I don’t Know What I Want
Some people have found that using the “Why is that. Most of the clients I have worked within my professional life as a therapist has wanted change. But for many of them, they were constantly frustrated because they didn’t know what the change was that they were looking for. They didn’t know what they wanted – they just knew they wanted something better.
This can be a massive issue for people who pass from year to year without any sense of direction. They go around and around in circles in their minds, trying to find the answer. I have had clients in tears of frustration because they just can’t decide what they want. Some people go through their entire lives in this miserable state.
I have come to realize that there can be different reasons why people find themselves in this situation. The first reason is being overwhelmed. This happens when so many need fixing in someone’s life that they are mind-blown about where to start and end up taking no action at all. They are bewildered about what to prioritize. Imagine having multiple fires burning in your life, but having only one bucket of water. Which fire should you put out? What about the rest?
I’ve found this is usually the case with people I have counseled for self-destructive behavior. Let’s take excessive gambling as an example. They learn to stop the compulsion to gamble, but then find that they have to get on with dealing with the trouble the gambling had caused, like debts, broken relationships, lost housing, and ruptured careers. These clients often find they are frozen by indecision. They have ended their self-destructive behavior, but they still have multiple fires burning in their lives.
Another situation might be where a client has already achieved a goal, and this has left them directionless. A common situation I have encountered, for example, is where someone has worked for years for retirement. This goal has kept them motivated and given their life meaning.
Then the golden day comes when they can retire,
For a few weeks or months, it’s wonderful they can do what they lace. But then they realize that they need a goal once more, but simply can’t decide what. In the past, they didn’t have to think about it. The goal was clear retirement. Now they can’t find anything which gives them that same compelling drive, and they miss that.
Other clients I have worked with have had their lives turned upside down by a sudden change in circumstances, such as unemployment, or relationship break-up, or a medical condition that has meant the person can no longer do what they used to. It leaves them feeling directionless and lost.
If you are one of those people waiting for that magical day when the clouds part and your true meaning is revealed to you like a blinding beam of sunlight, you might wait a long time. You might die waiting.
But there is a fix. In this chapter, I shall explain some different strategies that I have seen work for many clients. Take a look at these and see if there is one that can help you in your life.
For instance, if you are on a diet and your feet are walking towards a pizza restaurant, are you about to step off your Path? If you have decided to stay out of the life of an ex-partner, why are your feet walking down the street where he lives? When you have resolved to go for a run every morning and your feet are still in bed 20 minutes after the alarm went off, are you still on your Path? Have you resolved to have a booze-free month, why are your feet walking down the alcohol aisle at the supermarket?
You should decide before you start on your Path, whether it is appropriate to take rest days, and if so, when. If you are following a fitness program, then rest days are usually part of the program. If your target is work or study-related, then having days off would be healthy.
I am giving myself weekends off from writing this article to keep my mind fresh, so I only do my Daily Action on weekdays. But if you are on a diet, you should decide whether you are going for it 100% or if you will have days off, and you need to do this in advance; otherwise, you might be dishonest with yourself about your motives.