How to figure out what you want

As you know, decision making is hard for me. I go back and forth about all of my options, future trip, and exhaust myself almost every time I have to make a choice of some kind. It’s not fun, and I’m working on it.

Today, I was listening to  the Lady Lovin’ podcast while taking a walk around my neighborhood and got a wake up call on how important it is to answer this question that impacts our decision making greatly:

What do you want?

The topic of this particular podcast episode was money, and the amazing Nicole Lapin emphasized how important it is for people to figure out what they want so that they can plan their finances accordingly. For example, if you want to have kids down the road, own that you want that, and factor it into your spending/savings plan (depending on your age) so that you have the money that getting pregnant/raising kids require. In fact, Nicole said that studies have shown that women who plan a narrative for their lives, i.e. a general, loose plan of their goals and when they want to achieve them, are more successful in accomplishing those goals.

Aside from increasing your success in accomplishing goals, answering What do you want? is pretty much the first thing you have to figure out when you begin any type of plan or program to improve any part of your life. For example, if you hate your job and want to find a new one, you have to figure out what you want, i.e. what type of environment you want to work in, the kinds of projects you want to do, your desired location, etc. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll either apply to a bunch of random jobs that may not work for you or you’ll stay in your current job because you don’t know how to move forward.

Full disclosure. I HATE thinking about What I want because I never know what I want…so I usually avoid answering that question in many areas of my life, specifically in dating, money, and career. But refusing to grapple with that question hasn’t really been moving me forward–it’s just kept me in the same place, with vague goals and hopes for my future, and little motivation to take action.

To help myself get clear on how I want to move forward in certain areas of my life, I’ve decided (yay, a decision!) to take conscious actions toward figuring out what I want. And I want you to join me.

Here’s a plan to help us figure out what we want:

  • Journal once a day for 10 mins. Let’s write What do I want? at the top of the page and let our pens move freely–no edits or judgement. Let’s just begin facing this question and seeing what’s inside of ourselves.
  • Acknowledge the areas of our lives where we make quick decisions with conviction. Food, body, and health are areas where I feel super comfortable and confident making decisions. It’s important to celebrate the areas of our lives that just flow and move forward–it gives us motivation and hope that we can experience the same flow in other areas of our lives, too.
  • Make a decision and see how it feels. If I can’t tell what my body wants to eat for lunch one day, I don’t stress about it. I just eat foods that I typically like and trust that my body will absorb the nutrients it needs, and give me a clearer answer about what it wants for dinner. I think we can do this in other areas of our lives, too. For example, maybe we’re not sure whether to go on a dating app, and we go back and forth about it forever. Let’s try making a decision to either yes, sign up or no, don’t sign up, and see how it feels for a few days. If we want to change our minds, we can. But actually making decisions gives us information we can use to make more decisions in the future, which eventually makes decision making easier.

I still hate the What do you want? question, but I’m seeing how crucial answering it is to moving forward in life. Let’s do this together, okay?