Last month, I was driving through the Catskills upstate when my phone ran out of battery.
I suddenly became uneasy. It was late, it was dark, and without my phone, I had no idea where I was going.
So I ended up driving pretty much aimlessly until I found a gas station where I was able to purchase a charger.
When you don’t have direction in life, you’re essentially driving without Google Maps, going in circles.
You become lost, you waste time, you lose opportunities.
Sometimes, you only realize things need to change by the time it’s too late.
In this article, I’ll go through the common daily habits of people who lack a sense of direction in life.
Let’s get to it!
1) You procrastinate excessively
My dad suffers from chronic procrastination–something he labels “a disease.”
At least he’s self-aware.
He has never reached his full potential because he’s constantly putting things off until the last minute.
Even his relationships have suffered as a result of his procrastination.
Things like quality time or fulfilling promises are always painstakingly delayed until the other person involved is turned off completely.
When we have direction in life, we tend to feel motivated to get moving, to get shit done.
This is because we have a defined set of goals.
We wake up every morning with a clear purpose in life, a state of mind that is reflected in our day-to-day habits.
2) You scroll mindlessly
I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that social media has made our tendency to procrastinate collectively worse.
Think about it: it may well be the easiest thing in the world to pass the time by mindlessly scrolling through reels.
And all of us are susceptible to this affliction. Especially people who have no direction.
The other day, I realized I was scrolling through Instagram for about an hour before I gathered the resolve to snap out of it.
It was as if I was in a trance.
There was minimal thinking involved; I was just scrolling past reel after reel after reel, post after post.
The next thing I knew, I was late for a meeting.
When you have a lack of direction in life, aimless scrolling can take up a significant part of your time.
No responsibilities, no guilt, just switching from app to app, getting up to date with the latest viral memes.
Soon, your entire day has passed, and you realize you blew a disproportionate amount of it on your phone–something that reinforces feelings of emptiness and a lack of fulfillment.
If this sounds like you, it’s a relatively easy fix.
First step: put your phone down.
3) You have poor, inconsistent sleeping habits
We should all be able to sleep in every now and then. A bit of R&R can go a long way.
However, if you consistently sleep too much or too little, you’ll feel sluggish during waking hours, which will affect your motivation levels.
Maybe you have the habit of regularly staying up late doing God knows what, or maybe you enjoy sleeping until noon, or both.
If so, something needs to change.
You’re a grown-up now.
I don’t mean to sound like your boomer uncle here, but having a sleep routine really does matter in terms of productivity and mood. It’s science.
So take this as a cue to start developing a sense of structure when it comes to your sleep routine. You’ll thank me later.
4) You have no set routine
In my 20s, there was a period of a couple of years where I had no concrete direction.
This meant I’d wake up and essentially do nothing for the majority of the day.
I had no routine. I struggled to find a purpose, content with just coasting through life.
I’d eat whenever I wanted, I wouldn’t work, and I’d exercise sporadically.
For the most part, I’d idly sit on the couch and blankly stare at the TV screen.
I have to say, it was a pretty depressing time for me.
Being unemployed is one thing, but having no semblance of a routine is another level of emptiness.
Drifting through life is easy to get used to because we literally don’t have to lift a finger. All we have to do is exist.
Sure, creating a routine may take some effort initially, but I promise you that once you make the shift, you won’t look back.
5) You have an unhealthy diet
It’s true what they say: you are what you eat.
If your diet primarily consists of chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, soda (yes, even diet soda), and Skittles, this can be concerning.
It’s now common knowledge that a bad diet can affect your energy levels, mental health, and overall wellness.
Regularly neglecting your nutrition means you’re not taking care of yourself.
When I eat poorly, my body feels it; I get hyper-acidic, I feel bloated, and my morale drops.
I often become demotivated to get on with the day, and end up lying in bed, feeling bad about myself.
If we’re not careful this can become a toxic cycle: you eat poorly, you feel bad about yourself so to ease the discomfort, you self-medicate by eating more.
Once you realize the power of food, physiologically and psychologically, expect some drastic improvements in your life.
6) You rarely leave the house
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our habits, that we end up feeling stuck, imprisoned by our own behaviors.
One of these limiting behaviors is the tendency to rarely leave the house.
When a lack of direction is prolonged, we get so comfortable that anything that requires even minimal effort becomes daunting.
We might find ourselves staying indoors for days on end, unwilling to get dressed and engage with the external world–as we simultaneously bask in comfort and waste away.
Living in a digital age makes staying cooped up at home exponentially more realistic and doable.
We can get all our necessities conveniently delivered to our doorstep anyway, so what’s the point of going out, right?
Wrong. This mentality can ultimately be damaging.
Try to get out of the house, even if it’s just to the grocery or the park.
7) Your personal hygiene has suffered
Once we get used to solitude for prolonged durations, we naturally begin to lose the desire to impress anyone–a habit that
extends to the occasions when we do actually have to interact with others.
When we lack direction, this can develop into apathy towards ourselves; something that can manifest in a neglect of personal hygiene, appearance, and grooming.
Maybe you’ll start dressing sloppily, or never put on deodorant, or rarely comb your hair, or shave, or floss, or maybe showering has gradually become a foreign concept.
We’re effectively announcing to the world and to ourselves, “I’ve thrown in the towel! I’m going to stop trying”
This shouldn’t be. Start taking pride in yourself and the image you project. Good things will follow.
8) You’re detached from family and friends
My brother was in a rut earlier this year.
He was in an unfulfilling relationship, he was earning peanuts from a dead-end job, and he was drowning in interest.
He had no concrete goals to chase. He was merely existing.
He chose not to reach out to others.
In fact, he went off the grid almost completely–something that spiraled into a further lack of meaning and direction in life.
In my opinion, this was completely preventable
Remember, no man (or woman) is an island.
Going through a crisis? Having other loved ones present in your life you can fall back on is crucial to the recovery process.
In life, we often need others to uplift and motivate us to get back in gear.
By voluntarily staying in solitude, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
9) You are constantly feeling bored or restless
I’ve heard this statement countless times in my life–and more often than not, the phrase is muttered by people who lack direction.
These people may have the desire to engage in new and meaningful activities, but they don’t often follow through.
Instead, they just live day-to-day feeling perpetually restless, like there’s a constant void in life.
Rather than doing anything proactive about their situation, they’ll just claim “boredom”.
From my experience, the greater the direction you have in life, the less bored you feel.
When you have direction, most days are filled with purpose and excitement, not stagnation.
Though it’s never too late to change, the sooner we come to terms with these bad habits the better.
Many people are content to remain in denial.
Not you though.
The fact that you’re reading this now is a step in the right direction.
You recognize and own up to the uncomfortable truth that there is a problem.
So consider this a turning point, a chance to steer your life back in the right direction, regain purpose, and reignite passion.
You have it in you. Don’t let up.