Young adults are often criticized for not having a life/career plan in place. So, how do you figure yourself out without trying a billion things that don’t work out in the end, leaving you feeling you’ve wasted time? Well, the answer is simple—and it’s not simple. 

First, drop the notion that you wasted time trying new things. Having a curious mind and an adventurous spirit is not a crime. In fact, trying new things shows heightened emotional intelligence and resilience. Second, determine your values, then commit to doing things in direct alignment with those values.  

If you’re still searching for answers, try these journal prompts to get closer to the answer. Write the prompt at the top of your page, set your timer for 2–3 minutes and let the answers flow from your pen. 

Journal Prompts For Value Discovery

  • What makes me feel the most self-respect?  
  • How do I honor myself?  
  • Are there behaviors from others that I find disgusting?
  • Are there behaviors from others that I find darling?  

Prompts For Romantic Relationships

  • What do I desire from a partner? 
  • How do I like to engage with my partner? (e.g. how often, calls vs. texts, etc.)
  • What do I do best for my partner?  
  • What do I not like in romantic relationships?    
  • How do I receive love? How do I show love?  

Prompts For Monthly Goals 

  • What wins did I have last month?  
  • What opportunities do I have for improvement?
  • Did I try anything new I would like to continue this month?
  • What do I want to accomplish this month?   

Prompts For Making Major Life Decisions

  • What fears do I have about this opportunity?  
  • What excitement do I have about this opportunity?
  • Is this in alignment with my values? 
  • What positive consequences could come from this decision?  
  • What negative consequences could come from this decision?   

These questions get more specific so you can truly analyze what it is you want. Sometimes it can be hard to dig deeper when we are asked face-value questions like, “What are your values?” By asking ourselves more tangential questions, we can find different avenues we might not have otherwise discovered.  

Remember, discovery is a process. You might not get the exact answer today or tomorrow, but the more you ask yourself these questions, you’ll get a little closer to your truth. Be empowered and encouraged! 

This post originally appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of the Quarterly and was written by Cheyenne Baker, Pi–Coe College. Cheyenne is a performance coach who helps women end perfectionism and leap out of their quarterlifer crisis. With a penchant for expressing her thoughts through writing and amusing rants on her Instagram stories, her eclectic style, heart of service and Zen vibe help her fully embrace life. Her signature program, The Graduate’s School, is specifically geared toward recent college graduates trying to navigate the real world. Follow her on Instagram @amusing_millennial. 

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