Are you stuck going through your daily routine on autopilot? Constantly feeling unfulfilled in life? It’s time to break the cycle and remind yourself that regardless of where you are in life right now, it’s never too late to start again, redefine your path, and start living a meaningful and fulfilled life.
For years, I was guilty of living my life without truly engaging with it. I would go through every day feeling disconnected, as if I was just watching the hours tick by without really participating. I followed the same patterns, stuck in a loop of familiarity and comfort that left little room for excitement or growth. This left me feeling so empty.
To be honest, it felt like I was existing but I was not really living. I was constantly going through the motions of life on autopilot, waiting for that “perfect moment” to start living fully without realizing that life was just passing me by. It took a real wake-up call for me to finally see that time is fleeting.
Life is by far too precious to waste in a state of just merely existing. I’ve learned that we can’t truly keep waiting for the perfect moment to start living fully because the reality is that moment may not even arrive, we have to start creating it.
I know that doing this is not always easy. Sometimes, just the mere thought of taking the necessary steps needed to reset our lives and make the change to live our lives more meaningfully and fulfilled can be so overwhelming and even terrifying.
This is certainly what I felt. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve chosen to stay and hold on to the known and comfortable regardless of how unfulfilled and unhappy I was because I was so afraid of embracing change and ending up failing or facing rejections and disappointments.
If you’re currently feeling this way, please know that the only real failure is by never trying at all. Regardless of where you are in life right now, please remind yourself that it’s never too late to redirect the course of your life toward something that brings you joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Know that you are so much more capable than you give yourself credit for.
We have to keep reminding ourselves to embrace the possibility of what could go right, instead of focusing on what could go wrong. In this post, I will be sharing the steps I took that helped me start living a happier and more fulfilled life.
I’m hoping that some of these steps will resonate with you and help guide you on your journey toward a life that is not only fulfilling but also authentic to who you are.
How To Stop Feeling Unfulfilled In Life
1. Learn To Live In The Present Moment
It’s so easy to get swept away by the worries and plans of the future, as well as the regrets and memories of the past. We often get so caught up in these distractions that we forget to experience, cherish, and live in the present moment.
I’m certainly guilty of this. When I was trying to bounce back from hitting rock bottom, I thought that the best thing to do was to focus all my attention on rebuilding my future and improving my life.
I thought that doing this would eventually help me find happiness and meaning without realizing that by constantly focusing on the future, I was missing the opportunity to find happiness, fulfillment, and meaning in the present.
I thought that joy and fulfillment were something I would achieve in the future, like a distant goal for me to reach. But this mindset only led to a continuous cycle of chasing after something that always seemed just out of reach.
It just left me feeling so empty and always looking for the next thing that might finally bring me happiness and fulfillment. Honestly, living in that constant loop was just keeping me so unhappy.
I’ve learned that finding joy and fulfillment are not just end goals. They are also experiences to be found in the process, in the here and now. We have to remind ourselves that every day holds opportunities for us to find joy and fulfillment, regardless of how small and mundane they may seem.
Learning to live in the present moment is not about being irresponsible and failing to plan for the future and it’s certainly not about ignoring the lessons of the past. It is about acknowledging that fulfillment doesn’t have to wait for some future achievement or milestone, but can be found in the everyday moments of our lives.
2. Set Realistic Goals
One of the things that helped me stop feeling unfulfilled in life is setting realistic and achievable goals. When I was digging myself out of rock bottom, I was at my lowest point and I wanted to turn my life around as quickly as possible.
I thought that the best thing to do to make this happen was to relentlessly push myself. I set all these extremely high goals, thinking that if I just continued to push myself to work harder, I could finally find the happiness and fulfillment that I was looking for.
But over time, I realized that doing this was actually doing more harm than good. It just made me so overwhelmed, exhausted and I was constantly tired and easily irritated. Setting such high goals also led to so many disappointments and frustrations.
Each time I fell short, my self-esteem and self worth would take a hit. Honestly, it felt like I was trapped in a vicious cycle. I set unrealistic targets, failed to meet them, felt worse about myself, and then set even more unattainable goals in an attempt to compensate. Doing this was just so debilitating and honestly, it just made life so much more difficult.
If you’re guilty of doing this too, please know that there is certainly nothing wrong with slowing down and setting achievable goals. Doing this doesn’t mean that you are not aiming high or that you are not ambitious.
I’ve learned that setting realistic expectations and goals is about giving ourselves the best chance to reach our dreams without getting worn out. It’s not about lowering our standards, it’s about setting a pace that is right for you.
We have to remind ourselves that fulfillment doesn’t only come from the achievement of grand goals, but from the sense of progress and personal growth that we experience along the way.
3. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Constantly comparing ourselves to other people is one of the greatest thieves that keeps us from finding fulfillment and contentment.
Growing up, I was constantly compared by the people that I loved to everyone around me. I was made to believe that I always had to be better, smarter, or more successful than others to be valued. I took this belief with me as I grew older, where I found myself in a never-ending cycle of comparison.
It seemed like no matter what I achieved, it was never enough because there was always someone doing more, achieving more, or appearing happier. I was so focused on how I measured up to others that I lost sight of my own goals, values, and the progress I had made. It was a constant battle with my self-esteem, and honestly, it took so much toll on my mental and emotional health.
Doing this did not only keep me from truly living my life, but it also kept me so unhappy and unfulfilled. If you’re guilty of doing this too, please know that your value and worth are not tied to how you stack up against others. Your worth and value are inherent.
You are worthy just as you are now, regardless of where you are in life. You deserve to live a life that is true to you, not one that’s constantly measured against someone else’s life. We have all different paths to take. We all have our own unique experiences, challenges, and achievements.
We have to keep reminding ourselves that one of the best ways for us to find true contentment and fulfillment is by focusing on our own path, embracing our individuality, and appreciating the unique journey we are on. It’s about understanding that our worth isn’t determined by external comparisons but by our own inner values and the richness of our personal experiences.
Here’s a great post from BetterUp on how to stop comparing yourself to others.
4. Practice Gratitude
Practicing daily gratitude is one of the greatest tools in helping us stop feeling unfulfilled in life. Truth be told, I have always assumed that daily gratitude was nothing but toxic positivity.
I know how easy it is to be grateful when everything in our lives is going smoothly but when we are struggling in life and everything seems to keep falling apart, finding something to be grateful for during that period just seems impossible.
One of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned when I was navigating the lowest point of my life is that if we only allow ourselves to focus on the problems and everything that is going wrong, we miss out on so many small yet significant things that are going right.
This is what happened to me. I allowed myself to be consumed by the negatives, by what I lacked or what I had lost, and it not only blinded me to the positive aspects that still existed in my life but also made me so bitter and angry and honestly, it just made me feel more defeated and hopeless.
I’ve learned that practicing daily gratitude is not about pretending that everything is okay. It’s not about minimizing the challenges that you are facing or invalidating the pain that you are going through.
It is about acknowledging that alongside the struggles, there are still aspects of life that can be appreciated, even if they seem small or insignificant.
Practicing daily gratitude is about finding balance. It is about recognizing that life is a mix of highs and lows. Taking the time to appreciate and acknowledge the good that still exists in our daily life, no matter how small, gives us a chance to breathe, gather strength and reminds us that there is still hope.
One of the things that really helped me with this was writing down things I was grateful for each day. I started by writing at least two things every day. Doing this helped me develop a habit of looking for the good in each day, however small.
While this didn’t magically solve all my problems, it did change how I approached them. It made things less overwhelming and somehow it made me feel more hopeful and fulfilled regardless of all the challenges that I was facing.
5. Set Personal Development Goals
Setting personal development goals is another great strategy that’ll help us stop feeling unfulfilled in life. I know that sometimes setting all these personal development goals can be overwhelming.
This is certainly what I felt. When I was just starting this journey, just the mere thought of taking all the necessary steps to achieve all personal development goals seemed daunting. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I was paralyzed by the fear of not being able to reach these goals.
Honestly, it felt like I was setting myself up for failure, and this fear often held me back from even starting.
The important thing to remember when you’re setting your personal development goals is that it’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. You don’t have to achieve everything all at once. It’s about making steady progress, one step at a time.
Another thing that really helped me was by being very specific about what I wanted to achieve. Like instead of just saying, “I want to reduce my stress”, I say this instead, “Practice 15 minutes of meditation every day”. Doing this makes the goals more tangible and less intimidating.
- 12 Powerful Steps To Take When You Feel Lost In Life
- 10 Powerful Ways To Let Go Of What No Longer Serves You
- 10 Small Ways To Make Your Life Better
6. Reflect On Your Values
It’s easy to get so consumed by the noise of life that we start to forget what truly matters to us. When I was trying to make professional strides, I was constantly swept away by never-ending deadlines and to-do lists.
I focused all my attention on achieving success, based on other people’s standards, without realizing that by doing this, I was losing sight of my own values and what I personally found meaningful.
This relentless pursuit just left me feeling so empty, drained, and unfulfilled. It took so much toll on my well-being and even on my personal relationships. By focusing solely on external achievements, I was actually neglecting the aspects that brought me genuine happiness and fulfillment.
It took a real wake-up call for me to realize that I needed to badly re-evaluate my priorities and reflect on my values. Reflecting on our values allows us the chance to reconnect with what is truly important to us.
It gives us the opportunity to pause and think deeply about what brings us genuine joy, satisfaction, and a sense of purpose. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions and answer them honestly.
Here are some questions to help you get started:
What are the non-negotiables in my life that I wouldn’t give up for anything?
What makes me feel fulfilled at the end of the day?
What moments in my life have brought me the most joy and satisfaction?
When do I feel most like my true self?
What would I do with my life if I had no fear of failure?
When have I felt the most discontent, and what was missing in those situations?
7. Embrace Change
I have always been terrified of change. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve chosen to hold on to what’s familiar and comfortable regardless of how empty and unhappy I was. For me, holding on to the known, even if it was so unfulfilling, seemed so much safer than embracing change and stepping into the unknown.
I’ve turned down opportunities that would have taken me down new paths, because they felt too unfamiliar. Each time, I convinced myself that I was making the right choice, telling myself it was better to stay with what I knew than to risk the uncertainty of something new.
It wasn’t until I hit the lowest point of my life that I finally realized that refusing to embrace change was doing me more harm than good. I realized that avoiding change hadn’t kept me safe. It only kept me unfulfilled and stuck.
I know that change can often be terrifying and daunting. Please know that it’s completely normal to feel afraid. Truth be told, I still feel this too but it was in embracing change that I discovered resilience, meaning, and fulfillment.
We have to keep reminding ourselves that embracing change in our lives is the key to unlocking new doors, discovering new aspects about ourselves, and an opportunity to experience life in its fullest forms. Change will always be part of life and I’ve learned that the more that we try to resist it and stay away from it, the more we are robbing ourselves of the growth and opportunities it brings.
It’s important to keep reminding ourselves that life is not static, it’s always evolving and one of the best ways to truly live and experience every moment of it is to evolve with it.
8. Live Authentically
In today’s world, it’s so easy to start living our lives based on someone else’s standards and expectations. We often fall into the trap of measuring our worth and happiness against what others consider as successful or important.
We start pursuing things and going after goals based on what we believe will gain us approval or validation from others. I have always been guilty of this. For the longest time, I have always assumed that for me to be worthy and for my life to actually mean something, I needed to constantly gain other people’s validation. I needed to achieve things or do things that society deemed impressive or successful.
It didn’t really matter if those things didn’t align with my personal values and desires. I was only concerned with creating this image that would gain me approval from others rather than living a life that was true to myself. And let me tell you, living that kind of life was so exhausting and mentally and emotionally draining.
Not only was it keeping me so unhappy and constantly stressed but it was always making me feel so unfulfilled and lost. Life is by far too short and too precious to waste it living a life that isn’t ours. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we don’t need other people’s approval and validation just to feel enough and worthy.
Please know that the only validation that you will ever need is your own. If we continue living a life that caters to the expectations of others, we risk losing our identity and the essence of what makes us truly happy.
Embracing our authentic selves and living according to our own standards is the most liberating and fulfilling path we can take.
9. Reflect On Your Past Achievements
Reflecting on our past achievements and milestones is another great strategy for helping us stop feeling unfulfilled in life. It’s easy to take everything that we have achieved and overcome for granted.
Especially when we are constantly looking ahead to the next challenge or goal, we can lose sight of the significant progress we’ve already made. Often, the reason why we feel so unfulfilled in life is because we are so focused on what we haven’t achieved or what we don’t have.
We tend to overlook our achievements and victories and easily dismiss every step that we have taken to achieve our goals. We then end up feeling so empty and dissatisfied, constantly chasing after the next thing that we believe will bring fulfillment.
That is why it’s so crucial to take a step back, reflect and acknowledge everything that we have achieved and all the setbacks that we have overcome. This process helps us to appreciate the journey we’ve been on, recognize our growth, and understand that each experience has contributed to shaping who we are today.
Please don’t hesitate to give yourself a huge pat on the back. You have gone through so much and it wasn’t easy and yet here you are, still standing, still striving. Please know that every challenge you’ve faced and every milestone you’ve achieved is a testament to your strength.
Celebrate these achievements and use them to fuel your motivation and drive to continue moving forward.
Let them be a reminder that you are capable, resilient, and worthy. They are your proof that even when times are tough, you can and will overcome. Use this reminder as a continuous source of inspiration on your journey toward a fulfilling life.
10. Don’t Be Afraid Of Making Mistakes
At a young age, I was made to believe that mistakes were a bad thing and that every time I would make one, it was a direct testament to my abilities and worth. So, I did everything that I could to avoid them believing that perfection was the only path to success and acceptance.
I took this belief with me as I grew older and I saw that society seemed to echo the same belief. Everyone admired those who never falter, those who never stumble or show any vulnerability. This only magnified my need to be perfect and to avoid making any mistakes at all costs.
But of course, that really wasn’t possible because the reality is that as human as we are, we are all bound to stumble, to fail, and to make mistakes but that doesn’t mean that we are no longer capable or worthy. By constantly being afraid of making any mistakes, I was keeping myself stuck, and unhappy and I felt so unfulfilled.
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve kept myself from going after what I truly wanted because I was so afraid that I would not be able to do it perfectly. If you’re guilty of doing this too, please know that you are so much more than the sum of your success and failures.
Your mistakes are not a testament to your value and worth. We are all continuously learning, growing, and evolving. Mistakes are a natural part of that process. They are opportunities for learning and growth, not signs of weakness or failure.
Know that mistakes are proof that you are trying. Embracing our mistakes, learning from them, and moving forward with this new knowledge not only makes us stronger and wiser but also leads us to a more fulfilling life.
So please set yourself free from the burden of constantly chasing perfection and avoiding mistakes. Give yourself a safe space to be imperfect, to make mistakes, to learn from them, and to grow into the best possible version of yourself.
Finding ways to stop feeling unfulfilled in life is not an overnight process. So please don’t hesitate to be kind to yourself along the way. Give yourself the patience and understanding that you deserve.
Know that what you are doing is incredibly important and valuable. You are taking steps towards a more fulfilling and authentic life, which is a brave and admirable journey. When things don’t go as planned, keep reminding yourself that every experience, whether it’s a success or a setback, is a part of your growth.
Stay resilient and flexible, adapting as you learn more about yourself and what brings your life true happiness, fulfillment, and meaning.
Remember that you have what it takes to navigate any obstacle. You got this and please know that I’m always rooting for you!