How do you know if you’re following the wrong path in life? Our path in life is often set for us since childhood. We have to finish school, go to university, find a good corporate job, earn a lot of money, get married, buy a house, have children…
The list goes on and on. And yet, people are all different, and it seems unlikely that the same goals will work for everyone. Lots of people find their niche somewhere: they get a job in an industry that they love and end up being happy. But some of us reach a point where we realise that we need to turn our life around.
This can happen at any point, really. For me, it was the corporate job. But no matter how or when you start feeling signs that you’re on the wrong path in life, it’s important to recognise those signs. And let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds!
When all the people around you are telling you that you’re doing the right thing, it’s hard to admit to yourself that it might be all wrong for you. Changing your life isn’t easy when everyone thinks that you’re making a mistake.
Having been through it all, I want to share with you 9 clear signs that you’re on the wrong path in life. They focus mostly on education and career, but you can apply them to any area of your life, really.
You dread Mondays
Nobody loves Mondays. You have to get up early and work, which isn’t as exciting as relaxing and doing fun activities on the weekends. But normally, it’s just that – a slight unwillingness to get back to ‘real life’ after a time-out.
If however you absolutely dread Mondays, there might be a problem. There was a time when I started feeling depressed on Sunday mornings because I knew that I had to go back to work the day after. I couldn’t even enjoy half of my weekend. And that’s definitely an indicator that something’s not right!
There’s no balance between happy moments and bad days
While it’s normal to dislike your situation once in a while, there should be a certain balance between these bad days and happy moments.
Sometimes you love your job, sometimes it stresses you out or annoys you. But if your feelings towards a situation are always on the negative side, it’s definitely not healthy.
If you always feel unhappy, then your current lifestyle might not be working for you.
You’re constantly feeling tired and lack energy
A lack of energy can indicate a lot of things. But if you’re always tired and unmotivated for everything, it shows that something in your life is going wrong.
I used to feel exhausted all the time because my job sucked out all my energy. Going out at night was especially hard since I really needed to just relax at night in order to get through the next day.
The lack of energy is a sign that you need to change your job. Adapt your lifestyle. Get out of a bad relationship. Whatever it is, try to identify what aspect of your days is bleeding you dry and make a change in your life.
You don’t have any exciting short-term goals
No matter what long-term goal you’re following: it should always consist of smaller, short-term milestones. Right now, I’m working on making my freelancing career successful and sustainable (long-term goal). To do so, I have various little projects that I want to accomplish in the months to come (short-term goals) that I’m quite excited about.
Yet when I was working at a corporate job, I didn’t have any of these. My goal was to have a successful corporate career and make decent money, but I had no idea how to get there from where I was. I didn’t want a promotion, I didn’t want to find a similar job at another company… I just stayed where I was because it seemed like the logical thing to do.
If you don’t have any short-term goals that make you feel excited, the long-term goal you’re following might not be the right one!
Thinking about your end goal doesn’t make you happy
Going through hard times on your way to your goal is normal. You can’t be happy every step of the way, and sometimes you need to work hard and cut back on leisure time.
The crucial thing is: you need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re in the middle of your exam period at university, you’re probably not loving your life. But you know that once you’re done, you’ll get a diploma that will allow you to get your dream job.
But imagine your dream job doesn’t require a diploma or requires a different one. Chances are that in this case, thinking about your goal (getting said diploma) won’t make you very happy, because it won’t bring you closer to what you really want.
If you’re unhappy with your life, you might simply be following the wrong goal.
Your mood worsens drastically at the end of every vacation
Of course, it’s sad when a vacation ends. But it’s also exciting when you go back to a project you believe in.
If you’re in a bad mood at the end of every vacation and can’t see any upsides, it’s definitely not a good sign. Just like dreading Mondays, it might be a sign that your current situation is not working for you.
You just try to get through the day
Do you know those days that you just want to get over with? It’s like going to the dentist: it has to be done, but you hate it and just want it to be over. And while it’s completely normal to feel like this sometimes, it should not be every day!
If every morning consists of waiting for the day to end, you need to make a change. It’s not normal to be unable to enjoy life! After all, our time on earth is short and you should be able to make the most of it.
Imagining your life in 5 years freaks you out
Close your eyes and imagine what your life will look like if you keep going in the same direction. How will it look in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?
If you’re on the right track, you’ll probably get excited. If I keep following my current path, I might be travelling the world in 5 years while working on projects I love (that’s kind of my dream)!
Yet if you’ve been following the wrong path in life, thinking about this might just freak you out. A year and a half ago, I would have had to imagine working the same (or similar) corporate job, staying at work from 9 to 7, and not having time for things I love. A sure way to hate life!
This exercise really is a clear indicator of whether you’re going in the right direction. You could also ask yourself what you would do if you had only 5 years left to live. Would you continue what you are doing now? Or would you make a change?
You would have no regrets if you left tomorrow
How would you feel if you left your job tomorrow? Or school? Or even your whole current situation?
When I moved away from the big city and my job, I knew that I would have no regrets. And I didn’t, not once. No matter how scary the change was, I wouldn’t have gone back for the world.
It’s rare to feel like this, though. Personally, I’ve always had regrets about leaving things behind: school, university, friends, cities I’ve lived in, my old apartments, even my dorm room!
Having no regrets means that you have no reason to stay. So if you know that you would have no regrets if you left tomorrow, you should definitely think about making a change in your life!
All in all, remember that it’s normal not to be happy all the time. But if you
Just take some time to figure out what you would really love your life to look like. Even if you think it’s impossible (it probably isn’t). And then make a change, no matter how scary it is. Even failure is better than not even trying, and it’ll be well worth it in the end!