Ageing Well, Living Well Over 50s Lifestyle

Finding Focus when life lacks direction

February 28, 2020
Finding Focus when life lacks direction

I’m feeling a lack of direction at the moment. There was a time when I would not have mentioned how I was feeling, but I’m changing. For the last 5 years of blogging my aim has been to encourage and inspire others so how could I let my guard down and admit that I too have times when I struggle? I’ve since learned that my experiences – positive or negative – should be shared to inform and hopefully help others who are in a similar situation at any given time. I’ve learned there is no failure in expressing how we feel – good or not so good.

I posed the following question to the ST60 & Beyond Facebook Group this week.

I’m feeling a lack of direction at the moment. Do you ever feel this way? What is your tip to overcoming these moments?

The responses came flowing in and in fact, it was one post which seem to attract more commentary and participation than usual. I must have hit a nerve as it seems that I’m not alone in feeling a little adrift in life. The positive aspect was that many of the comments also provided some tips on how to overcome these times when life just seems off balance.

Cheryl, one of our FB members travels quite often and finds re-establishing a routine and adjusting to normal life in between can be difficult.

As a Health & Lifestyle Coach, I actually know what to do. but I’m much better at helping others to problem solve and take action, than I am at taking my own advice. As a Health and Lifestyle Coach, I’ve guided my clients to successfully achieve their goals and find purpose in their lives. But like you, I’m human and although I may have the answers it isn’t easy implementing them sometimes. I do find it comforting to hear the thoughts of others who are experiencing the same feelings. It confirms that I’m not alone and that asking the opinion of others and how they cope with situations is a great learning experience.

I’ve collated the responses and words of wisdom from my tribe and also included some of my own ideas for finding focus again.

Finding Focus when life lacks direction

1. ‘Spring Clean your Life’

Kathy from 50 Shades of Age, commented that she is feeling exactly the same way. Her tip was to Spring Clean your life, pick yourself up and get back on track. Currently, Kathy is looking a decluttering and simplifying her life and shares ways to achieve this in her post Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life.

2. ‘Get Back to Basics’

Linda commented that she also lacks direction at times and her go to tip is to get back to basics. She suggests to think about your whys, your how’s and your when’s.

3. Accept the feeling and try to go inward

Toni my friend and author advises accepting that feeling and try to go inwards. She suggests encouraging and supporting yourself, without the need to prove anything to anyone.

“My opinion of myself is the only one that really matters. I would never criticise myself for not feeling as if I have a direction”.

4. Keep moving forward

Lesley, suggested that what works for her is reminding herself that direction doesn’t matter as long as we keep moving forward.

If I keep moving forward there is bound to be a signpost!

5. Shutdown and Reboot

Marilyn suggested the ‘old computer trick’. When lacking direction she ‘shuts down, has a think and reboots’. Her advice is to switch off regularly to clear our minds of unwanted junk.

6. Focus on what is good in life

Jen tries to focus on what is good in her life rather than what she is missing. Her process is to refocus, organise her priorities in life and remember how far she has come. Her other advice is to

do things for you first then if there is time and room then spread yourself to others

7. Journaling, meditation and making a list

Jane, finds that although she has much to offer, she is having difficulty finding out how to do this. Taking time out to journal, meditate and list what she would like to do has helped. Try something, if something doesn’t work, cross it off the list. Slowly the way forward become clearer.

8. Find comfort in Quiet and Non-Productive days

Denyse from Denyse Whelan Blogs, finds that she loses direction when ‘not much is happening’. Taking time for Quiet and Non-Productive days actually brings some refreshment to her life and mind.

9. Take action

For me, taking action helps. Moving in the form of exercise, going for a walk or even getting stuck into the housework is productive and brings clarity to my mind. Sure, my direction might still be unsure but the ‘high’ from exercise or the satisfaction of a clean and tidy environment certainly helps my focus.

10. Talk it through

Talking things through with a friend, coach or mentor can certainly help mental stress and anxiety and also as a way to define what our thoughts are. As I mentioned above, my clients have appreciated the listening ear and the opportunity to discuss their thoughts in a confidential environment. I have several projects that I want to work on and am procrastinating because my thoughts are jumbled. Whilst running with a friend, we started chatting about my ideas and by the end of the run a plan was formulating for me to work on.

11. Defining your Core Values

Reflecting and defining your core values brings you to a place where you know what is important in your life and what to let go of. I revisit my Core Values Process to bring clarity.

What do you do to find focus when life is lacking direction?

Check out my Resources Library page for some goal setting and other tools which may help. If you are lacking direction or purpose and would like to work through the process with me, send me an email to sue@sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au I would love to help you.

Finding Focus when life lacks direction

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62 Comments

  • Reply Micihele Somerville February 28, 2020 at 04:25

    Thank you for this post. I think this is a common problem or need but I don’t always know many people who acknowledge it. I am a pastor and it is the beginning of Lent. But when I talk to some folks about re-evaluating, looking at your life, faith practices, other practices, etc. sometimes I get blank stares. Even apart from anything spiritual there are times of the year, when I rethink my hairstyle (or lack thereof) my wardrobe and other things. Thanks again for this timely post.

    • Reply Christie Hawkes March 1, 2020 at 05:13

      Me too Micihele. The change of seasons seem to inspire me to rethink various aspects of my life. I believe it’s a healthy exercise, even if the result of the thinking is I am happy with where I am and don’t want to change anything at this point.

      • Reply Michele Somerville March 1, 2020 at 09:39

        Yes, sometimes you don’t want to change anything, but the good thing is you do it, you think through where you are and explore the possibilities.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:22

      Oh I hear you Michele re the hairstyle and wardrobe! I’m going through that now – wanting a new look but not sure how. Although I don’t follow Lent it is a good time to re-evaluate your life isn’t it? Lovely to meet and let’s keep in touch. x

  • Reply Donna February 28, 2020 at 06:11

    Hi, Sue – There is great collective wisdom here. Thank you for sharing it., and reminding us that we are ALL human. Wishing you a great week ahead!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:24

      I always enjoy hearing how others might view a problem I’m currently having, Donna. There were some great tips but it was also comforting to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way. Have a lovely week. xx

  • Reply Joanne Tracey February 28, 2020 at 07:21

    All of these are fabulous tips. Tbh I feel as though I’m existing and ticking boxes at present and very little else. I need to stop or pause at some point and do the same.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:25

      At least you are halfway there by recognising what you need to do, Jo. The next part is actually taking action. You have quite a bit going on in your life at the moment so be kind to yourself. xx

  • Reply Toni Pike February 28, 2020 at 10:46

    What a great article, Sue – and what a marvellous list of ideas. Thank you so much for including me. I especially love the comments about taking the time to meditate, thinking about our core values and having some quiet time – we don’t have to fill our days with “busyness.” That is where the magic is found. Toni x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:31

      It is good to hear from other women in this situation and their thoughts Toni. I found the comments very helpful. x

  • Reply Debbie-Dabble February 28, 2020 at 22:42

    Interesting article, Sue! I have waited to retire for 40 years because I was stuck in a profession that i did not chose and did not want but because of the money I made , I chose to stay in it to support my family as I was the major bread winner. It is a year now that I am not working and I actually have no direction in my life and I am loving it… I get to do every day what I want to do which is write, read, decorate my house and craft !!! I am spending more time with family and friends…. I have no particular “Direction” that I want my life to take because I did not put such importance on my job as an RN defining who I was. It was just one aspect of who I was and my life and I feel that now, I get to be who I should have been…
    Hugs,
    Deb

    • Reply Diana Herring March 1, 2020 at 04:10

      Right there with you Debbie! As a RN it was a calling but the last 7 years took a major toll on me, family & resulted in medical forced retirement, 3 major surgeries with Titanium rods, discs, screws & plates in foot back shoulder in a 3 month period of time 13 months ago. Divorced 12 yrs ago & these surgeries took all my savings, pride, self worth away from me. Now living with family as SS does not cover expenses. Can’t afford insurance & Medicare is a year away. But my career took care of my family. Best wishes in retirement!!!

      • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:42

        Hi Diana, you have certainly had much to contend with over the years and I hope that life improves for you. Take care and take care of yourself. Thanks for visiting. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:39

      You sound like you are in the perfect place for you at the moment Debbie and I wish you well. I’m happy to hear the happiness you are feeling which shows through in your comment. Have a great week xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris February 29, 2020 at 12:51

    What a great post with fabulous ideas from everyone Sue! You are an amazing human being and being honest has shown you that many of us feel a similar way from time to time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and how you managed to learn from your experiences. Keep smiling 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:40

      You always make me feel better about myself, Deb and I appreciate your comments. It was good to hear what other women thought and to know that others are feeling the same as I am – we are not alone! Have a great week. xx

  • Reply Terri Lyon February 29, 2020 at 23:42

    My favorite tip is defining your core values. It sharpens your focus. I would also add a tip: create your bucket list. Thanks for a great post.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:41

      Hi Terri and thanks for visiting! Yes one of my friends commented that if we lack direction sometimes we need to bring ourselves back to our core values. A bucket list is a great idea also as a process of defining what you want from life. Thanks for the comment and have a lovely day. xx

  • Reply Christie Hawkes March 1, 2020 at 05:08

    Thank you, Sue, for being willing to be vulnerable and share your true feelings with us. It may seem strange that you can help others easier than you can help yourself, but I have heard several successful coaches say that they also use the services of a life coach. They recognize the importance of the role they play in others’ success and that they can also benefit from a good coach. Thank you also for sharing the tips you gathered from the community. There are several that I find particularly helpful. When I’m feeling scattered, I like a good physical work out, time in nature, and quiet time meditating or writing. It also helps me feel better if I do one productive or enjoyable thing–take action as you said–without worrying too much about the big picture for the time being. Thanks again for all you do for us! May you be happy; may you feel at ease. XO

    • Reply Jennifer Jones March 4, 2020 at 07:23

      Hi Sue, I think we all suffer from lack of focus at times. For me what works is to check in with my core values. A lack of focus usually means that one of those values is usually out of alignment. Just tweaking things a little usually helps me move forward #MLSTL Sharing

      • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:36

        You are so wise Jen and even though I coach all of this, sometimes the Coach can forget their own teachings! Thanks for sharing and linking up at #MLSTL xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:45

      Thank you, Christie. It isn’t easy showing our vulnerable side is it? However, if we do, the response can be very heartening and helpful. I learned from the other women and also found comfort that others feel the same way. You are right that ‘coaches’ need a coach as well so I’m on the look out for one at the moment. Hope your week is going well and sending love and best wishes to you. xx

  • Reply Erica/Erika March 1, 2020 at 11:08

    As I am reading your post, Sue, the first thing that comes to mind is how you are among friends, in a safe place, to share all of your feelings. This is how I see our blogging community. This is what we do. We support each other.

    You also remind me how perspective is always different when you are watching from the outside, or when you are living in it. I also find ‘I can dish it out, yet sometimes I do not see the forest for the trees.’ Or is it the other way round.?

    I think I have mentioned to you, before, ‘be as kind to yourself as you are to others.’

    Great gems in your post. Thank you for being, you, Sue!?

    (An aside, I am catching up reading today since I had the privilege of being at the birth of my Grandson last week. You know first hand, Sue, how children are a miracle and a blessing)

    • Reply Erica/Erika March 4, 2020 at 06:47

      Revisiting and rereading the great gems from your tribe. #MLSTL and sharing SM

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:51

      Thank you Erica for your valued friendship and support you provide to me each week. Congratulations on the birth of your Grandson and how exciting to actually be present. A memory that you will treasure. Children are a miracle and a blessing. Sending love and hugs xx

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian March 1, 2020 at 11:36

    Sue, I think you are so far ahead of the game just by acknowledging that you feel a bit off course. Linda’s #2 makes a lot of sense to me, as does a good look in the mirror and a sweaty workout. You are so right, it is much easier to offer advice than to apply it! You will get to the bottom of it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:58

      Oh thanks Suzanne! Sometimes we don’t really acknowledge what we are getting right but focus on what we aren’t doing right. I love a workout to help me find clarity or a good long run always helps. Thanks for visiting. Would you be interested in writing a guest post for my Ageing Well, Living Well series? Have a lovely week. xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 1, 2020 at 16:49

    Hi Sue – it’s strange that you’re feeling this way when you’re in the middle of your studies and doing so well. Your blog also seems to be thriving, family’s doing great, home renovations almost finished etc. I’m not sure what sends us off on a tangent and wondering about “where to next?” I know I’ve been through a lot of that last year when I shifted direction so unexpectedly, but now I feel like I’m happy to be on autopilot for a while.
    Watching you ask these questions makes me wonder if I’ll be doing the same again after a few years of retirement – it’s a long road ahead with no clear direction (as per my post last week about needing to have some self-compassion while I face the unknown). There are so many paths we could choose, but I don’t think many of us want to waste the years ahead pursuing dead ends.
    Ultimately the “be kind to yourself” advice seems to be the most relevant for me (and maybe for you?) because we are our own worst critics and task mistresses. Perhaps allowing ourselves to recognize all the work we’ve put in to get where we are helps us to relax a little and enjoy the unknowns that lie ahead?
    We must chat again soon – I’ve missed our conversations xxx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 08:00

      Hi Leanne, yes we must chat soon. I think sometimes if we have too many options it becomes more difficult to focus on what you really want to do. Hopefully once I finish my course I will be able to think a little clearer on my direction. xx

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 4, 2020 at 11:59

        Hi Sue – back again for MLSTL and to wish you all the best as you tackle your studies and hopefully tick them off your list soon. Hopefully once that’s done you’ll have the next step in the journey clarify itself and you’ll be off and running xx I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

        • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2020 at 12:22

          Thanks BBB, sorry I’ve been off the radar but had to prioritize and my studies were my focus. Thanks for sharing and co-hosting #MLSTL with me. I always have time for that. x

  • Reply Greenglobaltrek March 1, 2020 at 18:22

    Interesting post. I think for me its all about balance and figuring out what’s perhaps out of balance, causing these feelings. And then a few strategies that work for me are:

    Yoga and meditation.
    Making sure I am eating lots of leafy greens, juicing and reducing gluten, sugar and caffeine.
    Focusing on the things I am grateful for. Gratitude always lifts me up.

    Recognition that some days we may feel less motivated, less grounded just because, well, its the human condition.

    Peta

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 08:02

      Hi Peta, lovely to meet you and thanks for stopping by to comment. You have some great advice here and yes, I do enjoy yoga as a way to bring some calm to my life and my mind. I need to get back to basics and try to discover the cause of my lack of direction. Have a great week!

  • Reply Kathleen - Blogger's Lifestyle March 2, 2020 at 18:03

    Thanks Sue, our Julie has chosen your post to be featured in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop. We love promoting your post with the many helps it shares for other readers.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 08:02

      Wow! Thanks Kathleen, I’ve been on a roll since returning to Blogger’s Pit Stop! Thank you for the opportunity to provide to share our work. xx

  • Reply Miriam March 4, 2020 at 06:49

    Such a wonderful post and I loved all of the ideas that your readers and fellow bloggers have suggested here Sue. All such helpful tips. I’d say I’ve tried most of their suggestions at some stage in my life! Thank you for sharing this. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 08:13

      Thanks for visiting Miriam. I learn so much from other women which I can apply to my own life. x

  • Reply Enda Sheppard March 4, 2020 at 06:53

    I do think it ;s important to accept where we are, Sue and not force it. It’s okay to not be okay, and accepting that has lightening affect, for me, anyway. A time for gentle reflection

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 08:14

      Hi Enda, I agree about forcing things. That only adds to the stress doesn’t it? Thank you for visiting and will take your advice about some gentle reflection. It is so important to be kind to ourselves.

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 4, 2020 at 07:06

    Good post. I think directions appear when we focus – it’s shutting out the distractions that is hard!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 4, 2020 at 07:37

      Good point Lydia! You always have some great advice and yes the distractions certainly can be the problem. Procrastination/distractions are easy to follow when you are feeling a little muddled as to which way to go. xx

  • Reply Natalie March 4, 2020 at 10:10

    Hi Sue – Thank you for sharing a list of good ideas here. If I recall correctly, you had done a vision board and identified your core values. Revisiting your vision may help you re-focus. Have a wonderful week! #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2020 at 12:19

      It is always a matter of stopping, breathing and going back to basics, isn’t it Natalie? Thanks for being part of #MLSTL and have a great week. xx

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle March 4, 2020 at 11:00

    Hi Sue, like you I’m better at giving out advice then taking my own advice or that of others. I too feel a lack of direction at the moment and yes I also feel somewhat adrift. I feel that life is just passing me by and I’m not doing what I should be doing to make the most of it. As my 50’s are speeding by there’s a sense of panic in there as well. Maybe this is just part of this stage of life – a time of adjustment and reassessment I guess. I hope you have a wonderful week! xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2020 at 12:21

      It is so unsettling isn’t it Min? I feel that life is passing me by and I’m 63 this year. Not old but I can’t just procrastinate and keep wondering if there is more to life. I have to make some decisions and go for it. Hope you are feeling better and here to chat at any time. xx

  • Reply Deborah March 4, 2020 at 16:02

    I love that some of these actually contradict each other Sue, as it’s a reminder that we’re all different and work in different ways. I like the variety of suggestions though and some – going back to basics for eg – is something I’ve been working on at the moment.

    I’m also feeling directionless and have done for some time. I keep telling myself it will pass as I get better at working out what I want, but as that’s something I struggle with I’m not sure when I’ll get things clear in my mind.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2020 at 12:24

      Hi Deb, that is why I love putting questions out there to readers. Everyone has a different perspective and I learn something new each time. Wanting what we want isn’t easy is it? I’m still trying to figure it out at nearly 63! Have a good week and try not to stress about it. Take some time to Enjoy! xx

  • Reply Corinne Rodrigues March 4, 2020 at 16:29

    Thank you for your authenticity, Sue and for pulling together these meaningful resources. I’ve realized that we’re often harder on ourselves than we realize. I’m trying to pull out the roots of dissatisfaction from my life. Often I think I’m floundering only to find someone telling me that I inspire them.
    You are an inspiration. Hugs.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2020 at 12:25

      It is hard to be vulnerable and open up Corinne but when I do the response is always so helpful. Have a lovely day and thank you for your kind words. xx

  • Reply Candi Randolph March 4, 2020 at 21:51

    Hi Sue, so many helpful ideas and tips for getting ourselves back on point in our life. It reaffirms that we are all unique and not a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to problem-solving. For me, it’s about prioritizing, writing things down, taking a deep breath, and moving my little feet forward, literally. I walk, think, de-stress, then I can usually get the focus back. Great piece. xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 5, 2020 at 12:19

      Hi Candi, yes writing things down is a good way to find some order. I also like getting out for a walk or run to clear my mind and reduce stress. I find I can then come back and see things from an entirely different perspective. x

  • Reply Nancy Dobbins March 5, 2020 at 23:07

    Hi Sue,
    Here from #MLSTL. Wow, did this post ever catch me right. I’m struggling with a bit of my own direction. And to everyone else I look like I’ve got it “going on.” LOL
    All of your suggestions are helpful, but the one that resonated with me is to “take action.” Taking action, making a plan, even just getting moving is a help to me and tends to ease whatever anxiety is bothering me. I’m so thankful that you are honest enough in your blogging space to share openly about how you are feeling and dealing. Just because you are a great coach doesn’t mean you can avoid these types of emotions. It’s so helpful to know that one is not alone, and that these struggles are pretty universal. Life is constantly transitioning; I’m trying to learn to embrace it and adapt to it – and how I do that is constantly changing, too.
    Thanks for your love and support and honesty.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 7, 2020 at 07:39

      Hi Donna, it appears there are quite a few of us feeling this way so that makes me feel a little better. Taking action is my top tip although at times we can feel frozen with fear or anxiety which can prevent us moving forward. A run usually helps clear my mind. You are right that life is constantly transitioning and I suppose I would be bored if it didn’t. Thanks for visiting, it is lovely to hear from you. Have a great weekend. xx

  • Reply Denyse Whelan March 6, 2020 at 12:08

    I wish you well as you continue with your studies and finding your way. Sometimes being uncomfortable is for a good reason. It makes me look at the why and make it change for the better if I can. I am off to have 2 x cataract surgeries next week. In Sydney and we need to stay over for one night as well. You think I would be used to all the medical/surgical stuff but this one is different!
    Thanks for your link up.
    Denyse #mlstl

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 7, 2020 at 07:35

      Hi Denyse, yes I agree that being uncomfortable has a deeper meaning sometimes. Our ‘gut’ is trying to tell us something and it is usually right, isn’t it? Good luck with the cataract surgery. I have an appointment with the Opthamologist in a two weeks to see how far mine have developed. Take care xx

  • Reply Susan McDonald April 12, 2020 at 10:14

    Hi Sue,
    What a great article! I have felt like I lost my focus recently too. It’s probably because we are cooped up and we can’t go RV camping anywhere.
    Anyway – my boyfriend and work partner Mike taught me a trick about how to handle life when it seems a little out of focus. He said to talk to myself as if I was giving advice to a friend.
    It’s great advice and I told myself all the things I would tell a friend if they were out of focus and it really has helped me quite a bit.
    I thought I would share since this topic seems to timely.
    Thanks,
    Susan

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 12, 2020 at 10:17

      Hi Susan, that is great advice from your boyfriend. Sometimes we can be there to give advice and support others but forget about ourselves. Thank you for sharing and I will mention your tip to my readers. Take care and thanks for visiting. xx

      • Reply Erica/Erika April 12, 2020 at 10:34

        I love this timely advice from Susan McDonald’s boyfriend. Sometimes, I am great at dishing it out to friends and I forget to speak to myself this way. Enjoy your Easter weekend, Sue and Susan. We are a day behind and no Easter bunnies in site, yet. xx

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 12, 2020 at 10:36

          Hi Erica! Susan’s boyfriend has provided such simple yet effective advice which we all need to implement. I know I’m more supportive of others than myself at times. My grandsons have had a visit from the Easter Bunny who delivered Easter Eggs using social distancing requirements LOL:) xx

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