Identifying Your Desires

40 Questions To Identify What You Really Want From Life

In This Article: How To Identify Your Desires?

The people who get what they want in life do so because they put in the effort required to understand what it is they want.

Have you ever sat down with friends over drinks and tried to set the world to rights? You raged against world hunger, talking about how awful modern slavery, human trafficking, and the wage gap are. Yet, when it came time to come up with real solutions suddenly no one really had anything to say. It is easier to complain than it is to problem solve. 

It’s a good example of what we do in our own lives. We rage against certain aspects of our lives, but we don’t have a solution to deal with it. We recognize everything that is wrong but can’t put our finger on what it should look like instead.

Why? It’s quite simple. We don’t recognize what we really want in life. We just get hung up on the negatives with no way to produce a satisfying result.

If you want to get what you want, you have to know what you want. What do you want from your life?

Do you have a vague idea? 

Are there bits and pieces that are clear to you, but you aren’t sure how it all comes together? 

If you’re ready to commit to bettering yourself, then you have to clarify your desires. 

40 Questions To Determine Your Desires

You can identify what you really want in your life by sitting down and asking yourself the following 40 questions. 

You might want to grab a pen and paper to make a note of your responses. It will allow you to reflect on each of them, either at the end of this exercise or as you answer each of them throughout. Some of these questions will elicit an immediate response and some may require deeper thinking. The important thing to remember is that you should be honest in every response you make. 

1| What beliefs do I hold that might be holding me back?

It takes courage to question your beliefs and call yourself out when something doesn’t feel right. We all have ingrained behaviors. Some of them will be positive, but others will be guilty of holding us back. You would be doing yourself a disservice by not asking questions to find a better way. 

2| What is my favorite hobby?

A hobby isn’t just about relaxing and having fun. It’s an indicator as to what you seek out to bring happiness and enjoyment to your life. You can move yourself closer to your true calling by making time for the things you enjoy. 

3| What are my greatest talents?

Do you possess skills and traits that make you stand out? If you were to ask five work colleagues what you’re great at, what would they say? If you were to ask five family members the same question, how would they respond? Now, if you ask five of your closest friends, what asset(s) would they identify as your biggest? This is a good exercise to carry out, especially when you get the perspective of people who see you doing different things in life. It will help you shape your dreams and transform your life. 

4| Who do I enjoy working with?

It doesn’t have to be specific people. Rather, it can be the type of people you enjoy working with. For example, you may enjoy a team that can complete tasks you can’t. You seek balance. Or, you might want people who do the same thing as well as you so that you’re driven to do better. Allow your intuition to guide you on this subject and seek out those types of people in your working environment. 

5| Where do I do my best work?

Is there a setting or environment that you feel most productive in? Do you shine in group meetings? 

Do you prefer to work quietly in your office and maintain focus to achieve as much as possible? 

Wherever you do your best work, that’s where you should try to spend the majority of your time. 

If you work somewhere that forces you into a setting you hate, you have two options. You can speak to your boss about it and see if there’s room for change. Or, you can find a new employer who does offer you the environment you thrive in. 

6| What am I passionate about?

What makes you happy? Genuinely happy. Once you have identified your passions, you should go out of your way to do them as much as possible. When you have done this, you can move on to the next question. 

7| How can I turn my passion into my position?

There’s a massive difference between pursuing passions to serve a hobby and getting paid to do what you love. If you, like most, are trapped in a job you despise, then you need to find a way to take that passion, turn it into action, and make it your career. 

When you want something enough and you’re willing to take the required action to make it happen, then you can achieve whatever you want in this life.

8| What do I find inspirational in life?

What inspires you? What drives you forward? Are there books that inspire you? Is it websites that light your fire? Friends, family members or music? When you learn to harness your inspirations, then you can rely on this daily. 

9| How do I motivate myself into action?

Inspiration is wonderful. It is, however, separate from motivation. How do you motivate yourself to trigger positive change in your life? If you don’t know how to do this, then you will remain frozen in place.

10| What do I dream about?

Your dreams are an excellent source of truth. They often uncover the truths that we have difficulty seeing in our waking hours. If you have no idea what you dream about, try to maintain a dream journal. This will keep a record of your subconscious thoughts. Write down what happened in your dreams as soon as you wake, whether it’s the morning or in the middle of the night. Analyze it for signs of what’s going on in your subconscious mind, you’ll never know what you find. 

11| What have I overcome in my life?

The majority of us have faced some type of obstacle. Even the smallest obstacles can feel massive when we are unsure of how to proceed. Don’t take it for granted. Think about the obstacles that you have overcome. 

What better way to inspire and motivate than to remind yourself of how amazing you are having come this far. You can do anything you want, look at what you’ve already achieved! 

12| How do I respond to what others are saying about me?

Do you react negatively to the words that others speak about you? Do you seek those people out and confront them? Sometimes even the people closest to us can do harm with the words they use. 

What’s important to understand is that the words that others speak about you do not define you. What does define you are the actions you take, the thoughts you think, and the words you choose to speak. Don’t forget it. 

13| Why am I here?

Do you want to know how you can identify your life’s desires and transform your life? Answer this question. What do I think my purpose is? It’s deep, yes, but it’s important. It’s okay if you don’t know that answer at this very moment, you’ll find it. 

14| Who do I look up to?

You should seek inspiration in the people you admire. Despite the bad in the world, there are plenty of leaders, dreamers, and heroes (past and present) that can inspire you to live and to do better in this life. 

15| What weaknesses do I possess?

No one is perfect. It’s easy to forget that, especially when we become focused on bettering ourselves. You can better yourself. What you can’t forget is that it’s okay to have weaknesses. It’s okay that you’re not perfect because no one is. When you identify your weaknesses, you can improve on them. 

16| What goals do I plan to achieve?

What do you want to accomplish in this life? Your goals should drive you; they should drive your action.

17| How am I going to accomplish them?

Speaking of action… without a plan, your goals are effectively meaningless. When you have identified your goals, you should write down clear action steps that will ensure you achieve them. 

The majority of people don’t complete this step, but it’s the difference between failure and achievement. 

18| What am I grateful for?

You can find something to be grateful for every day. It’s important that you express that gratitude and show it. Say please and thank you. Pay it forward. Show gratitude for what you have and complete random acts of kindness regularly. 

19| How can I be better?

We all experience problems in life. You can accept the circumstances you are dealing with and find a way to improve and overcome them. Or, you can give up. Do you look in the mirror and hate your body? Find a way to improve your diet and create consistent exercise habits. 

Do you hate your job? Find the positive points to improve your enjoyment of it, learn a new skill or seek a new employer. 

20| How can I improve the world?

The most important part of this exercise is to determine your ultimate goal. What steps can you take to improve the world? If you don’t yet know the answer, that’s okay. 

Just look at all of the answers you have given to previous questions and you should be able to form a response. You are an incredible person and you are capable of doing amazing things. Don’t take your gifts for granted. 

21| What is true of me now that would make my former self cry? 

What did you love to do as a child? Did you write stories for hours? Did you draw your days away? When we do these activities as children, we do them because they bring us joy. Rarely do we think about our sharing all of these things with others. We just do it because we love it. 

At some point, you just stopped. How would your former self feel if you could travel back and tell them you just don’t bother doing those activities anymore? 

It’s not that unusual to lose touch with the things that we enjoyed in our youth. Sometimes we grow out of them and move forward. However, sometimes peer pressure, social pressure, professional pressure squeezes our passion out of us. We fall into the trap of thinking that absolutely everything we do has to lead to rewards. It has to serve a function. 

Guess what? Hobbies bring you joy, that’s the function they serve! That’s also a reward of sorts. You don’t have to do things that only lead to a paycheck. Sometimes getting back in touch with your sense of play is the best way to discover your passion. 

22| What makes me forget to eat?

Are there activities that you tackle and then in no time you realize you forget to grab lunch? Or, you skipped dinner and missed bedtime, too? When Isaac Newton was in his prime, his mother would constantly remind him to eat because his work absorbed him for days. 

It’s easy for that to happen when you play a video game, read a book or sit down to write. Of course, there are habits (like video games) that you may not want to indulge for that long when you can spend this time more wisely. 

Sometimes, the key isn’t in the activity itself but the habit or skill that it represents. For some, video games are attractive because you can see the change. You can watch yourself get better at a game. 

Games have stories and incredible graphics, and that’s cool. They weave a story around activities that you have to complete. You compete with yourself (and others). It isn’t always the video gaming itself that draws you in, it’s what it represents. 

You can apply that need for competition and improvement to anything in life. Whether it’s writing, playing an instrument, teaching, problem-solving, or organization. 

The point is, you can’t just look at your activities and assume that because you enjoy video games that you should try to be a professional video gamer. You need to look at the cognitive principles underlying the activities that enchant you. Those principles can be applied elsewhere. 

23| If I was forced to leave home every day and it had to be for the entire day, where would I go? What would you do?

Routines can play a positive role in your life, but they can also be our greatest enemy. We fall into the trap of distractions, trying to convince ourselves everything is fine. Passion stems from action, it isn’t the cause. Discovering your desires and passions is a trial and error process. You can’t know your true thoughts and feelings on an activity unless you go out and do it. 

So, if you were forced to go out every day and you could only come home to sleep, how would you occupy your time? You can’t go waste the day at a coffee shop sitting online. Put television out of your mind, it no longer exists. 

Useless websites, video games, and similar distractions also no longer exist. So, what would you do? Where would you go? Would you join a book club, attend a dance class, pursue a different degree, jump out of a plane, help others, invent something? 

24| If I was going to die in a year, what would I do today? How would I want to be remembered? 

No one likes to think about death, it’s scary. It can be advantageous to think about death, though. There is a practical advantage in considering our mortality because it forces us to focus on what’s important versus frivolous distractions. You need to dig deep to answer this. You can’t be vague. It’s all about thinking about your life differently, re-evaluating your priorities. 

What would your epitaph read if you were to die today? 

What would you like it to say? How big is the gap between the two and what can you do to change your legacy? 

What stories do you want people to tell at your funeral? 

How would your obituary read? It isn’t about writing a story that impresses everyone else. It’s about understanding what you truly value and want to impress on the world while you have the chance. 

If you don’t know what values that you hold dear, then you will feel miserable and likely attract unhealthy relationships. 

Discovering your purpose, understanding what you want from life is finding something that’s bigger than you are. It doesn’t have to be a great achievement. It should be a way to wisely spend the limited time this life allows you. 

25| What have I accomplished so far?

Think back on your experiences in life so far. What are your proudest moments? If your life was turned into a highlight reel, what would it look like? What accomplishments stand out? How do they make you feel? Amazing, right? Emulate those feelings and experiences. If you felt amazing after training and running a marathon, then why not do it all over again? If you raised a highly successful child, why not act as a mentor for children? Do things that fulfill you. 

26| There are no limits, what will I do? What will I have?

The world is your oyster. So, if life had no limits, what would your life look like? Who would you hang out with? 

Where would you spend your time and what would you do? Imagining that you have total freedom might help you focus on what you really want. It removes obstacles and limitations and lets you think big. Forget what you believe to be impossible and think about what you’d like to pursue. 

27| What do I dislike?

Part of determining what you want from your life is assessing what you don’t want. What do you hate? Think about your current job and consider what you hate about it. Likewise, what do you dislike about your life? Do you hate sitting through endless meetings? Does it bother you that your personal life is lacking in social connections? 

You can’t change your life without taking action and you can’t take action unless you know what direction you’re heading in. 

28| How hard am I prepared to work?

Nothing in life comes easy. So, how hard are you willing to work to get what you want? It’s going to take effort. It likely means putting in additional hours. It will mean stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning new things. There is fulfillment in traversing the journey, the pursuit of what you want in life is just as enjoyable as getting it

29| What topic or subject could I give an hour-long presentation on with no preparation?

Is there something you’re so passionate about you could easily stand up and give a public presentation on it without doing any preparation? 

30| If you no longer needed to sleep at night, how would you spend your extra time? 

You now have all the time in the world – what would you do with it? How would you use those hours and to what benefit? This should give you a bit of insight into what you really want in life. 

31| How did you decide to spend your life as you have been? Why? 

What do you do right now? Did you pursue a degree and follow a career path that stemmed from that? Did you stumble into your career? What led you there and why? It’s an important factor to consider. Often, we feel pressured by others to pursue certain paths and it makes us miserable. 

32| What stresses you out the most right now?

What areas of your life create the most stress for you? How does this stand in your way from identifying, pursuing, and achieving what you want in life?

33| Is there something you have long dreamed about doing? What is it? What has stopped you from doing it?

If you could have done absolutely anything in life, what would it have been? Why haven’t you done it? Has something stopped you from doing it, did you change your mind, or did you just give up? 

34| What event or place transformed the way you think? Did it change your ideas or perspectives? Did it make you feel alive in a way you haven’t experienced before?

Have you been through an experience that changed the way you think? What happened and how did it influence your perspective? How did it make you feel alive? How can you replicate this in a bid to get what you really want in life?

35| When people seek you out for help or assistance, what is it they normally ask for?

A really great way to identify your strengths is to look at yourself through the eyes of others. So, what do people ask you for help with? They come to you for things, what is it? Is it something you can leverage and use to progress your wants in life? 

36| What was the biggest turning point in your life?

What event in your life has been the biggest turning point? Why? What did it teach you? What have you taken from this event and how can it assist you going forward? 

37| What do you love now, even though it’s something you assumed you would never like? 

We evolve as we get older. Our wants and needs change as we get older. So, what is something that you love now, and you could never have imagined you would? It may present with you some insight into how you’ve grown and changed over the years.

38| It’s impossible to fail. What are you going to do?

It’s much like having an endless amount of time, but in this case, you can’t fail. So, if you know that you can do whatever you want, without the risk of failure, what would you do? 

39| What regrets do you hold about your past? What things do you wish you had done but didn’t? What’s holding you back from doing it now?

Are there points in your life where you wish you’d taken a different path? Are there things you should have done, but you didn’t do? Why can’t you do it now? What’s stopping you? If it’s a regret you hold, then it must be something you’re still passionate about or interested in. So, what are you going to do about it? 

40| Have you felt lost in life before? How did you find your way back to the right path?

We all deviate from the path during our lives. It’s easy to be derailed. It’s common to lose sight of what we want. In the past, how have you found your way back to the path when you’ve lost your way? 

This is something you’ll want to keep in mind and draw from if you deviate from your path again. 

More importantly, it highlights the importance of identifying what you really want in life and creating a plan of action to help you get there. 

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