UNITED STATES—How do you make your life meaningful? Some people already seem to have the answers to these questions. They find their meaning in their religious practice or their families, for example. Perhaps you do not have either of these things, or perhaps you do, and they are fulfilling, but you are searching for something more. With the tips below, you can live a life that is suffused with meaning.

Make Your Days Count

How you spend each moment of your day is how you live your life. That might seem like an obvious thing to point out, but if you are like a lot of people, there is a big gap between how you spend your days and what you think about as your life. Many people go through life thinking of themselves as being in a kind of temporary holding pattern, as though their real life is going to start when they reach some goal or milestone in the future. For example, if health and fitness are a priority, then you should follow advice for healthy eating as the rule and make treats the exception. One salad does not a health forward life make, consistency and building habits matters more for long-term.

Of course, what happens is either they never reach that milestone, or they reach it and almost immediately start looking to the next thing. There is an exercise that can help you determine if you’re using your days in the ways that count. Make a list of the activities you value the most. Then make a list of what you spend most of your time doing. Is there a big discrepancy? How can you introduce more of the things that you value into each day?

Changing Your Life

Once you start digging into how you are spending your days, you may come to the realization that you need to make some major changes. For example, there are many things about work that aren’t exactly enjoyable, but most of us have to do it. However, you may have realized that you want to do work that is more aligned with your values. This could mean having to retrain for a new position or even go back to school.

You might wonder how you will afford this, but the same kind of financial help is available for older students as for those straight out of high school. In addition, while you might not qualify for much or anything in federal aid if you are making decent money when you apply, you could get favorable interest rates from a private student loan because of a solid credit score. This loan can help you worry less about tuition cost and choose the school that is right for you.

Keep Checking In

Dissatisfaction is a feature of human nature. What you determine today will help you live a meaningful life, might not be what makes it meaningful in a year, ten years or 30 years. Listen to your intuition so that you know when it might be time to make a change. When you are ready for that change, it doesn’t mean that what you were doing before didn’t matter and that now you’ve found the real meaning. It simply means that like everyone else on the planet, you are always growing and evolving, and what is meaningful to you will change over the course of your lifetime.