What is a lack of direction?
Having a 'lack of direction' is simply not knowing what you want to do with your life. "Why is that important?" you ask. Well, a general lack of direction in your life can lead to an overall lowered well-being. This can include, but is not limited to: depression, lack of sleep, excessive worrying, lowered overall mood, lowered self-esteem, and confusion.
Frequently, people experience a lack of direction in their teenage years and even into their twenties. This is common, as younger people often do not know what they want to do with their life. There is a lot of decision making that happens and it's not always easy. When the lack of direction continues into your later years, or even comes up later into your life, it can cause a crisis in the person's life. Let's look at the ins and outs of a general lack of direction and how we can deal with this dilemma:
Why it happens:
What to do about it:
Decide what is important to you and what you want in life: Revisiting what was discussed above - what do you want in your life? Having a hard time figuring out what you want, need and desire? Write it down. Make a list with three columns. Title the columns NEEDS - WANTS - DESIRES. (See Picture below) (Note: The difference between a want and a desire is the strength of the emotional response. For example, I desire to have a big, newly built home. I want it to be in the Toronto area.)
2. Decide what is most important and what is the 'low hanging fruit': Pick 3 to 5 very important goals
that are most important to you - say the partner, the job, and the home. Now pick the 'low hanging
fruit' or the easiest items to knock off the list. I don't want you thinking that this is an easy and fast
process, instead think of these 'low hanging fruit' as a way to achieve some of your goals quickly
to build your confidence. For example, maybe your goal is to be an arbolist (just like above),
someone who is a specialist in trees, you know that this will take years of studying to get this title,
so the 'low hanging fruit' would be to start working at a garden center and save some money for
school (and learn as much as you can in the mean time).
3. Make an action plan - not a goal plan: By sitting down and making an actionable plan you can
make steps to completion of the 'big picture goals'. This will make the overall process of achieving
those goals more realistic and achievable. Plus, it feels great when you accomplish a step on the
way to achieving that 'big picture goal' (For example, Goal: To have a healthy happy
relationship. Steps: 1. Join a self-growth course (like anger management) 2. Exercise 3. Practice
empathy and gratitude .... I hear the horns going off already!!! You are asking "if I want a nice
wife/husband, why do I have to do all that junk?!?!" Well, my answer to that is: If you want to have
a loving, supportive, caring partner then you have to mirror those behaviours. Learning how to be that person that your future AMAZING spouse deserves starts now.)
4. Be confident: Having confidence in yourself and your abilities is essential in setting, achieving and
maintaining your goals. Self-confidence is not always the easiest state to function from, we all feel
less than confident sometimes. So when those nagging thoughts of self-doubt come creeping in,
tell them where to go and know that they are only negative thoughts that you are choosing to
5. Fake it until you make it: Yes, I did just tell you to pretend to be someone that you aren't! Don't
misunderstand me though, I mean that if you are not feeling like the person that you want to be,
then fake being that person until you become it. Using the example of confidence above: if you are
not the most confident person and you fear many things, practice living fearlessly and pretend
that you are confident. Join that class you want to join, but you're too afraid that everyone there
will be better than you. Go on that date with the cute guy from the 20th floor, who asked you for
coffee. Act like you are all that and a bag of chips, even if you don't feel like it. By practicing this
you will automatically become more fearless and confident because you will be building those
traits through practice.
In closing, I first-hand understand that it is very difficult to pick yourself up and push yourself when you are stuck in a rut! This is coming from a girl that didn't go to college until she was 22! I didn't know what I wanted or how to get it. I can also tell you that with a little focus and drive you can achieve all of the goals that are on your list and more! Just put them into action. One step forward is better than staying in the same, directionless place that you are right now.
Cheers to the future you and all of your directions that you are soon to go in.
I am the founder of The Anger Managers, a clinic that provides court-approved psycho-educational courses and workshops to individuals and corporations