Are you dissatisfied with how things are going in your life? You could be in a bad place, or you could be in an okay place. Maybe your life is just fine, and there are just a few things to complain about. Some people might even think you’re just not grateful enough if you told them how you felt.
Anyone can feel this way regardless of how good their life might seem or how financially stable they are. We all feel directionless or lacking in purpose at one point in our lives. After all, it’s not as if we know what we want to do years into the future when we’re born.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what you want to do with your future, here are 4 questions to ask yourself so you can figure it out and set meaningful life goals.
1. What Do You Value?
Your answer to this question will form the foundation of your life goals. Ask yourself what your ideals are, what your passions are, who the people you love the most are, and what you want for them.
You might want to answer this as a personal mission statement. It can seem tedious to come up with one. Superficial company mission statements are ubiquitous. And they’re completely detached from what most employees do.
However, yours won’t be some hard sell mission statement. What you need to write is a sincere expression of what you believe is important. A personal mission statement will give you clarity and insight into your life’s current state.
It doesn’t need to be detailed and can be as long or as short as you want. A simple statement like “Act with Kindness” can be more effective than a whole paragraph of ideals as long as it resonates with you.
2. What Are Things You Currently Do that Don’t Align with What You Value?
Everyone has several roles to fulfill. You could have a role as spouse, a father, a friend, a local bowling team member, a supervisor to one group of people, and a subordinate to another.
Ask yourself what you do to fulfill those roles and do they conform with your values. Let’s use “Act with Kindness” again. Is there something you do or fail to do that upsets a family member? Are you understanding of your teammate’s mistakes?
In order to make strides towards your life goals, you have to start with improving your inner character. And the things you do that don’t conform with your values tell you what you need to improve.
Be aware though that the change required might not be just a simple change in behavior. In examining your character, you might find problems rooted deeply within you.
3. What Are Things You Do Not Yet Do that Will Improve Your Current Situation?
Part of your answer to this question is a direct response to the previous question’s answer. Now that you know what the problem is, you can figure out what you need to do. This is where you set smaller goals to realize the values you clarified in question 1.
If your goal is to improve your business or become proficient in a certain skill, ask yourself what you can do to achieve those. Do you listen to your customers and strive to give better services or products? Do you regularly make time during the week to practice a skill?
Some problems are less simple. Let’s say you have a son or daughter that you don’t have a very good relationship. If that were the case, I believe you would already know that your relationship isn’t something that can be fixed with a simple invitation to hang out or with a present.
I won’t pretend to know the answer either. Only you can know the answer through deep introspection and by getting to know your child.
This might be the hardest question in this list because some challenges can only be solved by maturing as a person. If you’re unable to answer it, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to a friend for advice, consult an expert. You might also want to hire a life coach online to help you figure things out. But whatever you do, you have to find an answer and act on it.
4. How Are You Doing So Far?
Tracking your progress and self-monitoring are necessary steps to success. Though they don’t directly affect your progress, they provide you with insight into your behavior and are essential to keeping you motivated.
For example, if you’re writing a short story or a novel, you should track how many words you write each day. Even if you didn’t write much during a particular day but brainstormed a lot of ideas, you can note that down.
An important thing to remember is that you don’t have to answer this question by yourself. Ask people for feedback. Compare your work to others and find out what they’re doing right that you aren’t.
Remember to compare yourself to others in healthy ways. Spendthrifts will benefit from comparing their spending to the average spending of other people. However, comparing your car to someone with a better car is unlikely to bring anything but envy.
After answering this question, reorient yourself. Now that you have more information, ask yourself the first question again with renewed insight.