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Books To Read When Lost In Life

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Feeling as if you are just marking time until your life begins is not a rare emotion. It is a common occurrence at certain milestones such as graduation from school, sending the last child off to college, or reaching retirement age. If your goals don’t seem so interesting any more, it’s like losing the path to the mountaintop.

If you find yourself doing the same things over and over, and not enjoying them any more, you may need to shake up your life. The right books to read can help to restore your direction in life. Alternatively, you might decide to turn your life to a new path. The right books provide a map for your journey forward.

The books you choose to read when you are feeling lost can be helpful to find your direction again. The path can be physical, such as living in a different environment, changing careers, or choosing some self-help books to help you get in touch with the things you used to enjoy. 

How can I get my life back on track books?

If you have been proceeding through the goals you set for yourself and you come to realize that your plans for a decade ago are no closer to being realized than when you wrote them down, it can leave you feeling as if you are going nowhere. Sometimes your life plan is quite clear, and you are lucky enough to know precisely where you want to be next year, in five years, or ten years. It is more common, however, to discover that you are not on the track you hoped to be. 

You might be feeling that your career is not expanding as you had hoped. You might hate your boss or co-workers, but can’t afford to quit. Maybe your job was affected by recession, the pandemic, or automation. Perhaps you had to take a second job at a fast-food establishment, just to meet the payments on your automobile or mortgage, or to keep food on the table. 

The feeling of being stuck in a rut or frozen in place can create a number of other emotions. Anger, depression, boredom, and other emotions might be affecting your enjoyment of life. You can lose sight of the thing you thought you knew: your goals in life. 

Determine where you are in life

A serious look at where you are in relation to your past goals is a good starting point. Books on setting goals are available by various authors. The act of defining where you are is a good starting point for reactivating your interest in life. 

Goal setting is the process of taking active steps to reach a desired outcome. There is nothing that says you can’t change your goals if the existing ones no longer feel like something that meets your needs. 

Maybe your life path was unrealistic to begin with. Still the practice of just coasting along hoping that something will happen to make you feel better is almost never a path to success. Identify why you are unable to move ahead in an intentional and focused manner. 

Set new goals

There are three major types of goals: process, performance, and outcome. Each one is important. Process goals are specific actions to be performed, such as studying for two hours after dinner every day. Performance goals are based on personal standards, like raising your productivity or reducing your nicotine intake. Outcome goals are based on achieving a specific result, such as landing a desired position in your chosen career. You will want to consider each of these in the choice of reading materials about goal setting. 

Process goals are 100% controlled by the individual.  You must decide what actions to perform, and then complete them.  Performance goals may be under your personal control, but may also be affected by external factors.  These standards may be set by a boss, a professor, or yourself, and achievement can be judged in a variety of ways.  Outcome goals tend to be long-term as opposed to short-term, and may be a result of factors beyond your direct control.

Find A New Path Forward

Recharging your interest in life is the first step toward shaking off a feeling of helplessness and lack of focus. You might boost your ability to get out of a rut by reading some of the many books available on the subject. Some specific categories about starting new paths might talk about new careers, pulling yourself out of depression, advancing your learning, or tapping into spiritual interests.

Life has many side roads and potholes. You won’t always get what you planned for, and happenstance will always throw some curves in your path forward. Sometimes a feeling of being lost is the best reason for updating your choice of reading materials.


You may be stagnating in your career for various reasons. Because of changes in the economy, some jobs are disappearing, while others are being taken over by mechanical or robotic equipment. Maybe you are just ready for a change in responsibilities, or it could be time to start that business you dreamed of a decade ago. Look for books about some career ideas and what is necessary to get started. 

Exploring books about how to launch your own business is another way to get yourself moving forward in life. You can find books about starting a business, as well as opportunities in various home based businesses. You don’t have to do everything immediately. Set yourself the goal of reading one book which can help bring you out of your funk. Creating major goals and minor signposts will make you think about what you really want your life to look like in the near future and five years in the future. 


Find how-to books about various topics you have always wanted to explore. No matter what you want to learn, chances are good that someone has written a book about it. Challenge yourself with a new topic or field of interest. You may not decide to change your lifestyle as a result of a book you read, but it is also possible that you will find information that will help you in defining a new life path for yourself. 


Taking the time to read books which provide a positive uplift to your thoughts is another way to get your life back on track. If you are bored, discouraged, and in a rut, you are also likely to be fatigued, and it may also affect your eating habits and sleeping habits. Depression is a serious problem, but it can be helped in various ways–sometimes simply changing a single element of life can have an impact. Use the resources available on the internet or social media to look up suggestions about books which will boost your ‘feel-good’ quotient. 


For many people who are feeling lost on their life paths, reading books with a spiritual focus is helpful. Whether you are interested in meditation or traditional worship forms, time spent reading a few words to lift your thoughts off yourself can be of benefit. There are morning devotional books which are available online or at local bookstores, as well as many other books with a positive spiritual bent.  


Some book categories which can be helpful to restore your direction in life include biographies. Learn about people who have overcome major obstacles and went on to carve out a path to success. Non-fiction books can help with financial planning, travel, business structures, and how-to set goals, start a business, find work you love, or retire early to enjoy your grandchildren.


Feeling like you have lost your focus, or even worse, your way in life is not an experience anyone enjoys. There are times when nearly everyone feels that nothing is going right. Maybe a job is not what you had hoped it would be. Breaking off a relationship can leave you wondering where you should turn next. An unexpected disaster could feel like an insurmountable roadblock.  In all these cases, others have experienced your problems and likely shared words of wisdom.  

Books can often fill a void that you didn’t know was there until you realize how nothing is fun any more. The specific books may not be as important as the fact that you are taking positive steps to grow within the lifestyle you choose. An intentional effort to get your life back on track may not always have immediate results, but it is the attempt to add structure that will benefit you in the end. 

Nothing about redefining your map and direction through life has to be done in a vacuum. You can use social media outlets to obtain suggestions for books to read. Other book categories are widespread across the internet. Book stores, book clubs, book challenges, and other gatherings are a great place to get advice about books to read when you feel lost in life.