Feeling stuck has a lot to do with not knowing what you like, what you want, and what you don’t.
If you feel stuck, lost, directionless, and overall bored with life, here’s how to discover things you like so you can feel excited and look forward to every new day.
When I was stuck in a career I didn’t like, one thought invaded my mind: “If it’s not this, then what? This is what I thought I liked for years!”
And I know I’m not the only one who thinks that when stuck.
I want to tell you this: it IS possible to start liking new things.
There’s no need to get fixated on what you’ve always liked.
This blog is all about helping you get unstuck and find direction in life, so it’s not uncommon for me to get emails from people asking things like:
- How do I figure out what I want or what I like?
- What is my passion?
- How do I change careers if I don’t know what I want?
- How do I know what I love to do?
If that sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that a “passion” isn’t something that falls magically from the sky for most people.
It takes self-reflection and a lot of self-discovery (and many times self-creation) to get to that specific thing that moves you.
And, most of all, it takes trial and error and a lot of patience.
Besides, you need to keep in mind you’re a human being who has the ability to CHANGE.
What you liked in the past isn’t necessarily what you like today.
And if you don’t like something today, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever like it.
If you want to get unstuck and find things you enjoy, you need to keep your mind open to change, trust your gut and be willing to do things differently.
Plus, don’t be afraid to drop things if you don’t like them.
Forget about what you’re “supposed” to like.
Don’t like it? Say it.
Love it? Say it.
Being open and honest about it will speed the process.
In this post, you’ll find all the best things you can do to discover things you like.
If you want a more in-depth article about the steps you can take to find your passions, check out this beginner-friendly guide.
How to Discover Things You Like
I’m a huge fan of journaling (and for good reasons), and that’s why I highly recommend you keep a notebook or journal nearby if you want to boost the effectiveness of these activities.
So you can keep notes of every idea you have and thought that comes to your mind that could help you figure things out later.
Getting thoughts out of your head and into paper will help you see things more clearly for sure.
New to journaling and interested in starting a journal? Check out this guide for beginners.
While you do any of these activities, make lists of everything you find interesting, like places, lifestyles, hobbies, careers.
Here’s how to figure out what you really want.
1. Browse online courses
Honestly, this could be a hobby in itself.
Browsing catalogs of online courses can open your mind to subjects and topics you didn’t know existed.
On top of that, you’ll notice what you gravitate towards.
Udemy and Coursera offer a huge collection of online courses, both free and paid.
Go there and browse different topics, read summaries, watch intro videos.
Remember to keep notes of everything. Use prompts like:
- What catches your attention?
- What sounds cool to you?
- Which of those courses would you absolutely love to complete?
- Is there any course there you’d watch just for fun? Why?
- What’s so interesting about them?
What’s the activity you’ve enjoyed the most in the past?
Was it dancing? Painting? Planning a party?
Remember times when you felt in your zone and totally engaged with what you were doing.
What was it? How did it feel?
Take your notebook and write for 5 to 10 minutes. List everything that comes to your mind.
How can you create more situations like those for you?
If you once baked a cake and loved it, how can you bring more of that into your life?
Could you volunteer to bake for your family on weekends and keep exploring that side of you?
Or maybe you could watch tutorials on how to bake better cakes and then practice in your free time.
See if you still like it or if it was just a one-time thing.
3. Read autobiographies
What have others done to have interesting lives?
What do they do for a living, and how do they spend their free time?
Soak in everything you can from how others have lived their lives.
The best part is that reading the autobiography of a president, for example, doesn’t mean the only thing you’ll learn is how to become one.
There’s a lot more you can learn from people who have lived lives interesting enough to be biography-worthy.
These people usually tell how they figured out what they wanted to do, and you can mimic their strategies.
Pay attention to how their lives unfold in front of their eyes for them to know what they want.
Besides, one of their stories could spark your curiosity for things you haven’t explored yet.
Here’s a shortlist of some of my favorite autobiographies:
- Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight
- Becoming, by Michelle Obama
- Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins
- The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
- Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
4. Watch documentaries that catch your eye
Check out Netflix’s documentaries section or browse Curiosity Stream’s documentaries.
Is there something that catches your attention?
Can you see a relation between documentaries you find interesting and online courses you’d like to complete?
What do these documentaries and some of your passions have in common?
Keep a record of your thoughts and ideas.
5. Watch “a day in the life” videos on YouTube
Go on YouTube and write “a day in the life” in the search bar.
Below that song by The Beatles, you’ll find videos from very different people who record themselves and show the world how a typical day is for them.
Watch some of those and take notes:
- Is their life interesting to you? Why?
- What’s so interesting (or not interesting) about them?
- Is it the city they live in? Their job? Their style? Their routine?
- What can you learn from watching them that you can apply to your own life?
Don’t get caught up in the fanciness of some of those videos…
You’ll find many videos from people who live in New York, for example, and it can be easy to let ourselves be surprised by the flashiness of it all.
Instead, focus on the details, like:
- What do they do when they wake up?
- What do they eat?
- Do they work out? What kind of workouts do they do?
6. Keep a journal
Journaling every day for 5 to 10 minutes can do magic.
Sit down every morning with your pen and journal and write about what you want.
Let it all out, don’t keep anything to yourself.
There are no such things as silly dreams when you’re alone with your thoughts and your journal, so don’t be afraid to dream big and put those dreams down on paper.
You can use journaling prompts or simply write down whatever’s on your mind during your journaling session.
If you want to focus on finding direction in life, you can use journaling prompts like:
- What do I look forward to?
- What makes me feel hopeful?
- What was my biggest dream as a child?
- What would make me feel like I’m living my life to the fullest?
- Am I afraid of what people will think if I follow my dreams?
7. Sign up for free activities in your area
Like yoga outdoors or painting classes.
You never know who you’re going to meet or what you can discover about yourself that can spark curiosity and lead to different roads.
Free activities are a great way to do this because you don’t have to think a lot about it when it’s free. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by going.
Worst case scenario? You’ll be bored and decide you don’t want to do it again.
Best case scenario? You’ll discover something you enjoy!
The Bottom Line
But always keep in mind that discovering new things you like is a fun process on its own.
Don’t focus so much on the outcome and enjoy the ride.
If you discover something new you love (and you probably will), that’d be a bonus.
Enjoy the journaling, the yoga classes, the books… Enjoy the journey.
And always keep in mind that figuring out what you want in life takes work and time, and your only option is to have a blast while doing it.
If you don’t, then you won’t get where you want to be.