Sometimes, we wake up and realize that the path we’ve been going down isn’t the right one for us.
I remember, when I graduated college and realized that the degree that I spent 4.5 years getting and now working as an Accountant in, wasn’t for me.
I started dreading going to work and feeling this pit in my stomach telling me there has to be more.
I don’t think I’m alone on this either.
In a survey from 2017, 33% of Americans said they were happy– which means that 67% claim they are unhappy.
We have one life and while some unhappiness from time to time is normal, it doesn’t need to be a permanent state.
But getting out of that slump can feel hard. I find, as cliche as this sounds, journaling helps me get out of a slump.
Whenever I start to feel down on life or that I’m not moving fast enough or in a direction I’m happy with, I ask myself these 5 questions and journal on the responses.
Prefer to listen to this in podcast format? Here’s a recent 6 minute episode that cover this exact topic.
A few “rules” for this journaling exercises:
- Be ultra specific and dig deeper
- Use the 5 Why’s. When you find a response that comes up, ask why 5 times to get to the core of it
- Write what you feel, not what you think you should feel
- Be okay with destroying your journal exercises if you responses make you feel uncomfortable
- Put your phone away, shut your door, and give your journaling your sole and undivided attention
- Try to keep all of your journaling exercises focused on one specific problem at a time. Don’t intermingle relationship problems with financial problems with career problems. Everything is figureoutable, but try to follow one of your issues all the way through the exercises
Questions To Journal On
- What is currently upsetting me?
I like to journal on this one little problem at a time. If there is a plethora of things that I’m unhappy with, I will journal on each of these problems individually to see if there is any overlap. For example, if you are upset because your coworker is a jerk… dig into why they are upsetting you. Most likely it’s 100% about you and not really about them. When we try to control other people, we are often most upset.
- If someone waved a magic wand and gave me my dream life, what would that look like? What would that look like?
Be specific. What time do you wake up in the morning? What time do you go to bed? Who do you go to bed next to? How do you feel about yourself every day? The more specific and clear you can be on your dream life, with the respect to the problem that is currently upsetting you, the more likely you are to fix the situation or your view on the situation.
- What’s stopping me from taking action?
A note of this- saying fear or being unsure of what to do is not a good enough excuse (this is why we have Google, YouTube and podcasts). IMO- Fear is a cop out answer… go deeper. If fear comes up, use the 5 Whys to get to the root of what you are actually afraid of. Being afraid of looking like an idiot can be solved through boosting your confidence (via taking action). Being afraid of going bankrupt and moving in with your parents can be an irrational fear because most of us can intervene before it gets to that extreme level. But still, go down that rabbit hole and be honest about what specifically you’re afraid of.
- What’s one small thing I can do to take action towards one goal for the next 90 days?
There’s power in focus and in the small action steps that compound over time. Instead of looking at your all of your goals and trying to accomplish them at one time, focus on 1 goal that you can focus on for 90 days. Here’s how this might look, if the thing that is currently upsetting you is feeling like you hate your job and what’s stopping you from taking action is you are scared to make a change and afraid a career change will decrease your income, the small action step you take everyday might be applying for one job every single day, or send an email to 1 person every day for an informational job interviews to tour the company, learn what a day in the life of that position looks like and quickly build your network. Think of how differently your life would look like if you did this every day for the next 90 days.
- How can I “taste test” my dream life to see if I would actually enjoy that?
Sometimes the things we think we want are actually not what we expect. If you are looking at your life and think that living downtown in a condo would be the coolest and that your current suburban house is not making you happy, then you can taste test the downtown condo life. Maybe you save up some money and rent a condo for 2 weeks off of Airbnb to see if it’s actually something that you would enjoy. I tried taste testing my dream life of working from home in my business before I actually did that full-time. I took a couple days of PTO from my 9-5 job and worked from my home office to see if it was actually as great as I thought it would be. Turns out it was… and here we are. 🙂 But I certainly could have been wrong and that was a very small scale test to see if was what I thought it would be.
I’m confident if you take the time to work through these questions and journal in great detail, you will start to work through your current slump and get back on track for a happier life.
Cheering you on,