Find your strengths and values How to know what you want in life

‘How do you know what you want in life?’ It sounds like an easy question to answer, but it’s actually quite difficult for most people. Very often, people are reluctant - or even afraid - to identify their dreams and desires. For many, their dreams seem too out of reach.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help you realize what you want from life. The most important thing is to do some honest self-reflection. Once you are able to be truly honest with yourself, you can identify and start working toward your goals. Here are three steps to get you started.

Step 1: Think of what you have…and what you don’t

Write down ten things in your life that make you happy. When you’re done, look at the items on your list and ask yourself: Why do these things make me happy? In what ways do they make my life better? What would my life be like without them? Which would I like to have more of?

Now think if there’s something in your life that you feel like you are missing. It could be anything: a fulfilling relationship, success in your career, money, a sense of adventure, good health, etc. Write down one or two concrete steps - big or small - you could take to get these things. Would it help, for example, to join a dating app? Ask for more responsibility in your work? Exercise more and eat healthily? Study to become a doctor?

Understanding what you have in your life - and what you’re lacking - is the first step in working toward change and a positive outcome.

Step 2: Define what success means to you

Success means different things to different people. We often live our lives according to what we think we ought to be doing and not what we actually want.

Think about these questions to figure out what success means to you - not to society or to your friends and family, but to you:

  • If you could have anything in life, what would it be?
  • If you were living your ideal life, what would you be doing and experiencing?
  • What kind of people would you like to surround yourself with?

When you define what success means to you, you’ll have a better chance of achieving it.

Step 3: Write your mission statement

Now, using the answers you gave above to guide you, write out a short personal mission statement. Your mission statement describes a clear intention of your life. It gets to the heart of your true purpose and captures what will make you happy and fulfilled. Here’s an example:

I am always looking for new opportunities to help me grow and develop. My goal is continuous self-improvement and to enrich the lives of those around me.

Try to memorize your mission statement and refer back to it when making an important life decision or reaffirming the choices you have made. If a life-changing situation comes along - such as a new job opportunity - that doesn't align with your mission, then think twice about whether it’s right for you.

Knowing what makes you fulfilled, defining personal success and creating a short mission statement are useful when planning your life’s journey - and for confirming that you are staying on a path that ensures your happiness and well-being!

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