A woman hikes in the woods representing how to figure out what you want in life

Greetings, fellow traveler on the path of self-discovery and personal growth. If you’re here because you’re trying to figure out what you want in life, you’ve come to the right place. 

As an experienced therapist, life coach, and couples counselor, I’ve sat with countless people over the years as they find their way forward from intersections just like yours. I know the excitement and the anxiety that come from confronting that all important question: 

What do I really want in life? 

Because there’s one thing I know for sure — We only get one life. And we don’t know how long it will last. We don’t know how long we have to chase our dreams, love our loved ones, or honor our truest selves. What a terrible waste it would be to shy away from uncovering your highest purpose and deepest desires. What a shame it would be to arrive on your death bed full of regrets about all the purpose you didn’t dare to fulfill and joy you didn’t dare to seek. 

That’s not going to happen to you, I’m sure. Because you’re asking the important questions now, even though they can lead into some scary, uncertain places. Even though it’s very easy to avoid them a little longer and cue up another Netflix special. Here you are instead, opening yourself up to the universe-bending, soul-expanding experience of personal growth. I like you already. So, let’s talk about life, and how you can bring your path into alignment with all the magic that is inside of you. 

If you’d prefer to listen to or watch this one, I’ve also recorded a podcast episode on this topic. You can find it on this page (player below), or on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Why You Need to Figure Out What You Want in Life

It’s possible to live an entire life without ever getting clear about what you want that life to look like. People do it all the time. They do things that feel good, and when they stop feeling good, they move on to the next good-feeling thing. Or they accept someone else’s ideas of what their life should be and follow that path. They may have niggles of dissatisfaction here and there, but those are easily numbed with more instant gratification, or more work, or more validation from others

The problem is, people who don’t know what they want in life… don’t get what they want in life. They don’t have a North Star to guide them. They’re prone to meandering. Even if they appear to have it all, they feel sad and lost on the inside, sometimes a little bit and sometimes a lot. 

There’s a better way to live. You can get clear about what your values are and build your life around them. You can set goals that bring you closer to the life you envision, and you can stay motivated to work toward your goals because they’re based on something that’s deep and true about you, not fleeting ego kibbles or someone else’s picture of what your life should be. 

Do you know people like that, who are taking charge of their lives and bending them in the direction of what they want? I hope so. They can open your eyes to so many possibilities, but they’re rare. There’s more than one of them but they’re not everywhere. If you want to live that way, and I think you do, this is where I recommend you begin: 

  1. Self-Reflection:

The first step to figuring out what you want in life is to look inside. Find quiet moments for journaling and self-reflection. Ask yourself questions like: What brings me joy? What do I care about? Where do I experience “flow?”

If your answers feel a little mundane, that’s okay. A life well-lived doesn’t need to be flashy or even particularly productive. It just has to be true to who you are at your core, what you appreciate deeply, and what gifts you can bring into the world during your time here.

  1. Dream Big

As you let yourself explore possibilities, for careers, for relationships, or any other part of your life, you’ll notice yourself bumping up against some walls. There will be reasons that you can’t have what you want, why love and success and happiness are for other people but not for you. 

These reasons are just stories you’re telling yourself. They feel like they’re keeping you safe, but really they’re keeping you stuck. When you start to dismantle these self-limiting beliefs (ideally with the help of a good life coach), you’ll see just how much is possible for you. 

  1. Identify Your Values

If you only had a few hours of life left, what would you do? What would you feel most proud of? What would you regret

Answering these questions can help you uncover your core values. Mine are love, happiness, personal growth, success, and being of service to others. I’ve built my life around helping other people discover and live by their values, and I can tell you, it feels good. Not because it’s what everyone should be doing, but because I’m very clear that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s really nothing like it. 

I want to strongly recommend this lifestyle to you. Of course, your values and the way they manifest will be different than mine. Maybe you value adventure, creativity, authenticity, or courage. What matters is finding what feels meaningful to you and letting it guide you forward. 

  1. Set Clear Goals

Our lives don’t just happen. They have to be planned for and then constructed with intention. As you’re figuring out what you want in life, you’ll have to translate your insights into clear, actionable goals that will provide a road map for bringing your vision into reality. Break your big-picture goals into smaller action steps that move you toward your dreams. Even though you aren’t living the life you want just yet, you’ll love how it feels to be getting one step closer to it every day. 

  1. Release Control 

Now that you’ve built up a very clear vision for the life that you want, I want you to loosen your grip on it a little bit. 

There are things you can’t control and you wouldn’t want to if you could. You can always make the next best choice for yourself, but you can’t force your life to take a specific shape. There are too many variables you can’t plan for or anticipate, including your own shifting desires. 

This is actually a good thing. The best things that happen in your life may be things that you never planned for or even knew you wanted. I think these things happen the most when we’re authentically happy and open to being delighted by all that life has to offer. Keep your vision, but leave room for the unexpected and let yourself be changed by it. 

Support for Figuring Out What You Want in Life

If you’re at a crossroads in your life, it can be so valuable to have a wise and caring guide to help you find your way forward. I have carefully assembled a collective of talented therapists and life coaches who I would trust to help me find direction in my own life, and you can trust them too. 

If you’d like to do this work with a clinician on my team, I invite you to schedule a free consultation

With love, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. — For more advice on finding your way in life, check out my “Moving Forward” collection of articles and podcasts. It’s all there for you.

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Figure Out What You Want in Life

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Therapy Questions, Answered.

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