When you decide to reevaluate your life, remember: you are not looking for easy answers. At this stage you are only trying to ask the right questions.
- What’s my dream life? If you could have anything, no holds bared, what would you be doing, day in and day out? It’s fine to have a big goal (climb Everest) but try to drill it down to a 24 hour picture. Dream lives still involve many of the things you are already doing — so what’s different? Imagine being excited to get to work — where do you work? What does your house look like? Who are you married to, if anyone?
- What do you want (do you really, really want)? Dreams and fantasies are often funded by the unbelievable. “I’d fly off to Paris in my private jet.” “I’d be married to Tom Hiddleston.” We think getting a great life is so impossible that we literally make it so; you might as well say you want to live on Jupiter and marry Errol Flynn — it’s as likely to happen. So instead, take time to get to the heart of your dream — past the money and movie stars — and figure out what you really desire. Maybe you’ve never been to Paris — but if you saved up all your ‘fast food’ money for two years you could do it (and be much healthier). And maybe you long to meet intelligent, joyful people and have become discouraged by the potential romantic partners in your job or social circle. Ask what makes your dream great. Most times it’s not just having more money in your hand.
- What’s making you unhappy now? Think about the last week or month — what were your most unhappy moments? Who/where/what did they involve? It’s hard to admit, but if you don’t come away happy from seeing someone, then that’s someone you need less of in your world. Life is short, and unless you birthed them or adopted them, you don’t owe anyone your happiness upon this Earth. We’ve all had friendships and relationships we’ve tried to ‘make’ work. Well, today you found your get-out-of-jail-free card; I’m officially telling you it’s okay to let things that don’t work GO. Believe me, you’ll be making room in your life for much better things. If debt or your weight are making you unhappy then even a tiny step toward a better life will improve your mood. And if your job is the problem, hang on . . .
- Do I hate my job? I just saw a Pin that said something like ‘When asked what they would reevaluate after winning the lottery, 51% of people said ‘their job’. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but it feels right. To me that also says that, in addition to not liking their job, most people are afraid to leave because of finances. This is a tough one — we need money. But how much of it? Could you get by (and be happier) with less? Instead of imaging winning the lottery — imagine you already have. According to one estimate, the worldwide median household income is less than $10,000. So if your household makes more than that, you are already living the high life. So maybe a different job (even if it paid less) would be something to think about. And know there are people out there who are paid well to do your dream job; the first step to joining them is acknowledging you’re unhappy where you are.
- Am I filling my life with ‘time-wasters’? Everyone deserves ‘down time’, ‘fun time’, or a break but everything in moderation. Playing video games can be amazing but 6 hours a day for five years may not lead to a fulfilling life — unless you’re a game designer. The same way, the amount of human time spent on Facebook is astounding (and I can be as guilty as anyone, though more often it’s Pinterest for me). Just try to imagine the world, the power, and the individual lives we could build with that excess time.
- Why am I sad? You may not be sad, but if you are know that a few small changes can make life great again. You don’t need to throw out everything, you just need to realign your life with your heart’s desire. And if you have a problem that seems very hopeless — know that there’s probably a group, meeting, hotline, or program for people battling the same troubles as you. Reach out and get help.
- What am I impatient about? For me, it’s becoming a full-time writer and then traveling the world. And I know I’ll get there. But when progress feels slow, I wonder if I need to go get a college degree, change jobs, move cities, SOMETHING to prove I’m not stagnant and not going to be standing here in one place forever. If this is you, and you are doing something that should have the payoff you’re looking for (a breakthrough in job, becoming your perfect weight through a diet) then I suggest you give yourself a place and time in the future to re-reevaluate that one goal and decide if these small steps aren’t adding up to something big. For example, I’ve decided to write three new amazing things then look at whether I need a different day job, education, what-have-you. Until I have those three novels or plays in front of me, I won’t worry about how long I’ve been at my day job while ‘planning’ to become a full time writer.
- What’s on my ‘bucket list’? One of the things about this year is I’ve talked to some older people I know who never have done the items on their bucket list and now wonder if they’re too old. While I’m a total believer in doing as much as you can as long as you can, it is easier to climb a mountain in your 30s or 40s than your 70s. Whatever your age, part of the un-fulfillment you might be feeling is because the big things just sit on a distant horizon and never get any closer. You need to pick a before-I-die goal, pick a date (even if it’s a year or two out) and start planning, saving, and/or training for it NOW. Our lives are short and precious, leave nothing important undone.
- Why am I asking this question now? You Google-searched for this question (or are just a fan or friend of mine) — why? Are you fed up with the way things are going? Have you been trying to make changes but still feel far from your goals? The important thing is to feel empowered — this is a great moment. As soon as you start really looking at your life, you may get depressed, scared, and feel hopelessness. But the important thing to know is that this is an important first step that some people never take. You are now officially on the road to your dreams.
- Am I ready to be bold? There’s a saying, “Are you really happy or just really comfortable?” You have come to this place by your choices; some parts of your life work great and some need to be switched or fixed. But if you are at the point of knowing you need a change, then realize you really have nothing to lose. Start by cleaning your house and giving some things away, then make that bucket list plan, then start seeing what parts of your life make you happy and what things need to go. Envision your dream and walk toward it.
Update: Please visit my site ‘How To Come Alive‘ if you’d like to learn the 25 things that have helped me most in achieving my dreams.
And check out the tab at the top of this website for resources that just may change your life.
Lastly, after you have asked yourself the right questions, you’ll have to ask one more: What the heck do I do now? This follow-up post answers that.
26 thoughts on “How to Reevaluate Your Life”
I am at the worst time of my life’ I need a massive re evaluation
I am single and 5 months pregnant I am unemployed for the past 10 months lost my home family work and my best friend to suicide 3 months ago and this is my first step in changing my life
Wow Lynda, I’m so sorry. Please know that the saying ‘This too shall pass’ has always been very true for me. When I suddenly lost my mom I thought life would never be good again but I was very, very wrong. I hope you too, in time, will be able to look back and feel grateful for how much better your life has become.
I think you’re very brave and that I hope you know just that first step is something a lot of people can’t do, and that just beginning now is an amazing leap toward a better life.
If I can help in any way or if you just want someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to email me — Katherinecerulean@gmail.com. I hope things are improving every day for you.
“Because you are alive, everything is possible.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
I’m curious to find out what blog platform you have been working with?
I’m having some minor security issues with my latest website
and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any solutions?
It’s called WordPress, it’s free, and it works well for me. I don’t know how secure it is if someone really wanted to break in, but I’ve had no problems in the 3 years I’ve used it.
I am a 58 year okd grandma who is moving to Florida to live…i mean really live. I’m afraid of letting family down but i need this. Change is scary.
I want to know more! What does ‘really live’ mean to you? And why now?
I commend you! Making a big change is scary — but SO rewarding. Stick with it and keep me updated!
This is a wonderful post that I found by googling reevaluating my life. But now I will be reading the rest of your blog.
Hi. Thanks so much for your kind words! If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Have a great day!
Wow! Some really interesting points and ideas. I am a 47 year old male. My biggest problem in my life is employment. I have been very unstable the longest I have ever had a job is 4 years. I have never had a job that after a few months I was still excited to go to work everyday. I have been a failure at most jobs I have tried. I have been a welder, mechanic, fast food,assembly, walmart among others. in the last 30 years I couldnt tell you how many jobs I have had over 200 probably. I am in college right now trying to get a degree in computer science. I dont know if this is a good fit for me. I have been lost like this all my life. I have done counseling and different meds but nothing seems to help. Im stuck in life I just lost the home my father left me I couldnt make the payments and I feel like crap. Thanks for the article hopefully something in it clicks and I can become a productive person.
Hi James, Your story really spoke to me. I’m sure it’s been really challenging for you on your journey. I’m sure it’s really presumptuous of me, but I can’t help but think the reason you haven’t been content with mediocre is because your destiny is something really special. C.S. Lewis said ‘If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.’ It sounds like the world has told you you need to ‘fix’ yourself with meds and the like and then get back to the business of making money and being a cog in the machinery and it seems like your soul, your spirit isn’t having it — like you know there’s more to life than this. Some people go their whole lives without that realization. Not that any of that makes your life easy right now, but I do hope you keep looking and find your true path. To me, your story is fascinating — you’ve seen so many more jobs and situations than average people — and you haven’t given up and you’re still searching. I think you should consider sharing your story, either with public speaking (especially to young people), with a blog, or a self improvement book. There’s another quote I love that says ‘It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.’ And while there’s many great things about life here, I do think using money, property, and success at a job you hate are all very unhealthy ways first world countries measure a life well lived. So keep fighting, keep looking, and don’t beat yourself up for having a spirit that won’t allow you to settle. I truly think something great lies ahead for you — keep searching for what you love. Feel free to email me if you want to stay in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello. I also found this blog by searching “reevaluate your life”. Everything in the previous comment is also true of me. (Longest I’ve kept a job was 2 years, not counting marriage) One thing I can say about job-hopping is I’ve learned a very wide variety of skills and random knowledge. This is a good blog and I bookmarked How To Come Alive for reference. Most of what you wrote there I already “know”, but it’s good to have a place to go to be reminded, when you find yourself drifting away back into unhappiness. The pressure to “Succeed” and make a lot of money and win prizes and admiration is constant, wearing, and sometimes terribly hard to resist. Thank you for your good writing and for putting it “out there” for other seekers. Love, Jeannine.
Thanks for your kind words Jeannine. It is odd how much weight our society gives to the ‘success’ of ITS choosing and how little weight it gives to living the happy life of our own choosing. I think it’s incredibly brave to keep striving and keep looking for your path and what fulfills you. I’ve certainly learned that every random bit of knowledge I’ve acquired has gone on to help me somewhere else in my life. Keep seeking, Love Katherine
i have played realm of the mad god for 600 hours and all I have in my vault is a ogmuf and 2 jugs my life is spiraling out of control and I don’t know how to fix it 😦
Maybe you could team up with some others players and go fight in the Gods of the Realm (volcanic area near the middle) to get some better loot. And then maybe you could take a day off and go explore a stare park (in RL) in your area and just kind of think about you things make you happiest and how to incorporate more of the good stuff into your life. You never know what epiphanies you’ll have! Good luck on all your quests.
Can I write you? Like separately?
Thanks for the article btw I know it was 3 years ago but it helps.
I am very unhappy. And can’t really get a good grasp of what’s bothering me anymore. The emotion affects my job almost instantly. So I have assumed this role of being colder and have emptier responses to emotion rather than giving it some time. This is all because my career is one of the most important things in my life. I’ve been through the never ending annoying feels of the corporate ladder and I’ve fought very hard to earn the positions in my resume. Personal life is nuts I struggle with my sexuality, have difficulties with my family and the way they decided to respond to failure. And work, honestly. It used to be the best. But I’ve had horrible people around me that have the ability to ruin it for me. I admit to have a very strong personality and having to deal with the little problems here and there but that’s not what makes me miserable. Is the lack of empowerment in upper management and how little I feel sometimes. College is not interesting anymore. I feel like I am very unprepared at least mentally for a lot of the f’ed up things that life has for you. I don’t know what rock bottom I’m hitting or if I’m close to a free fall but it doesn’t feel sane it doesn’t feel healthy. It does not feel right.
Wow, Jonathan. Thank you for writing to me. I’m sorry that several things feel a little (or a lot) overwhelming right now.
Honestly, most of the more helpful thoughts I’ve ever had have ended up on the website, so you might poke around a bit and see if there’s any other posts that speak to you and your predicament.
That said, I’m happy to help in anyway I can. First up, feel free to free to me at email@example.com anytime you like — if you have a question or just want someone to talk to. I know just being able to talk about one’s problems sometimes helps.
I’ve never had the kind of job you do but I did have a period when my “day job” (non-writing job) felt very much like you’re describing. The worse feeling was that things were wrong and yet I felt stuck there and so did feel lost and “cold”. At that point, talking with my sister, we agreed things couldn’t (and shouldn’t) continue on in that way. I decided to give it two months and then start looking for another job.
In my case, things did change for the better within those two months. My boss left and I got a much better one — I hadn’t realized how much one bad boss was messing up an otherwise good situation. Is it possible the lack of control you feel comes down to one or two dis-empowering people you work with? Is it possible moving to a different company would make you happier if you enjoy the work itself?
The reason I want you to feel free to talk to me (and/or seek out support groups online to talk with about your sexuality and family issues) is because I do think it’s damaging to you and your soul to lose that emotional connection to your life. Even for myself, earlier this year I had someone breakup with me and it upset me so much that I didn’t want to date anyone or feel anything like that again. But that “shut-down” feeling is also very soul-crushing and only hurts you in the end. What you want to learn how to do is how to stay open to the world.
It sounds like your soul is fighting back and awaking you to the fact you’re unhappy where you are. This is actually a really great thing. It means you’re strong and self-aware, and have the potential to make your life anything you want it to be. I know it’s a terrible place to wake up and find yourself in, but trust me, it’s so much better than sleepwalking through life.
Based on the little bit of info in your note, I think the first thing you need to do is get a little space and time — even a long weekend can help. I feel like you need to go someplace peaceful and remote (maybe out in nature) and spend a couple of days taking care of yourself, doing things you used to love or that used to move you, and reconnect with the great, awesome, ALIVE person who’s sleeping — but never dead — inside you. What are you really good at?
Then really sit down for a couple of quiet hours and write out a description of your ideal life, goals about how to get there, and steps you can take this month to move toward those goals.
It sounds like your life has been so busy that you have awoken at the end of a dead-end street with no idea how you got here or how to get back on track. The good news is that you can always U-turn and then you’re suddenly headed in the right direction! I know from experience that even a couple of days or weeks of being “on track” can make life feel full of possibility and potential again. You obviously have a lot of talents and abilities, and a desire for a world full of love and acceptance. Never settle for less. Start seeing yourself as amazing and deserving of the best, limit your time with non-supportive people, and just get away from it all (for even a day) to start to remember who you really are and all you have to offer. Let me know how I can help.
I just want to say, I found this site AFTER taking the first step to answer item 10. I decided to leave a secure job which is making me feel unfulfilled and unhappy.
It’s really scary, but instinctively I know it’s the right thing to do.
I may revisit this site time and time again. Fingers crossed I won’t need to often, but it’s good to know all the excellent advice is readily accessible.
Congrats Rosa! A lot of people never get brave enough to change their lives and find where they belong! I’d suggest you also check out the link for ‘How to Come Alive’ — that site has the life lessons from my first 35 years. Hopefully it will help you too. Hope everything leads you on an amazing journey of discovery and just contact me if you ever need a pep talk! Also, I’d suggest buying ‘The Success Principles’ by Jack Canfield — it changed my life!
I’ll check it out now
I have been reevaluating my life after my daughter left home for college. My life revolved around her and now my life seems empty. I am looking into myself to find out my likes and dislikes and reorient my life around. Your blog is beautifully written and help me think about my own priorities in life. Thank you.
Hi Sonia! Thank you for your kind words.
I’ve taken a lot of inspiration about the next step in my life (and how to live it) from the ladies in my writing organization. This ’empty nest’ time can be a wonderful new beginning — or new careers, travels, hobbies, service, and more. I especially think that new experiences are a wonderful path forward. Check out sites for education traveling and places like the https://www.folkschool.org/ for inspiration. Let me how your journey progresses!