Are you looking for fulfillment? Are you searching for a sense of accomplishment? Of course you are! Everyone is. We all want to achieve certain goals in life, but that requires knowing what it is you want. Whatever you put into your life, the results will reflect that. But first, you must determine specifically what you want, not what other people or influences lead you to want.

Needs come first.

A white posterboard with a red border contains a sparkly red heart. Within that heart is the phrase “Love is all you need.” The posterboard is placed on a shadowy red backdrop.

Alright, we don’t want to get too scientific, so we’ll make this part brief. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we all have needs that must be met for our survival. First we have physical needs like food, water, sleep, air, and so on. Once those needs are met, we must meet our needs for safety and security: shelter, resources, property, etc.  

After those requirements for security and safety have been met, we focus on relationships (romantic, professional, and personal), which are constant upkeep. While we are maintaining those relationships, we’ll begin to establish our feelings of self-worth and fulfillment. However, without knowing what we want from life, it’s difficult to build our self-esteem and feel like our actions are significant or meaningful, which leads us to our next question … 

What are you looking for?

A person stands in front of four large windows, looking out at the rainy coastline with binoculars.

When asking yourself, “What do I want?”, consider what brings you joy, fulfillment, understanding, and meaning. Take the time to discover what actually makes you happy. Many people feel significance from focusing their actions and efforts on improving the lives of others. For example, if you think you have something to share that can benefit others, then by all means share it!  

When you struggle to figure out what you want, it helps to create a list of what you don’t want and the things that upset you or go against your values. Once you find a topic that you feel strongly about, go toward that. Fight for what you believe in, and you’ll head in the right direction.

Are trends or expectations clouding your judgment?

Oftentimes, our outer influences cause us to believe that we want things other than our personal desires. For example, when a new phone comes out, so many people feel the sudden need to go out and buy it when their current phone works perfectly fine. This instance would be considered following a trend. The same happens when new movies come out and people go watch them because of the discussions that surround the film. In cases like these, we forget to ask ourselves, “Am I doing this for myself or to be part of the discussion or be part of the group?” 

Continue looking for what you want by ignoring societal expectations. Don’t do what people think you should do. Instead start setting your own expectations and do what you think you should do. Since this can be difficult when there are endless ways to be influenced, try putting your focus on the leaders in your life. Look to the successful and impactful people who share your values and ask them for guidance when you feel unsure of your next move.

What brings significance and meaning to your life?

The seat of a bench has the phrase, “Take a little time to think,” written on it within a blue rectangle.

At the end of the day, we’re all left with the same thoughts. “Did I do it all? Am I satisfied with what I’ve accomplished? How did I impact others, today?” And here’s the thing—you can’t do it all. What’s more important is that you feel fulfilled. 

Significance and meaning are brought into life in several ways, and it’s different for everyone. What one person finds fulfilling won’t necessarily be fulfilling to the next person. Figure out what actions and goals mean the most to you and bring significance to your life. Here’s a list of meaningful activities to kickstart your search: 

  • Learn a new skill or trade. 
  • Fight for a cause you care about. 
  • Make valuable connections with people. 
  • Be generous. 
  • Practice gratitude. 
  • Overcome challenges and obstacles. 
  • Accept change in your life. 

If these actions aren’t enough for you, and you need more to find significance in life, check out the rest of this list. It doesn’t matter what action you decide to take, so long as it’s meaningful and you’re doing it for you!

Do it for you!

A blue neon sign reads, “Do what you love.”

Once you’ve taken care of what you need and can focus on what you want, there’s no telling where you’ll find fulfillment in life. Sometimes the simple things are the most significant, and sometimes finding meaning is a bit of a struggle. Keep pushing forward and know that you choose where each day’s purpose lies.

If you’re feeling like life is lacking meaning, it’s time to create a vision and a plan for your future. It will give you a whole new sense of purpose!