Don't Know What to Do With Your Life? Here Are Some Tips

Society transmits to us the idea that we should be clear about our vital decisions. Consequently, most of us feel that if we hesitate when choosing a career, job, or partner, we're lost. It's the kind of feeling that's easily internalized. Here, we want to give you some recommendations on what you can do when you feel that you've lost your inner compass.
Don't Know What to Do With Your Life? Here Are Some Tips
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

You don’t know what to do with your life. You feel lost and can’t find any meaning in most of what you do. We’ve all felt like this at some time or another. We’ve all experienced a deep existential emptiness. In fact, there are few realities that define you, as a human being, as the uncertainty in your own future, when you just don’t know what path to take.

For example, you choose a subject to study, but then end up working in an area that apparently has nothing or little to do with it. For a while, you take it for granted that it’s making you happy and that it’s what you want. However, there comes a time when cracks appear in your house of cards. For example, someone might notice that you’ve started to complain a lot and asks you why you’re doing the job if it makes you feel so bad.

There’s nothing extraordinary about change or doubts. However, when you go through a crisis due to the fact that you’ve found some cracks in your foundations, you tend to panic. After all, nobody likes crises, even though they’re the most normal and frequent occurrences.

Over time, you change, your interests vary, and you need to open yourself up to other paths. Accepting and knowing how to manage this process shapes your evolution.

“We must let go of the life we planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” 

-Joseph Campbell-

girl on the road thinking i don't know what to do with my life
When insecurity embraces you and you don’t know what to do with your life, you must perform an act of introspection

Some tips for when you don’t know what to do with your life

You may need to reformulate your resolutions. You might only need to make a small change or you may have to start a whole personal revolution. When you feel stuck and frustrated because you don’t know what to do with your life, the first thing you need to do is to practice your internal dialogue.

Enclosing yourself in the shell of your mind for a while to encourage introspection will be a good start. That’s because, as a rule, you barely have time for it. Indeed, your day-to-day is usually chaotic, demanding, and noisy. Consequently, almost without realizing it, you disassociate yourself from your internal world that’s crying out for you to stop as it has some things to tell you.

Let’s see what strategies can help in these circumstances.

Changes are part of life. When you don’t know which direction to take or what to do, it’s time to shape change by first clarifying your values and purposes.

Analyze where you are now

Start by clarifying your current situation. What changes have occurred in your environment that have precipitated this crisis?

Instead of letting yourself be carried away by frustration and anxiety about not knowing what to do with your life, ask yourself some questions to achieve mental clarity about the present:

  • Are the activities you’re performing now identifying you, giving you meaning, and making you happy? For example, your work, studies, and hobbies.
  • Are you really doing what you want to do?
  • Are you happy with the people around you? Is there someone who causes you more annoyance than feelings of well-being?
  • How do you see yourself five years from now? Are you satisfied with your perspective of the future or should you change it?

Try to answer these questions honestly.

Clarify your values and purposes

You should update your values and purposes from time to time. That’s because people change, and circumstances do too, and they don’t always position you in a place where you feel comfortable. For example, research conducted by the Clermont Auvergne University (France) claimed that the pandemic and the covid crisis have taken their toll on many of us.

The world has changed. Therefore, it’s logical that many of the realities that we took for granted (work, future, relationships), are in crisis. It’s more than necessary that you reflect on what values and purposes define you now.

What inspires you?

Look beyond your closest reality, your routines, and the people around you. What is it that really inspires you, excites you, makes your heart beat faster, and fills your mind with possibilities, dreams, and desires? Think about it while you answer some more questions:

  • What kind of work would make you happy and fulfilled?
  • What activities interest you and would you like to try?
  • What people inspire you? What comes to mind when you hear or see them?

What inspires you can give you new reasons to initiate change. Hope is the engine of motivation.

When you don’t know what to do with your life, remember your talents

We’re all skilled in certain ways. Indeed, we all have our own talents and abilities that distinguish us from the rest and that allow us to enjoy a good sense of self-efficacy. Bear them in mind and focus on them. Because those unique capacities will mark the path that’ll bring you closer to a new vital stage in your life.

Also, in addition to these skills, you should clarify what your personal strengths are. For instance, empathy, creativity, resolution, sensitivity, confidence, etc. They’re nutrients that’ll give you strength in times of insecurity.

Woman walking looking at the top of a mountain thinking that I don't know what to do with my life
In addition to reviewing your values in times of crisis, also take your intuition into account. It’s the voice of your conscience when you don’t know what to do in life

Open yourself up to new experiences, you have a whole world to discover

You may have spent many years steering your life in a certain direction. However, you’re now at a time when you’re beginning to doubt what previously seemed so clear. Suddenly, where, before you saw logical actions, now you begin to see a range of possibilities. In fact, you start to see alternatives that you might like even more than the ones you previously opted for.

Maybe it’s time to change tracks and catch another train. The world is full of possibilities. There are extraordinary people to meet and occupations that can give you real meaning both professionally and personally.

Take action. Start to discover new experiences, learn more skills, and meet new people. Soon, you’ll find yourself on the right course. The one that really satisfies you.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.