1. Am I happy?
Make no mistake. Happiness and comfort are not the same things. You can be both, absolutely. But it’s also very easy to fall into a delusion where we mistake comfort and routine and familiarity with happiness. So if you feel yourself going through the motions and wandering around in a fog or a rut, it’s probably time to take a good, hard, long look in the mirror, and really ask yourself whether or not you’re happy. And if the answer isn’t an instant, “Yes,” you need to do some more digging into the why behind that lack of a yes.
2. If money was no object, what would I do tomorrow?
Wanting to be financially stable and successful is not a bag thing. But what can get murky and messy and ultimately, detrimental, is giving up on things that make you feel fulfilled and passionate and happy in the name of financial gain. So if your bank account wasn’t an issue, what would you do? And then, is there a way that you can figure out how to merge being stable with pursuing that? Because if there is, you might just strike gold.
3. Why exactly do I feel stuck?
Deep down, you probably know. It’s pretty rare that feeling apathetic about your entire life or feeling like you’re going in circles comes with absolutely NO reason behind it. So examine things, ask yourself the tough questions. Getting to the root of the problem is the first step to solving it.
4. If I answer immediately off the top of my head, what do I want to change in my life?
Your heart is easily manipulated and your head often overthinks. But your gut? Your gut instinct always knows. So if you were to answer without thinking too much or too emotionally, what would you say? Your first instinct is probably the first place to look when you know you’re ready to make a change, but aren’t sure where exactly to start.
5. Who is someone with a career/personal life/relationship or whatever that I admire and/or look up to?
There’s a super popular theory that you are the result of taking on the personalities of the five people you spend the most time with. While attempting to emulate someone you admire isn’t EXACTLY the same thing, it’s not a bad idea either. If you’re feeling stuck, dissatisfied, or just generally like you’re unhappy with your life, striving to live or work in a similar way as someone you look up to can only help you. Take their advice, study their patterns that seem opposite to yours. You might be surprised by how living like them helps you BE like them. And, in turn, be happier with yourself.
6. How much time do I spend each day pursuing something or doing something that I truly love?
If your life is one big lather, rinse, repeat of a bunch of things that you feel completely unexcited by, it can’t be that big of a surprise that you feel stuck. Life doesn’t just happen to you. Stumbling into things that make you ecstatically happy is something that only happens on TV. If you want things to be magical, sometimes you have to make the magic yourself.
7. What is the worst thing that could happen if I took a chance?
Seriously. If you were to take a chance, take the leap, what is the ultimate worst case scenario? Sometimes really looking at and facing the bad that could happen makes the bad a little less intimidating.
8. So worst thing aside, what’s stopping me from going for it?
You need to be honest with yourself. If it’s not the worst case scenario, why are you really not going after what you want? What’s stopping you? And this isn’t the time to make excuse after excuse or point the blame in a direction that takes it away from you. When you really start to figure out what’s holding you back from living the life you want, that’s when you’ll be able to start making changes and head towards living in a way that makes you happier.
9. What are the things I keep saying I’m going to do, but for whatever reason never end up doing?
We all have a bucket list that for whatever reason never seems to get shorter or have things ticked off. So what are the things you keep saying you’ll do or WANT to do…but then just don’t? Give yourself permission to do the things that you’re curious about or that make you excited. You deserve to check things off your bucket list.
10. Do I talk to and treat myself like I’m my own best friend?
It’s scary how easy it is to fall into a cycle of negativity where we beat ourselves up and berate ourselves to a degree that is honestly abusive. Think about the standard you hold yourself to. Is it unreachable? Would you expect anywhere near that of anyone else in your life? The things you tell yourself, would you say them to your best friend? You need to give yourself a break and be a little kinder to yourself. Being gentler and nicer to yourself isn’t pathetic or some sort of frivolous “self-love” hack, it’s necessary to end up in a place where you’re actually happy.
11. Am I settling?
And if so, why? Make no mistake, settling is in no way synonymous with failure. But settling can be an indicator that you’ve given up on something, or you’re not willing to just try. In order to avoid eventually looking back and wondering what if you have to stop yourself from settling, and fight back against it when you do.
12. Do I have micro-regrets?
Settling can lead to regrets that maybe aren’t massive, but are there nonetheless. What ifs. Things you wish you would have done. When you’re not living a life that challenges you or sparks something inside of you, you can ultimately end up with a list of things that you’ll wish you’d done differently. And if you’re not aware of these mini-regrets and making changes to avoid them, you’ll likely just continue adding to the list. It’s impossible to live a life completely devoid of regrets, but it is possible to stop living in a cycle where regrets keep adding up.
13. What am I holding onto that I really need to let go?
Holding onto things instead of letting go is, frankly, a selfish and often fruitless endeavor. There’s no glory in hanging onto things just for the sake of hanging onto them. No one is winning prizes for “Obsessed And Lingered And Refused To Let Go For The Longest!!!” Harboring things will only end up holding you back. Emotionally, mentally, maturity wise. The person who wins when you let go? It’s you.
14. What are the things that are most important to me?
What are the things that make you the happiest? That fulfill you the most? That make waking up an adventure instead of something you dread? Those are the things that deserve your attention and that you should be ensuring continue to grow in your life. Don’t let the things that you love teeter off and don’t let yourself grow distant from them. Ultimately, the things that are most important to you are the things that can make your life the best. So focus on them, and the rest will likely follow.