The feeling that something is missing in your life is not unusual, whether it appears on the surface as though everything is perfect, or you are all too aware that you’re far off track from where you want to be. Whatever challenges you’re facing, you can change your life to make it more fulfilling, starting with the steps below.
Figure Out What Matters
If you’re feeling unfulfilled, there’s a good chance that you’ve been paying too much attention to what other people think you should be doing. This may be especially true if you look like you have it all but are still unhappy, but it can also be the case that your life looks aimless from the outside because you’ve always felt pressured to avoid pursuing what means the most to you. You may not even realize how much you’ve internalized the idea that success looks only one way. Spend some time journaling, talking to friends and just thinking about what your ideal life would look like.
Identify Practical Obstacles
The next step is to bring it down to earth and figure out what is standing between you and your dream. Sometimes, that may be something that you won’t or can’t give up. For example, maybe your dream is to move to a different city, but your family is settled where they are. You love them and want them to be happy, so you might need to find other ways to get your dream fulfilled. Maybe you could arrange to take some trips to the place that you’d love to live, or maybe you could figure out what it represents to you and how you could bring that into your life.
In other situations, the obstacles may be substantial but not impossible to overcome. For example, maybe you need more money to fulfill your dream. Could you get a different job, cut back on your spending or take out a loan? You might also have more valuable assets than you think you do. One way to come up with needed funds could be to sell your life insurance policy. You can read a guide that includes everything you need to know about selling your policy through a life settlement and whether your policy might be eligible.
Identify Internal Obstacles
These can actually be bigger than the practical obstacles, and sometimes they are harder to distinguish. For example, you might be telling yourself you’re too old to go back to college now when people not only return to college in their 30s, 40s and 50s but even into their 80s and 90s. Look for negative thought patterns, like “there’s no point in trying because I never succeed anyway.” Research common traits of successful leaders and apply them to your personal life. You may be surprised to find that many of the same things that make a person a successful leader can help you identify internal areas you may need to improve.
Another common barrier is perfectionism. It’s great to want to do your best but not if it comes at the cost of doing anything at all. Yet another tendency to watch out for is procrastination. If taking the next big step is always something you’re going to do next week or tomorrow, you can kick the can of fulfillment down the road indefinitely if you aren’t careful.