What Do I Want From Life?

What Do I Want From Life?

What do I want from life? 

Finding yourself asking ‘what do I want from life’ and coming out even more confused than when you started? I know I certainly have, and somehow it feels even more confusing now I’ve turned 30 (quietly ignoring the fact that it’s actually more like 31 now. #stoptheclockplease). 

Five years ago I wanted lots of things but time was prioritising for me. For example I could want the house, the baby, the top of my career thing, but all in 5 years’ time (or so). Leaving plenty of room for all the now wants to be prioritised, such as seeing the world, going out, basically doing as I god damn please. 😉

But now that future is here, it feels like I have about 20 times more ‘wants’ than I did 5 years ago, plus those blooming ‘in 5 years’ time wants are knocking on the door saying ‘don’t forget us.’  Oh, and just really to add to the pressure, suddenly everyone has an opinion on what you should want or be doing.  

Basically, it’s all pretty confusing. So, I did as I often tell my clients to do when they’re feeling overwhelmed; I changed environment and immersed myself in something new and it really helped. So many of you I’ve spoken to have expressed that same confusion and so I wanted to share this process with you all in the hope that if any of you are asking yourself ‘what do I want from life’ this might help. 

(side note: you don’t need to go as far as leaving the country like I did. Changing environment can be as simple as going away for a day, finding a way of spending some time away from your normal routine. A great one to do (when it’s affordable) is go on a weekend retreat. New environment, learning new things and with new people. The perfect mind reviver.)

Lesson 1 – Spend some time alone away from society.

Now, I want to start by saying I was lucky enough to be able to properly remove myself from society to go through this process. This meant I was able to get some headspace to reflect without anyone in my ear telling me what I should want or what they think I want. 

Of course, you don’t need to go as extreme as me but what about taking a weekend; switching off from tech, not talking to anyone and having some good old alone time. (This means away from family & friends too).  Spending time alone can be very exposing but it’s a very cathartic process and one that if done properly can really help clear your head. One of my favourite quotes about spending time alone is from the reliably inspirational, Oprah Winfrey, ‘alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so that I can hear my own.’ 

Lesson 2 – Stream of consciousness journaling. (If you hate writing you can also do the same as audio journaling)

I always dip in and out of this but I can’t stress how important it is. My problem is I tend to journal when I’m sad or confused only. So I think it would make one depressive read lol 🙂 However over the month away I decided to journal every other day, no matter how I was feeling. 

what do I want from life

As with anything it’s about forming a habit or ritual with it. There  is this really amazing thing called ‘stream of consciousness journalling.’I love it. You just start writing and see what comes out. In this circumstance I focused on that question ‘what do I want from life.’ But as I wrote I went off on tangents and that’s ok. In fact it’s the whole point; you let what comes out come out and slowly the entries become clearer and more focused. Give it a go! 

Lesson 3 – Write a list of what you want and what you don’t want. 

I learnt this from one of my philosophy teachers (thank you Arya Ji). He said ‘with every one thing we want, there is always a don’t want.’  Examples like I want to be healthy so I don’t want to become ill or I want to travel so I don’t want to feel stuck in one place. I found, writing a list like this helps you clarify why you want certain things and gain a clearer idea of what you want your life to look like.  It also helps you address what your fears are in life and fears are often what hold us back. Take the example I gave about wanting to travel so I don’t want to feel stuck. Feeling stuck is a fear I have. Once I know this is my fear I can begin to put things in place to address it or understand why maybe I behave in certain ways when faced with certain situations. 

Lesson 4 – Stop thinking and start doing

I know; this seems pretty contradictory of the last few points, but sometimes we think too much. I find a good walk and listening to music a life saver. Also always, always yoga. Yoga is my non thinking about problems time. Have a think (no pun intended) on what activity helps you not think and factor it in to your weekly routine. 

self belief tipsLesson 5 – The miracle of a little thing called self-belief 

At the end of my month away from social pressures, I realised something. Society isn’t really to blame for me feeling confused. Yes society will always have its ideas on what it thinks you should or shouldn’t be doing but ultimately we listen too much to society when we don’t believe enough in ourselves. People will always have their opinions and will always want to tell you what there opinion is but…., if you truly believe you are capable of what you put your mind too, their opinion won’t be so loud in your mind.

Of course self-belief involves a life time of work, dedication and effort (a blog on this coming soon). It is the hardest lesson but the one with the greatest payout. It’s a lesson I am always working on and not always getting right but here’s a couple of easy to apply tips I’ve learnt along the way. 

  1. Find ways of surrounding yourself in inspiration:  Put pictures up in your home that inspire you, talk to people who motivate you, have a playlist that you can listen to that inspires you, use social media to engage with people who you admire and that are out there in the world leading the way. 
  2. Recognise the negative thinking pattern, label it as that and remind yourself of your mantra or intention; Our minds are very good at finding negatives and criticising ourselves. Being able to say ‘ok my minds doing that thing again, that’s fine but I don’t need to react to it. I am strong (or whatever your mantra is)’ can really help you stay on track.
  3. Visualisation. This is such an important one. Once you start to see yourself achieving in your mind, it will feel more of reality. You can visualise a certain goal your wanting to achieve or even just visualising yourself in a situation that your worrying about. The trick is to actually set some time aside to do this and consider it like an exercise. Sitting down, closing your eyes and spending 10 minutes visualising (in detail) yourself succeeding at whatever it is.  

As always please do share your thoughts on this subject ‘what do I want from life’ and feel free to share this blog with anyone you think might need it. Oh and last but not least if you’re interested in exploring the idea of stepping into your self-belief a little more, we are releasing a brand new podcast called Calm Mind Confident Life, which is going to be all about this… So sign up to our newsletter to get notified on when the first episode is going to be released. Lots of love, Nat @VYM x

 

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