I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that if you are reading this, you may be in the process of evaluating or reevaluating your life. And you know what? That’s completely okay because something brought you here – other than Google. Are you feeling fed up with the way your life is going? Have you been struggling with the “what’s the point?” thoughts and uncomfortable emotions? There’s a beautiful thing about feelings. They tell you something is up. What’s even more beautiful about them is they spur you into some decision. Whether that decision is to do something different or not, well, that is entirely up to you.
Sometimes we experience a moment of awareness that has us stop and evaluate the way things are going. Whether it’s a thought, an emotion, or the realization that you possess a spirit that won’t settle, at some point, we experience the need to stop and evaluate.
Here are some questions to help you:
#1. What am I happy with?
I started with this question because, let’s face it.
When we are evaluating or revaluating our life, it’s because we’re not happy. But it also doesn’t mean that everything in our life is going wrong either.
We sometimes forget to remember the things that are going right. So, what are the things in your life that you are happy with? These can be things that you wouldn’t change, or if you were to change, would make you more comfortable.
But what if you don’t know the answer to this question?
What if you’re sitting there going, “HHHEEEELLOOOOOOOO! I have no idea what makes me happy – that’s why I’m reading this.” Well, you’re in luck because we’re going to talk about that.
I’m going to go out on another limb and assume that you’re a human that’s alive and the society that you have grown up in has a few ideas of what happiness should look like when:
- You’re thinner or toned or more muscular or all of the above.
- Your checking and savings account has more zeros in it (without the negative sign).
- Your home has more square footage that lets in natural sunlight with beautiful yards (visualize Better Homes and Gardens).
- You get that promotion or degree or whatever it is to add more zeros into your accounts.
- You’re in a committed relationship and have kiddos or intend to have them (2.5 to be exact).
And perhaps some of these things might make you happier.
Exercising regularly releases feel-good chemicals into the brain that make us happier. And having connections with others tends to make us happier too.
But there is also more to life. So how do we find it? First, take notice when you’re really happy and jot it down with good notes. I’m talking about those times when you are thinking, “this is amazing/wonderful/great, and life needs more of this.” Those are the moments that you need to be writing down with all the details. I think we forget when we experience these moments because they are sometimes pretty brief.
Go out there and experiment. Take notice of those moments when you close your eyes and inhale the scent of your favorite coffee and think, “ahh, yes.” Or the times that you turn your face towards the warmth of the sun and close your eyes (you know, so you don’t go blind) and let yourself grin.
Or when you’re cooking yourself alive in the bath or shower and wishing the hot water would never run out.
Now let’s dissect those moments to figure out what it is about them that makes them happy. What is it about them that brings pleasure? Are there sensory elements that make them pleasurable? Do these moments give me time to myself or time to spend with others? Do I feel recharged afterward?
What about when you were a kiddo? Before, society told you that it wasn’t cool to do that.
What did you use to enjoy doing?
Did you used to love to play in the mud?
What about finger painting?
Playing with legos? Watching Disney movies? Chasing your chubbiest cat down the hall bent over saying “tickle, tickle, tickle” while tickling their hips and giggling like a loon at their running–waddle (that’s one of mine – and I still do it).
So, what makes you happy?
#2 What is the life that I dream about?
I put this as number two for a reason. Odds are your dream life might incorporate some of the stuff that you identified in number one. So, what’s different? Imagine waking up excited to go to work – where do you work? What are you doing for work? Is it what you are doing now or something different? But also let me ask you. Is your dream job actually about doing something that you dream about, or is it about running away from your current life?
What about your home? Are you living in the house that you dream about? If yes, then that’s awesome! If not, you may need to evaluate your budget or find ways to turn it into your dream home.
When you can articulate what your dreams look like, you can start to finesse out the goals needed to make it happen.
Sometimes we think our dream life is impossible, and we literally make it impossible. Our dreams can seem so big that they are difficult to verbalize without breaking them into smaller pieces. Figure out what it is that you really, really want and what makes this dream so great.
I remember reading an article a little while back about a lady who had undergone a pretty significant physical transformation. She went from having a body that she was not happy with to an easily admired body.
She mentioned one of the things that had kept her going was her transformation board. It struck me as pretty similar to a vision board.
She started with her first picture (the before) and would take regular progress photos of herself and hang them up. And explained that when she became frustrated, especially when the numbers on the scale refused to move, she had her transformation board there to help her keep going. She could see the changes she had undergone even when the scale told her nothing had changed.
I like the idea of a vision board, or a transformation board, or whatever it is that you want to call it. It provides a visual reference and helps you become more actionable.
It helps you identify what you are working towards and provides a visual benchmark for you to measure progress.
#3 Does time feel like the enemy?
Then it’s time to take control of your time. I seriously recommend keeping a log for at least a week of what you are doing with your time. Time is the only resource that we cannot get back.
Fortunes can be won and lost and won again. But time – once that second, minute, or hour hand moves to the right, it’s officially gone.
How much time are you spending doing things that you don’t enjoy doing? Or are they unnecessary? And is it necessary that you keep doing these things? And if so, do you need to keep doing them for the entirety of your life? Or might there be some other options out there?
If you are working ridiculous hours with little to no breathing room, you’re going to be exhausted and miserable. Are you in survival mode, and if you are, what is your plan for getting out?
Or are you doing tasks that could be delegated to others in order to “create” more time? So, you can use time more intentionally? Do you have jobs that you took on believing that you could handle them? Only to discover that you are getting buried beneath them. These extra tasks can get in the way and cause misery. If you can delegate out tasks, then by all means – delegate them out and use your newfound time with intention.
Or perhaps you are just wasting time? How much time do you spend on social media? Or Pinterest – I’m guilty of that one. It’s like a black hole – I can lose hours on Pinterest if I am not intentional with my time. How much time do you spend playing games? I have to set boundaries with Homescapes, especially when they keep feeding me with free playtime.
There’s nothing wrong with “down-time” or “fun time,” but when it starts to eat up hours of your time, it can do the exact opposite.
It no longer feels pleasant and enjoyable but can instead feel like a “waste of your time.”
#4. What makes you unhappy?
This question is probably easier to answer than the first question. What were your most unhappy moments in the last seven days or the last 30 days? What were you doing, thinking, and where were you when you were your most unhappy?
Are you spending time with people that you don’t enjoy being around? If this is the case, I urge you to invoke a little Elsa and just “let [them] go.”
Is it the realization that you are not living the life that you want to live? Or is it your weight or how you feel about yourself? If so, I recommend that you scroll back up and spend some time reading over #2. What is the life I dream about?
Is it that you hate your job? If this is the case, then take a look at #5. Do you hate your job?
#5. Do you hate your job?
Are you unhappy with your job? What would you rather be doing instead – other than not doing what you are doing for a living? Would it be possible for you to find a different line of work? Or a side hustle so you can pay down debts and then maybe transition into a different line of work?
Side hustles are a big thing, and there is A LOT of information on the internet about people making money doing side jobs.
I recall reading about a lady who bakes dog biscuits and stated she makes over $4,000 a month selling them online.
Do you enjoy baking? Do you live near a dog park, and can you bake a product that you can market? Granted, this may not be for everyone, and I don’t know your state’s cottage laws for baked goods (so look into it). But my point is, start thinking about what you can do for a side hustle.
Preferably one that won’t involve a jumpsuit in prison orange, research it and then go do it.
#6. Do you feel antsy or impatient?
I know I asked a lot of questions in each of these.
But there’s one that I want to reference back to. Are you feeling antsy and impatient “about doing something that you dream about, or is it about running away from your current life?”
Let me explain why I am asking and why I would like you to reflect on this and understand the distinction. Let’s pretend for a moment that you have decided to move to Costa Rica – it has been a dream of yours. You made this decision because you love the culture, living near the ocean, it’s gorgeous, you can telecommute to work and economically it makes sense to make this move. So, you’re antsy and impatient for moving day to show up – this makes sense. You’re moving towards something that you dream about.
Now let’s pretend that you have decided to make this move to Costa Rica because you are running away from your current life.
Let’s pretend that you chose Costa Rica because it’s a non-extradition country, and you look bad in prison orange.
Let’s also pretend that you are feeling antsy and impatient about “moving day” before there is a knock on your door – made by a battering ram – because you’re on the run. While this seems like a quick fix – to run away from your current life – you will discover that you cannot run from your life forever.
Eventually, they will catch up with you, and even the beautiful Costa Rica won’t be able to keep your problems at bay for long.
#7. How do you look at setbacks?
Even after you know what it is about your life that needs to change and have come up with a game plan, there may be setbacks.
Setbacks are a part of life.
Regretfully, nothing ever goes perfectly. And it is how we deal with them that decides if we keep moving forward or throw our hands into the air and use colorful words.
Sometimes setbacks occur because we are trying to grow faster than we’re prepared to succeed. For example, think about the last time that you decided to embark on a fitness routine.
Do you remember that following day after you decided that 20 squats weren’t enough? So, you decided to shoot for 50 or 100 instead? Do you remember trying to get out of bed? Or going up and down the stairs? You probably felt pretty crippled. And you probably waited a bit to do squats again – if you ever did them again at all. So, my point is, when we try and grow too fast – sometimes we end up with a setback than if we were to grow slower.
Take a moment and think about how you want to view a possible future setback. Are you going to look at it as “proof” that you will never attain your dream? That you need to resign yourself to a life of mediocrity or however you describe it? Or are you going to view a setback as an opportunity to grow but at a slower pace that won’t cripple you?
#8. Are you living life fearlessly?
Are you living life fearlessly, or are you living someone else’s life? Is fear the thing that is holding you back? Have you given fear the power to decide your future? If the answers are “yes,” then I have good news for you.
Yes, you read that correctly. However, I have good news for you. Fear is an emotion – it is not a fact 99% of the time.
So, now that you know the good news let’s talk a bit about fear.
We tend to use emotional reasoning when we let fear make decisions outside of those that involve mortal danger. Unfortunately, we also tend to entertain worst-case scenarios that allow thoughts to run amok and other people’s opinions to take priority. As a result, fear can be pretty insidious before you know it; you’re living someone else’s life.
#9. Are you ready for action?
This is probably the scariest part for some folks and the most exciting part for others. If you have gotten here, you probably know by this point if you are fed up with the way your life is going. You have probably also noted a few things that you need to evaluate by this point.
As I said, this part can be scary or exciting depending on who you are. But if you know that you need to make some changes to live the life you want to live, what do you have to lose? Or then perhaps some things that you need to let go of.
If you are struggling with changing your life because of thoughts and feelings and would benefit from therapy, then take a look at Therapy-Online.com, and you can use my link to receive a 20% discount [affiliate link]. I believe that everyone should be able to have access to mental health resources, and if you feel that you would benefit from therapy, then I encourage you to give it a try.