The Missing Piece in your Self-Development Journey

You don’t really know what you want.

Katy-Rose, MSc
Mar 15, 2020 · 5 min read

It’s hardly a secret. Yet, there’s a kind of shame attached to it.
You don’t really know what you want.

You have a ‘stable’ life: perhaps a steady job, somewhere to live. Maybe even your life looks perfect from the outside. But you don’t feel good. You set the same goals without feeling you are improving yourself.

You feel lost. Overwhelmed. Maybe you’re doubting your own decisions, or feel torn between the ‘shoulds’ of real-life. Perhaps you’ve made some progress towards the life you think you want, but life got in the way.

And here you are: going through the motions again. It’s easily done, especially these days.

Photo by Dimitar Stevcev on Unsplash

But no matter how frustrated you feel, how much you might tell yourself “this is the last time I try,” you can’t give up on trying to reinvent your life. It’s an inner drive you just can’t stop thinking about.

And now you’re here, reading this. You have an idea, but not the concrete steps. When you go to plan out a change, you hit obstacles. You struggle to focus, feel you need more information, or your mental health starts to dip.

No fear. Let’s take a look at the first steps to reinventing your future, without burning yourself out, throwing your whole life away, or ruining your mental health in the process.

Ready? Let’s do this.

1: You know more than you realise.

I know that doesn’t sound particularly helpful, at first glance. However, it’s the foundation for everything moving toward self-improvement, changing habits and reinventing yourself.

We spend a lot of time, energy and money on seeking out answers from others: advice, courses, knowledge, studying… But without knowing what we already know, this is often not the missing piece you think it is.

Now, it’s not your fault that you don’t know, because from the youngest age we are taught that the world exists a certain way. We learn about things that are meant to give us joy. We learn the ‘shoulds’ of our lives.

‘Knowing’ what you want isn’t a 100% logical, practical process.

And we are not taught how to find out our truth. Or to even question it.

Which brings me to the next point…

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

2: Get Curious about your Life Context

You may have heard of this one, with different phrasing. Notice the things that often get missed: the way you feel, the way your body responds to events, and the things which fire you up or make you feel mentally drained. This is a mixture of paying attention to ‘clues’ and then following them to see where they lead.

  • When you have a shower versus a bath, what do you notice? Does one relax and one rejuvenate?
  • When you think of two options for lunch, do you find yourself leaning toward one before you consider cost and time? [Hint: sometimes, it’s the healthier option!]
  • If you’re asked out on a Friday night, pause and consider what you’ll be saying ‘no’ to if you agree to go out [For example: reading, long bath, cleaning before the weekend, dinner with your cat.]
  • Keep an eye out for “unusual” responses: feeling drawn to nap when you normally only sleep at night, or being pulled into a shop you normally wouldn’t frequent.

Why is this important? Because ‘knowing’ what you want isn’t a 100% logical, practical process. Part of it comes from feedback in your body and emotional responses too.

When I began finally paying attention to those little ‘cues’ I realise the threads that had woven together to become my current life. Or, at least, the bits I liked.

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

3: Consider your Theme

Another experiment is to consider what themes you’ve already been living. Go back to your childhood: what did you enjoy? What got you passionate; either angry or excited? When you’ve made decisions, and picked directions at crossroads; what was it that swayed you?

In my experience, I remember “teaching” in the playground - I was a natural mentor. Even from the age of 7 or 8, I had a steadfast sense of honour, which I think I must have gained from reading so much fiction. No one else in my friends or family seems to view the importance of honour and integrity quite like I seem to. If I look at my favourite films and types of fiction books; they all have honourable, strong female characters. Often, in a leadership or coaching role.

And if I stretch my reflections to my physical resume, my dayjobs have all been in mentorship, support, running group programmes, teaching life skills, or learning situations.

So looking at your life choices, your resume, your dreams as a kid or your hobbies… what themes come out? This is a compass worth following.

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

I could go on, but really, these three steps give us a starting point.

A surgeon plans out a surgery. An architect and builder makes plans. A physician tailors common knowledge to an individual person.

And yet… We rarely plan out our day-to-day life. We don’t tailor our experiences. Some of us pick goals, we pick landmarks but the journey itself is mostly a reaction to the drama around us.

You don’t really know what you want, because you didn’t know you could ask.

I’m here to say that we can all design our lives, and it doesn’t need to feel so damn hard.

If you’d like a free roadmap on these steps, pick up the First Steps to Reinvent Your Path here.

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift…

Sign up for Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

By Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Create an epic life with us - the latest in mind science, inspiration, spirituality, and health. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Katy-Rose, MSc

Written by

Melding Neuroscience & self-help to teach curious lifelong learners to redefine their resilience, personal growth, and sense of control.

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift your thought, so you can see real change in your life and health.

Katy-Rose, MSc

Written by

Melding Neuroscience & self-help to teach curious lifelong learners to redefine their resilience, personal growth, and sense of control.

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift your thought, so you can see real change in your life and health.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store