It can be hard to figure out where you want to go in life. I know many people who get to their senior year of college and dread the question “so, what are you doing after you graduate?”. I knew people who were driven so crazy by this question they wanted to scream every time someone asked. The truth is many people don’t know what they want to do next.
Of course, right after college isn’t the only time we experience this. Some people get to a point in their career where they are ready for a switch but don’t know how to take the leap. Others find themselves jumping from job to job without seeming to land anywhere. so if you’re not sure what to do next in life you are not alone! Here are some helpful tips for dealing with this feeling.
1. Check in With Yourself
Check in with yourself and maybe ask yourself a few questions. Try working with a trained mindfulness coach to build present-time awareness. You might ask yourself: Am I content with what I am doing? What is one goal I had for myself when I started here? You might find that you really are not content and it is time to figure out what is next for you. Conversely you might realize that you already accomplished one of your major goals where you are and it is time to set a new one.
2. Set a New Intention
A goal and an intention are two different things. A goal is something to be accomplished that you can check in with and see how your progress is going. An intention is more of a guiding principle that can help inform your goals. If you are wondering what to do next figure out what your intention for this next phase is. Maybe it is just to be happier. Perhaps the intention is to find a way to be more grounded and stable. Whatever it is, let it be something that you can keep as a guiding idea to inform your next decisions.
3. Figure Out Some Goals
Once you have a guiding intention is might be time to set some goals. When you are wondering what to do next a goal might be to investigate other career opportunities or pick a graduate school/ program. The important thing is to not attack this big decision all at once. Chose a goal that is short term, small, and manageable.
4. A Real Life Example
So maybe you have checked in with yourself and your intention is to keep learning. Well, this might mean that the next step is graduate school. So, let’s take the example of picking a graduate school program. The goal for your first few weeks is not to decide on one an apply. Instead, slow it down a bit. Your first goal might be to read five blog posts about programs you are potentially interested in. Getting someone’s lived experience can help you figure out if this sounds like a good path for you. You might even back it up one step and make your goal to read about the pros and cons of going to graduate school.
Once you have finished this small short term goal, check in with yourself and maybe start a new goal. Remember to keep each one short-term, small, and manageable. You will be amazed how you can figure out what you want to do next by just continuing to set these little goals for yourself.
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