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What do I Want?! 5 Tips to Find Out What You Want Out of Life


It’s not just big life decisions that pickle our brains; the endless options in life can feel bamboozling. Do you ever find too much choice feels paralyzing? I admire those who breeze through life knowing exactly what they want. These people come across as assertive, comfortable in their skin, and with a strong sense of self-knowing. 

Do you say “I don’t mind” too often? People who know what they want have often endured a challenging journey to get to their level of self-assurance. Which means there is hope for us all. We can all become more authoritative in what we want. We can all live our lives with greater confidence in our choices.

This article will outline what it means to know what you want. It will also suggest 5 tips to help you know what you want.

What does it mean to know what you want? 

Every day we contend with 35,000 choices!

Even just typing that feels exhausting. And if you don’t know what you want, you may make choices that don’t work out particularly well for you or waste time deliberating over your options. 

Knowing what you want comes from a deep sense of self-knowing. 

Knowing what you want means living true to yourself and your yearnings. It is about following the path that suits you and dancing to the beat of your own drum. 

Someone who knows what they want is determined, focused, assertive, and in tune with themself. 

The benefits of knowing what you want

When you know what you want, you live your life by this and optimize your chance of happiness and contentment. 

Those who know what they want steer their life toward their goals. And they can establish life goals because they know what they want. Can you see the pattern here? 

Your level of satisfaction in all areas of your life improves when you know what you want. The following areas benefit from knowing what you want out of life: 

  • Career. 
  • Romantic relationship. 
  • Personal life. 
  • Hobbies. 
  • Friendships. 

People who know what they want exude confidence and positivity. This confidence can be magnetic to others. 

I’d go as far as to say the people in my life who are clear about what they want are also the best at asking for their needs to be met, putting up boundaries, and not wasting time on rumination.

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5 ways to know what you want

Throughout life, our likes and dislikes change, so our wants will also change. Considering our propensity to change, it is important to revisit our wants and check in with ourselves regularly. What we wanted last year may differ from what we want today. Nothing is set in stone. 

When you know what you want, you live with intention and purpose. Are you ready to invite these positive accolades into your life? 

Here are our 5 tips to help you know what you want out of life. 

1. Be curious  

You must stay curious and try new things to figure out what you want. If you don’t know what is out there, how can you possibly know what you want? And sometimes, knowing what we don’t want helps us define what we want. 

You can learn to be more curious by reading our article on “How to be more curious.” In it, we suggest 6 key ways to increase your curiosity levels: 

  • Question yourself. 
  • Ask more questions in conversation. 
  • Give yourself a 180. 
  • Stop your assumptions. 
  • Make an effort to learn daily. 
  • Read and read some more. 

Staying curious exposes us to new information and opportunities. This exposure helps broaden our mindset and serves to strengthen our certainty in the choices that we make. 

2. Stay authentic

You can’t live your life for anyone else. What you want may be different from what your partner wants. This is ok; there is often room for compromise. But remember, some things can not be compromised. 

I have known my whole life I don’t want children. I experienced crippling pressure from my ex-mother-in-law to have a child, to give her a grandchild. If I had surrendered to the pressure, I would have betrayed myself entirely.

Knowing your true authentic self makes it easier to identify what you want. Follow your values and embrace your passions. Explore your own inner yearnings and honor yourself.

If you want to know more, here are 5 tips to help you be more authentic.

3. Be honest

You must be honest with yourself if you genuinely want to know what you want. And then, you must be honest with other people. 

Sometimes what you want clashes with what someone else wants. Remember what we said before - you can’t live your life for someone else. 

When I was a child, my dad wanted me to be into sailing and other watersports. I tried sailing, and it wasn’t for me. I had very little interest in my dad’s hobbies. My heart belonged to my horse friends, and I wanted to spend all my free time with horses. The important lesson here is honesty. I was honest with myself and honest with my dad. 

Yes, he was disappointed that I wasn’t following in his footsteps, but I was not responsible for his happiness. Remember, we are only responsible for our own happiness. 

4. Listen to your yearnings 

Are you moving too fast even to notice how you feel about things? Are you living your life in a perpetual frantic busyness? If so, it’s time to slow down to hear your inner voice. 

Only when we give our mind and body space can we learn to decipher the messages from our souls. Clear a bit of space in your schedule and quieten your internal vibrations. A few things that may help with this include: 

  • Yoga. 
  • Nature walks
  • Mindfulness. 
  • Meditation. 
  • A hot bath. 

Once you have calmed your energies down, reflect and tune in. Can you hear your internal yearnings? This environment lends itself to questions about what you want. 

5. Take risks

Sometimes we need to throw caution aside and jump right in. The fact is, we may not know what we want until we have it. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I didn’t think I wanted one until I found myself on a date with my now fiance. 

Life is full of risks. If you teeter on the edge of the pool, too frightened to jump in, you will never know how fun swimming is. 

Say yes to random dates, heck, initiate random dates. Put yourself out there to be rejected. Apply for new jobs, and train for physical challenges that scare you.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, we've condensed the information of 100's of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

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Download Our FREE Mental Self-Care Cheat Sheet!

Thrive under stress and crush your goals with these 10 instant tips for your mental health.

Wrapping up

The only way to find out what you want is to get to know yourself. Part of getting to know yourself is living a full and adventurous life. Our wants and needs develop and change over time, so stay tuned to your inner yearnings.

Is there anything you do to help you know what you want? What's your favorite tip to find out what you want out of life? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Ashley Kaiser Writer

Physical therapist, writer, and outdoor enthusiast from Arizona. Self-proclaimed dark chocolate addict and full-time adrenaline junkie. Obsessed with my dog and depending on the day my husband, too.

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