Very Excellent Habits

How To Figure Out What You Want In Life

How To Figure Out What You Want In Life

If you’re struggling to figure out what you want in life, trust me you’re not alone.

It’s kind of scary because there are so many things you could do. Be a forensic scientist, a jewellery historian, a dentist, a pattern maker, a physio therapist, a ballet teacher. I mean the world is just full of incredible careers, it’s borderline rude that we have to just pick one.

I’ve had a few careers in my time. I’ve worked in childcare, retail, hospitality, bars and theatres. I’ve been a teacher in high schools, disability schools and primary schools. I’ve been a copywriter and content creator for the last ten years. I’m a qualified jeweller and watch technician. Career hopping is one of my vices which means I’m uniquely qualified to tell you this secret. It doesn’t actually matter WHAT you do with your life and what career you choose, the conditions matter more than actual job. Hear me out. This is the true key to figure out what you want in life.

Remember 2020 to 2022 when almost everyone started working from home and everything though it was amazing? Those of us who had been working from home for a while were watching this wide-spread realisation and thinking ‘Well, der! Working from home is awesome’. We were like the long-term residents of a lovely coastal town that hadn’t been ruined by tourists or tree-changers.

I’ve knew for a REALLY long time how much I wanted to work from home, and I spent the better half of my youth focussed on being a work from home freelancer. (For those of you playing at home, I’ve been a work from home freelancer for about 10 years now. It’s ace.) 

Many moons ago, I used to be a special needs teacher. I loved the teaching part, all the admin and bureaucracy is what made me leave the profession. The paperwork was utter nonsense. Anyway, years ago, I was teaching two classes in the same week. On Thursdays, I taught at the main campus, which was a 35-minute drive away from my flat. The drive was awful. Really slow and the roads were packed with people who had no business holding valid driver’s licenses. I once a saw a man watching The Office on his iPad propped up against the windscreen. No shit. On Fridays, I worked in a satellite classroom, which means you have a room and your own students at another school, but you’re not really a part of that school. The campus was a ten-minute walk from my flat. Both of my classes were utterly gorgeous, but the Friday Satellite class was a little bit harder work. The Thursday Main School class made me feel like I shouldn’t even be paid to teach them, they were so fun and engaged. It would be fair to assume I’d prefer Thursday’s angels to Friday’s spirited bunch right? Wrong. As the term went on, I found myself dreading Thursday and breathing a sigh of relief when Friday rolled around. 

I couldn’t put my finger on it – my Thursday class was so lovely. My Friday class was also lovely, just a little unpredictable, which makes teaching even more exhausting. By the end of the term, I had it figured it out. Regardless of the work I did between the hours of 9 to 3, here’s the difference between the two days. 



Basically, the difference between Thursdays and Fridays was 3.5 hours of bullshit. Time spent in the car, useless meetings, exposure to time wasters. It was the EXACT SAME JOB, and I was paid the EXACT SAME AMOUNT for each day, but one of the days destroyed me, and the other left me feeling pretty dang satisfied with life. 

It was a very eye-opening experience. And look, I understand that not everyone has the option to switch careers or jobs because they don’t like spending an hour and a half in the car every day. Ditto telling your boss that three team meetings a week is excessive, boring and a major waste of company resources. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s just as important to look at what you DON’T like spending your time doing as what you DO like spending your time doing. 

So here are a few questions to ask to help you figure out what you want in life.

During lockdown, some people will have thrived working from home, and others were probably standing outside their office on the first day back, banging on the doors, desperate for some human contact. Some people may have enjoyed having extra time at home with their kids and might try to re-jig their work-life to include more time spent at home. Other’s might have realised how much they enjoy working and relished the opportunity to get stuck back into it. 

Lockdown was an odd little gift. A way to experience a different way of life, and a fantastic opportunity to look at what really matters to you. 

If your goal is to figure out what you want from life, here’s what you have to do. 

1. Spend some time figuring out what you love 

This should be pretty easy. It’s generally a list of all the things you miss doing OR the things you’re loving doing during lockdown. 

Here’s my list. 

2. Say no to everything that doesn’t support what you listed above 

Within reason obviously. We need to work, we need to pay our bills and put money on the table. I’ve worked HEAPS of jobs that destroyed my soul because I needed the money and it’s likely I will do it again at some point. 

Just think carefully about what’s important to you. If you don’t mind commuting, but you’d like some extra money, take that job that’s a little further away. If you want to be home for your kids in the holidays, try to get a job with some flexibility if you can. If you love to travel, take that job that requires several interstate trips a month. If you love spending time with your family on special occasions, be wary of accepting a position where you might have to work on public holidays. 

More helpful articles.

13 Food Hacks That Will Save You Time and Your Sanity 

10 Baby Essentials I Can’t Live Without

So tell me did this help you figure out what you want in life?

Also if you liked this post you’ll probably really like my newsletter Very Excellent Habits – it goes out every Wednesday and you can sign up for it here. 

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