledge under your belt.

Or perhaps you want to spend more time with your kids. Make a goal to have one family night each week where you offer all of your attention to your kids. You can even let them help plan what you will do on that special night.

Achieving these goals after one month will give you the confidence and self belief to keep going. It also helps you avoid doing nothing while you’re feeling stuck. Once you know you can achieve one goal, you’ll go on to achieve more and more.

4. Seek the Wisdom of Others Who Have Been There

“The more extensive a man’s knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do.” -Benjamin Disraeli

Reading other people’s stories about how they lived their lives, their life philosophies, and how they overcame their challenges in life can be a good source of motivation and knowledge when you’re saying “I don’t know what to do with my life.”


Their stories can inspire and motivate you, especially when you’re not sure of your next steps. Even better, find someone in your life who has been in a similar situation you now find yourself in. Ask how they got through it, the steps they took, and how they shifted their attitude. You don’t only have to learn from experience; you can also learn from others’ experiences. This is a great way to know what you want in life.

Lifehack’s founder and CEO, Leon Ho, has experienced plenty of ups and downs in life and has come up with a framework that can help you get through your current challenges. He has everything written down in the book Full Life Essential Guide, get a copy of it to learn more!

5. Learn About Yourself

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” -Theodore Roosevelt.

Find out who you are, what your passions are, and what you want to do with your life. If you’re feeling stuck, it may simply be because you’ve lost touch with your most authentic self. If you’ve become detached from your own goals and dreams, it will be incredibly difficult to get back on track and to figure out what to do with your life.

To move forward, you have to let go of your past and embrace change. With change comes reinvention. If you don’t know who you are and what you want, it makes it a lot harder to move forward in your life.

Having a life plan and vision and knowing your purpose and how you want to live your life are the foundations to building your confidence, resilience, courage, and accountability.


With a purpose and a vision, you won’t be paralyzed by the fear of not knowing what to do; you will seize it as an opportunity to experience life.

If you’re not sure where to start, make a list of your priorities. From there, you can identify where you really want to put your energy and which areas of life can use your attention. To get started, you may want to take this free Life Assessment and get a custom report to find out what aspects of life need more of your attention now first.

Final Thoughts

If you’re saying “I don’t know what to do with my life,” consider these strategies I have shared to improve your life in the long term. Maybe you discover you love writing or want to start a business. You can build from these things and create a life you love living.

It is a tough journey, but it is also rewarding, as you will discover your life purpose and find your passion. You will know what you need to do in your life and the actions you need to take to get there!

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com


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