Lifestyle Personal Development

How to Design the Life You Really Want

Stuck in a rut not living the life you really want? We explore how you can design the life you really want and, with a little time and patience, actually achieve it.

1. Make lists

Break your life up in to all of its components and start to really dream about what it is you want out of your life. Relationships, family, where you live, your work, money, fitness, health and spiritual beliefs should all be scrutinised. Make a list for each area and write down exactly you want from each of these parts of your life, this will help you to work out how to achieve your goals, and give you clarity on what is and isn’t working in your life now.

2. Work out what is holding you back

Often there are reasons we aren’t living our dream life whether it is debt, family, partners, where we are living or our careers. Be very analytical and determine which of those things is the biggest blocker to you achieving the life you want to live. Make a plan and start to slowly address each blocker to move forward in a way that is aligned with your ideal life. Some blockers may be difficult to navigate, particularly those relating to your family and relationships however you need to find ways to communicate with those you love about what it means for you to be able to design your perfect life.

3. Visualise your future life

Start to visualise what your ideal future life will look and why it will make you the happiest version of yourself you. Picture it in detail, the smells, the sounds and the feelings you would have on the perfect day in your new life. Visualisation is a powerful tool that can help to keep you motivated and on track with your goals (plus it is great to daydream occasionally!)

4. Work out your purpose

Plenty of people say they would love to win the lottery, be wealthy (see our thoughts on that here) and retire immediately, but often without a sense of structure and purpose in our lives as humans we can really struggle to find meaning. You need to understand what your purpose is and what you want to give and receive from the world. To do this, go deep into looking at those things that make you happy, give you fulfilment and make you feel valued.

5. Be realistic but aspirational

You need to add a dose realism to your plans, while you should have big dreams and be open to all possibilities, there is no point planning on winning Wimbledon if you are in your sixties and don’t play tennis, but you might be able to have the next best thing by learning to play tennis and making it an important element of your new life. Have big bold dreams but check them with a dose of realism so that you can have an excellent chance of reaching your goals.

6. Make detailed plans

Once you have worked out what you want from your life it is time to set about planning for it. Under each of the columns identified in your planning stage, make a map of how you will get from where you are now to where you want to be.

For example if you want to change your career, identify each step you need to do it (study or training, applying for roles and seeking our mentors in the industry or doing unpaid intern work to gain more experience and contacts), then apply a timeline to each activity to work out how long it will take you to get there. Add in any risks or issues (ie. can you afford the course or to do unpaid work? how will that be balanced with your current job etc), and work through each of those methodically.

Once you have a plan and a timeline start adding in the things you need to research and find out more about in order to reach your goals. For example, if you dream life includes moving to France, start researching areas you want to live in, costs associated with moving, renting or buying a property, what the Visa situation is etc.. by detailing all of the things you need to do to make it a reality you will get a strong understanding of how long it will take and what is required of you to get there. Your will also find gaps that you need help with, and can start to seek out the answers.

7. Expand your social circle

If you only hang out with the same people day in and day out it might be time to think about expanding that social circle and meeting people from different backgrounds and walks of life. Try joining new clubs in your town or city, seek out a mentor you can learn from, join social media groups of likeminded people and get out more and introduce yourself to new people and places. You mind find you get a lot on new ideas and perspectives on what your dream life could look like and may even find that you dreams and ideas shift and change also.

8. Make detailed financial plans

In our current society money plays a very big roles in determining how we work and live. In order to really design the life you want be brutally honest about your financial goals. If you want to be wealthy and own a lot of things you are going to require a plan that is more money-focused than if you are happy living more of a minimalistic lifestyle and spend you time and money on experiences and people.

Whatever your goal is be realistic, understand your debt and equity position, and start to plan how you can achieve your financial goals. Designing your ideal life is probably going to require some tough decisions, budgeting and extra work to hit your goals.

9. Audit your time

Your time is your most valuable asset so start valuing it as you would your money, if you are wasting it on things that bring you job or purpose let them go. Protect your time by saying no to things you don’t want to do and also start to keep a time diary of the things in your life and how much time you spend on each of them. Mindless scrolling, obligatory family events, staying at work longer than you need to, a long commute – all big time wasters that you can claw back. Your spare time should be going towards those things that are going to help you move towards your end goals.

10. Don’t lose heart when you go off track

It can be difficult to make progress when things keep getting in the way but don’t lose heart, reset keep going and work on achieving one step at a time to your desired goals. Celebrate each little win and keep your eyes on the end goal. It may take you years to get to exactly where you want to be so try to be patient and enjoy the journey on the way.

11. When you get there realise that it may not be everything you dreamed about

A bit like meeting our idols, sometimes what we think we want doesn’t quite live up to the vision in our minds. If you achieve your dream life and it isn’t living up to your hopes and desires, re-evaluate, determine those areas that are still not working for you and keep going until you get there. Continually reassessing and reprioritising and things change around you is necessary to help you get to where you want to be.

12. Ignore the negative voices around you

Making life changes and can often come with negativity and doubts from those around us, even those that love us the most. Don’t let those voices in, often people are scared of you changing as it shines a spotlight on their own lives and choices. Good friends and family will support you 100% of the way. Surround yourself with positive voices and listen to inspirational podcasts, read books that inspire you connect with people that you think are aligned with your way of thinking.

Positivity is contagious and if you can harness as much of it as you can from others around you, you are more likely to start feeling it yourself and to start seeing all of the possibilities in your life that might not have been previously apparent.

However you plan to go about designing the life you really want, dream big, make plans, take a few risks and above all else keep pushing yourself to keep on track even when obstacles are thrown in your way. You never know, the life you want may be within your reach sooner than you think.

Want more? Click here for Five Ways to Know if Your Meditation is Working and here for the Three Stages of the Creative Process.

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