How to Get Unstuck When You Don’t Know What to Do Next in Life

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In many ways, life can feel like a never-ending process of identifying and achieving goals. Last year, the goals you had were probably different from the goals you have now. In turn, the goals you will have next year will also look different from todays. Maybe it won’t be a whole lot different—but probably not precisely the same, either.

Unstuck

Our goals are a big part of what keeps us truly alive. Without them, we likely won’t know where we’re heading in life, as well as what we need to do to achieve them. But there are some points in life where you will ask yourself, “now what?”. This might happen after achieving a goal you’ve worked a long time for—or perhaps arriving at a crossroads wherein you’re unsure of which path to take next. When this happens, it’s time to take a step back and figure out what to do next.

In doing so, here are some strategies that can help you out:

1. Pause

Sometimes, the best way to figure out what you need to do next in life is to do nothing. Of course, this doesn’t mean “do nothing.” What it means is embracing the unknown and freeing up your mind space. Maybe you could take some time off work or perhaps cut down on non-essential tasks. Whatever method you use, the goal is to be. In this way, you can reconnect with yourself, figure out what is important to you, and from there, determine what your next step should be.

2. Explore something new

One of the best ways to figure out what to do next in life is to get out of your comfort zone. Learn something new. Maybe take up guitar classes even if you haven’t held a guitar before. Or perhaps you can sign up for a course that is unrelated to your field. Even if these activities are not necessarily productive, they can help you figure out where you need to be—and what you need to do to get there.

For example, joining a yoga class can make you realize your desire for a higher fitness level. Even if it turns out that you hate what you try to explore, it can help you take one step closer to what you want in life.

3. Don’t ignore your emotions

During uncertainty, it can be easy to drown in negative emotions like fear, apathy, or doubt. While you definitely shouldn’t hold on to these emotions for too long, it is essential to acknowledge them and feel them until it’s time to move on.

Know that these emotions—no matter how negative they may be—will eventually pass. If you don’t acknowledge them, the scarier they will be, so do your best not ignore them. Better yet, talk to someone about what you’re feeling: ideally, someone that you trust and can understand you completely.

4. Travel

Traveling is a great way to get to know yourself, not only as a traveler but as a person in general. In an unfamiliar place surrounded by strange people, it can be easier to figure out who you are and what you want to achieve in the future. Furthermore, traveling provides many opportunities to learn about many different things, gain more life experiences, and meet interesting people along the way.

Traveling can also be the pause that you need to figure out your next step. It is essentially an escape from your daily grind, which may be just the very thing that’s holding you back from making the best decision for your life.

5. Learn from someone else

Some people are like books wherein you can learn from their experiences that can help guide you in your own life. Whether it’s a life coach, a career mentor, or a close friend—talking to someone and learning from their own life can help you determine what your next step should be. Better yet, find someone who has gone through a similar situation that you’re in right now. Their experiences can be a great source of information and motivation. The hard lessons that they have learned can be your lessons without actually having to experience them in real life.

Not knowing what to do next in life can feel like being stuck at a crossroads; there are a lot of paths to take, but you are unsure which way is the right one. If this sounds like what you’re going through right now, these tips can hopefully help you escape limbo and take the right step forward.