Feeling Lost? Here’s What to do when you don’t have a goal

In this podcast episode (and blog post), I’m sharing some thoughts on what you do if you don’t have a goal at all. Contrary to what you might have heard, the solution is NOT to push, dig in, or force a goal. This episode (number 50) is part of the Goals Series on the podcast. You can read the post, or listen in the podcast player below.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Today I’m going to answer the question, “What do you do if you’re in a place where you don’t have any goals?”,

  • Maybe you wonder what the point is of even making a goal?
  • Maybe you’ve tried to make goals in the past and they haven’t worked out.
  • Maybe you just have a bad taste in your mouth about goals in general.
  • Maybe the idea of setting a goal feels almost torturous, like your whole body contracts when you think about it.

And if that’s you, first of all, I want to say everything is okay.

Don’t worry.

I’ve been in that position many times.

The reason I’ve gotten to that position and gotten to that place is because I’d been pushing so hard for so long, and at some point it just feels like, I’ve got nothing left to give.

And so if you’ve been working towards your goals for a while, it is possible that what you need now more than ever, isn’t actually to set another goal.

What you need now, more than ever before is to have a goal of doing nothing.

To have a goal of intentional resting and nourishment, a period of time where all you’re focusing on is tuning back into your body, tuning into your intuition, and asking yourself, what do I want to do in this moment?

So often we make the mistake of making a goal because we think we have to do something or we should do something instead of, because we want to do something.

And when we set a goal based on “have-to’s” or “should do’s”, often what happens is we burn out – which means we’ve got like nothing left, no gas left in the tank.

And so of course when you sit down and you’re like, okay, I’m gonna set a goal, and like nothing comes out and you have no, like nothing to give, that’s a sign it’s time for rest.

I was just Googling (as I do often before recording these podcast episodes).

One of the top results on Google said, “If you don’t have a goal, you need to sit down and think of a goal”.

And I just laugh a little bit because I think that’s just so unhelpful.

Unless you’re in a place where you have the energy, it’s a matter of feeling. How are you feeling about it?

Are you feeling like, uh, I don’t have anything?

Or maybe you’re feeling like you’ve got something to give. You’ve got gas in your tank. Maybe you just want to know which direction you want to.

Those are very different situations.

And identifying which one you’re in right now is going to be so supportive for you.

Also, I would argue that whichever one of those situations you’re in the answer to, like, what’s next? What do I do now? The answer lies within you.

The answer lies within you.

Like, how does it feel when you think about doing X versus Y versus Z?

  • Do you need a day of just sitting around and watching movies?
  • Do you need a spa day?
  • Do you need some time in nature?

Making a joy list

A joy list?

You guessed it. A joy list is all about joy.

Step 1 – List Your Past Joyful Experiences

You make a big list of all the times in your life, specific situations, specific events and experiences that you’ve had where you’ve felt excited and joyful and happy, and whatever other words are aligned with those in your brain. And you make a big ole’ list.

Ask yourself: Can you add more of these events or experiences?

Step 2 – Dig A little deeper

The deeper question though is what’s the unique “shade” of joy behind each of these experiences?

You’ll likely have common themes that are gonna be pulled out of this list.

You might find that the common emotional thread in these memories have one of these emotions in common:

  • Adventure
  • Excitement
  • Connection
  • Community
  • Friendship

Once you’ve identified the underlying emotion (or emotions), now it’s time to add in activities that give you that emotion (this doesn’t necessarily need to be the exact same experiences on your original list).

When we feel numb to the idea of setting a goal, when we feel like, “I don’t wanna do this”.

When we have nothing left to give, when we’re tired and stressed and we don’t wanna do anything, that is the time to refill the tank, my friend.

And we do this by finding those activities & experiences where we can feel these feelings that have really filled us up in the past.

For me, the common emotions that I’m continually drawn towards are excitement and connection.

It might be something slightly different for you.

And a beautiful thing about the brain is that words mean something slightly different in your brain versus my brain.

And so for me, excitement might mean one thing, and for you it might mean something else.

Once you’re able to tune in, start nourishing yourself, filling yourself up and feeling this positive emotion, you will naturally feel more motivated.

You will naturally be gravitating towards doing more.

And that is what is going to pull you out of burnout.

Nourish Yourself Out of Burnout

I am not talking about like the physical nourishment that’s needed.

Of course we need that.

Give yourself real food, get some sleep, nourish your body, take care of it. Everything’s connected, you know. Take care of all the other parts of you too.

Find activities that light you up and bring you joy.

And it will come, it will naturally happen that you will start to have more hope.

You will start to have more ideas.

You’ll start to be more future thinking, more forward thinking.

I know because I’ve lived this. I’ve had so many times where I felt this big pressure to set a goal. And whenever I’ve forced myself to set a goal, I just end up further, deeper, deeper in burnout.

Conclusion

So if you’re in that place where you’re just not ready to set a goal, and nothing in your body wants to set a goal, that is a sign that is time to nourish.

So, here’s what I want you to do.

Do this “Joy List” exercise, find those emotions, and add more activities that help you feel those emotions.

And when you do, share them with me over on Instagram.

I also want to invite you to join the waitlist for Beyond Burnout.

I know enough to know, and I’ve experienced enough to know that everything is connected. The way you treat your body, your physical body, the way you treat your mental body, the way you treat your spiritual body, your energetic body, all of these things play together. And if you have struggled with goals in the past or you’re just not ready to make a goal right now, figure out what needs lifted up, boost it up, and do that inside Beyond Burnout.

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