Lifestyle Design Strategy: Get In Touch With The Freedom To Live!
Are you ready to design your life on your own terms? Getting in touch with your freedom to live can help you imagine a future you never dreamed as well as well increase your motivation for following your passions in life.
Before beginning the life design process, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your true freedom, as it can open possibilities that help you create the life you’ve always wanted.
As evolving, changing creatures, our lives are not meant to be bound or constrained. You are free to be whomever you imagine for yourself, and no one should limit your freedom to choose what you do in life. You have nothing but freedom to build the life you can love, and the only thing stopping you is yourself.
Getting in Touch with Your Own Sense of Freedom
Here are a few strategies to help you tap into your sense of freedom, which can unlock your creativity and help you find fulfillment in life.
1. Create Unscheduled Time
I like to leave some empty spaces in my calendar this allows me to explore my interests and do spontaneous things. Give yourself a morning or evening to do either absolutely nothing or whatever comes to mind that day, but don’t place any expectations on these hours other than they are yours. Remember to use it for yourself, not to catch up on other things or finish your to-do list. To learn to enjoy freedom, you have to have the space for it.
2. Find a Place Where You Can Feel Small
Get outside to enjoy nature, which can help you realize the immensity of the world. Think long walks in the woods, being outside among rolling hills, or sitting at the edge of the ocean. Find somewhere in your area where you can experience the sheer power of nature, the immensity of scale that comes with the living, breathing planet.
This can not only help you relax and breathe a little deeper but also helps put yourself into perspective with the rest of this giant rock we call home. This can bring you healing and power to enjoy the freedom you have in life.
Another option to this is to go to a place that makes you feel like a child again, for me this is going to Disney or a children’s movie. Recently, we went to see Mary Poppins at the theater. I felt like a little kid sitting in the theater and transformed to whimsical thoughts.
3. Lifestyle Design Means Getting in Touch with Yourself
Spend time regularly doing things that are just for you. Connecting with yourself, paying attention to your needs, and spending time alone with your thoughts are all excellent ways to tap into your passions and reflect on where you want your life to take you.
Spending quality time with yourself, without having to answer to others about how you are spending your hours, is an essential part of realizing what aspects of life are limiting you and how you can free yourself from those constraints.
4. Break Away From Those Who Try to Control You
If there are people in your life who are trying to push you in specific directions, even when your heart is resisting, it is time to let them go. While support is important when designing your life, it is equally essential that those in your life are there to listen and provide love, not to force you where you don’t want to be.
If you have controlling people in your life, you need to be strong and break ties, which will give you the freedom to be true to yourself.
5. Expect the Best Outcome
Set yourself up for success by expecting the best result. Too often we think that only the mediocre or lackluster is what we deserve. That encourages you to accept “good enough.” Demand the best.
6. Create Your Own Cheering Section
Surround yourself with successful people and let them know about your goals. Look for “Creative Champions” as Julia Cameron would call them. These people understand the importance of goals and will congratulate you as you work through obstacles to achieve them. Distance yourself from “Poisonous Playmates,” people who constantly throw a wet-blanket over your ideas and goals. These two terms come from Julia Cameron’s book the Vein of Gold.
7. See Yourself as Successful
Identify your unique qualities and recognize that these are the tools that lead you to success. Don’t dwell on weaknesses, just find someone who has those strengths and put them on your team.
You Are the Master of Your Own Life
If you feel like your life is dictating your choices, then you need to adjust. You can either change your attitude to accept this reality, or you can change your life to make it what you want.
Only you can know what makes you feel free, and only you can make a choice to change your life. Gain clarity about what freedom really means for yourself, then you can design a life that helps you achieve that sense of freedom.
But what if doing the same thing each day won’t lead to your goal?
What if there are multiple steps? Multiple milestones. This is a Journey Goal.
Before we launch into journey goals, it’s important to figure out what your goals are.
The Problem of Too Many Ideas
Many entrepreneurs have the same problem that I have, where I come up with too many ideas. Everyday, I have at least 10 ideas for a new business or a new product or a new service. This on top of my service business and role of mother. If you read James Althucher’s Choose Yourself, he says to write down 10 ideas a day. So I was doing this. This is not a bad habit but it can lead to mental overwhelm if it is not managed.
A Better Way to Capture your Big Lofty Ideas
Ideas are awesome but if you are not capturing these ideas in a system then you may as well just throw them away. Buy a simple spiral notebook, start an Evernote notebook or write them in my new book, Design Your Lifestyle Roadmap . Consider this your modern day dream catcher.
But don’t stop with just the idea. Write about why this is a good idea and who would benefit. You may find repetition in your idea notebook. The same idea pops up in your mind repeatedly. This is a good thing. As my Missouri heritage says, “The cream rises to the top”
Big Lofty Ideas
One morning on my sunrise walk, trudging along feeling overwhelmed. Just overwhelmed, with all that I had to do. Walking along, looking at the sidewalk and deep in thought. A little voice in my mind said, “Look up….hurry look up.” So I looked up into the sky and saw a huge hot air balloon rising up over the lake I was walking around. I watched it quietly and gently rise higher into the sky. I started to walk again and suddenly another balloon glided into my view. It was just as colorful and graceful as the first one that graced my eyes. Stopping and admiring the sight of two balloons in the air. I began walking again and a third balloon rose from the horizon, this time I was not surprised. While admiring the three beautiful balloons against the pink sky. I heard the little voice again say, “All your ideas are beautiful, Kimberly but you can only launch one at a time.”
So I went back to the idea notebook and I looked at all those ideas I had dumped in there. I landed on writing this book as a starting point for women entrepreneurs who like me may struggle with figuring out what to do next on their entrepreneurial journey.
Designing Your Life as a Journey
Think of it this way: If you plan to take a road trip and want to get a car first, getting a car that can operate well in different terrains will allow you to take a number of different routes to your destination. Even though the destination doesn’t change, you might not want to take the interstate the whole time.
This line of reasoning is particularly important for young people. You are already expected to know what you want to do for a living when you are in high school, but many people change majors at least once while in college. This is often seen as a problem because what you do for a living is seen as the goal, when the goal should really be living comfortably and being happy – a goal that is not limited by your profession. If you have a plan that is dedicated to eventually achieving financial independence, changing your major or your career path can be seen more as taking a new route rather than not knowing what the plan is.
Your Big Someday Goal Should Be A Little Vague
When considering your most important goals, it is important to make them somewhat vague. The grand-scheme of what we want for our lives isn’t likely to change too much over time, but how we expect to achieve it can change drastically. Of course, that’s okay, but it’s best to make plans that can fit different trajectories or roads to getting there.
Leave Room In Your Design to Change Roads
Of course, what career path you take isn’t the only way that your path toward your goals can change. Many people plan their lives as though they were the only person involved, which is never the case. You should be the focus of your life plan, but when designing your life, never forget that there are other people who can help you in any number of ways.
Include Family & Friends while Designing Your Life
Family may be able to offer financial support. Friends or romantic relationships may be able to offer emotional support. Teachers, bosses, mentors, and other figures can offer advice, access to new resources, or change the path that you take to reach your goals. Be careful about neglecting your loved ones while designing your life. It may seem like it allows you to have a clearer plan with fewer variables. After all, it’s easier to plan what you will do than it is to know what people you will run into or how they will impact your life. However, not allowing these sorts of influences into your life will mean passing up on opportunities and resources that can take you to your goal, even if it means taking an eraser to part of your life’s design plans.
Don’t Carve Your Map in Stone
As in the previous section, the best thing to do is to never have your design plan set in stone. The important thing is keeping the main goal in sight and having a plan that will let you take the best route to that goal, even though you may not know the best roads to take when you sit down to make your plan. You may also find interesting places to stop along the way.
Focus on Your Big Someday Goal but Be Willing to Change Your Path to Getting There
Designing an effective life plan means that you need to keep your goals in mind. The more you focus on your life goals, the more you can tweak your plans to achieve them. It can be tempting to watch the variables to the point that you have no design at all, but this too is risky. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board but be sure that there is always something on that board.
Redesign Your Lifestyle with New Habits to Start in the New Year
Instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions, I like to set habit goals. A habit goal is a regular tendency or practice.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting S.J. Scott who wrote the books Habit Stacking and Bad Habits no more. One of the things that S.J. said that I thought was pretty brilliant was “Sometimes it’s the smallest of actions that can make the biggest difference in someone’s life.” We were discussing how the simple act of sending a loving text message to his wife everyday was so important to her.
“Sometimes it’s the smallest of actions that can make the biggest difference in someone’s life.” S.J. Scott
What habits can you create in your life to be the kind of person you want to be? It may be just a quick and easy habit like S.J. shared.
You likely have many habits that you are regularly practicing. Many of these habits you perform on a daily basis, maybe unconsciously and a part of your regular routine. Unfortunately, some of these types of unconscious habits that you have built up over time are typically not the best types of habits.
Good habits, in particular, need to be developed and developed intentionally. Developing good habit goals can create a new, fresh, and better you. Here is why you should reinvent yourself by starting good habits today.
The Benefits Of A Good Habit Goals
are small activities that define or create who you are over time. The benefit
of developing good habits is that it creates and define good attributes in you
over an extended period of time. A good habit is like interest building in a
bank. Over time, the interest continues to grow without much effort on your
part. Likewise, a good habit continues to develop character and attributes in
you, without much concentrated effort.
good habits also takes the “work” out of doing the things that you want to do. When
something becomes routine or automatic, it no longer becomes work. It is just
something you do. Being able to routinely perform activity or tasks without
much effort allows you to put your energy and focus into other areas of life. Developing
good habits gives you the benefit for accomplishing more with less effort.
And Time Is The Key To Good Habit Forming
a good habit may take longer than you think. When developing a new habit, the
general rule of thumb has been about 21 days. This time frame was developed
from Dr. Maxwell Maltz work in the 1960’s with amputees adjusting to the loss
of a limb.
a more recent study from Lally et al, entitled How are habits formed:
Modeling habit formation in the real world, indicates that it takes an
average of 66 days for an activity to become “automatic”. The study also indicated that missing a day
did not lead to negative effects to developing your habit, but that the more
repetitions earlier in your development produced larger effects.
good habits is both a marathon and a sprint. Start your habit forming strong
with consistent repetitions in those first few weeks. Then turn your eyes to
the horizon and settle in for the time that it will take to develop your habit.
New Habits to Start in the New Year
are lots of good habits that you should develop for yourself. Here are few that
you should consider:
Instead of setting a goal of losing weight try setting a habit goal exercising 30 minutes a day. This is the obvious good habit that you should be developing. The American Heart Association states that you can significantly improve your cardiovascular health with just 30 min of exercises a day. Even if this 30 min is broken into 10 min periods. Developing a habit of a daily walk can significantly impact your health and mindset.
This habit is not flashy, or exciting, or particularly fun. But it’s absolutely necessary. Start small and save a specific amount each week. Then build to a particular amount each month or a certain percentage each year. Building this habit can have lasting rewards for years to come.
Reading More Books
Developing the habit of reading 15 min each day can lead to all kinds of benefits for you. Daily reading can increase memory and vocabulary or decrease stress and anxiety. With only 15 min of reading a day, you can easily read 1-2 books a month or 12-24 books a year. Imagine the benefit of learning new skills for recreations and work, or understanding a new topic, or developing a better imagination, all from 15 min a day.
Waking Up Early
This is a difficult habit for me. I am a night owl by nature but creating a morning routine has helped me get mornings off to a better start. Getting up early in the morning is not natural for everyone, but is a habit that can be developed. Start by setting your alarm 15 min earlier than usual. Every 1-2 weeks move your alarm back another 15 min until you reach your desired wake up time. Waking up early can benefit your health, energy, productivity and motivation.
Pay Attention To Your New Habits to Start in the New Year
good habits you decide to develop will be worth the invested time. The
important part is to pay attention to the habits that you are developing.
Start today, and make a note of all the habits that you find yourself routinely doing throughout the day. Is this habit something you want to keep? If not, start a better habit and begin the process of redesigning your life.
Designing Your Life means Setting Priorities in Life
Designing your life means setting priorities in life. This allows you to focus on what is important to you, to determine what is urgent and needs your attention, and to cut through the clutter that is keeping you from achieving your goals. Figuring out your priorities means you identify what is truly important for you and, therefore, dedicate your time to those tasks, experiences, and people that fulfill your values and beliefs.
Let me give you an example, when I started my own business I wanted to make my family a bigger priority. One of my priorities was having dinner at home with my family every night. This may seem like a small thing to you but to me it was important. You see previously I had been working in downtown Orlando at a college, often I’d have to stay for the evening classes and it was difficult to get home for dinner with my family. I was setting priorities in life that benefited me and my family.
Designing Your Life Means Setting Priorities in Life
Today’s society pulls you in many different directions. It demands you pay attention to a lot of things, and it tries to convince you that all of these things are urgent and necessary. This places you in a perpetual cycle of reacting to things rather than proactively planning how you spend your time. There is tremendous pressure today to put others’ priorities before your own and learning to place your own needs above others is an essential life skill.
This type of focus on other peoples’ demands and needs can quickly lead to disillusionment and dissatisfaction in life. Your priorities get lost in the shuffle, and you are left wondering where in your life there is room for you.
When you learn to shift your life’s priorities back to what is important to you, you are exercising personal choice and living your life in harmony with your own values and goals. So, where do you start when placing priority on yourself?
Step 1. Get Clear About What’s Important to You
Recently, I have started prioritizing my day on Evernote. Below I have used the templates feature to create a simple priority matrix to follow each day.
Here’s what that looks like.
Each day I figure out my #1 thing. Currently, I am working on a new book so this is my #1 Thing. I spend at least 1 hour on this each day. Next I look at my client work that must be done. These are my money making activities. For you it may be other aspects of your job that you list here. After that I plug in those errands that need to be ran. These usually involve driving somewhere. My habit goals are the tasks I give myself each day and this area is a place to remind myself.
My book is called the Design Your Lifestyle Roadmap and I hope to have it done before the end of 2019. I have been playing with how to add this priority matrix into the book. You can download a 2 page weekly spread of how I am thinking of adding it into the book. I’d love your feedback as well. I will put instructions of how to reach me in your download.
Take some time that is just for you and use it to clear your mind and figure out what’s important to you. What do you need to be happy and healthy? What is of utmost importance to you aka your #1 thing? How do you want to live that feels like you are a priority? What habit goals do you want to incorporate into your life.
In the process of designing your life, write it all down, focusing on what is most important to you and what you think will make you most proud years down the road. Don’t concentrate on feasibility or resources or anything else. Just focus on what’s important to you right now. Whittle this list down to your top three to five most important goals. That’s where you need to be spending more time.
Step 2. Inventory Your Time
For one week, write down all your activities. Everything you do in a day, document it. At the end of each day, make a note next to everything you did that is aligned with something you identified as important to you. Everything you make notes on is when you are placing yourself as a priority. Everything else needs attention.
Step 3. Get Rid of the Clutter
Not everything is urgent or necessary in your life. Look at your activities and determine where you are spending time that isn’t necessarily focused on your needs. Where can you delegate, where can you eliminate, and where can you get better organized to cut down on how long it takes you to do mundane or regular tasks? These are spaces for more room in your life, places where priorities have room to grow and breathe.
Add in more of the important things you identified in your reflection.
What do you want, and how can you start working to achieve that today?
Where does that fit into your schedule? If it doesn’t align with your priorities in your priority matrix then draw a line through it or delete it.
Make a date with yourself for designing your life and your priorities and keep the commitment to this time. Start small and work with your schedule over a week or two to see where new priorities are working and where you still need to de-clutter.
Step 4. Remember it’s a Journey
How can you begin setting setting priorities in life?
Prioritizing yourself comes with emotions with which you may need to deal. Guilt and anxiety are two common reactions when prioritizing yourself. Change is gradual, and it will take time to find ways to make this new way of thinking work.
Give yourself a break and stick with it. Check in with yourself regularly to see how things are going, to see if you feel like there’s more room in your life for your priorities.
Be kinder and gentler with yourself, most of all, because you are worth it.
Lifestyle Design offers us a unique opportunity to care for and make ourselves a priority. This feeling of being lost can be driven by some factors ranging from not working in the “right” career to making the wrong choice to live in a particular town or state.
Every day, we make decisions that we think will align with what is we want to do, who it is we want to be, or where it is we want to go only to find that we may not be living the life we were meant to live or being the real self that we are supposed to be.
Studies show that in 2017, only 50 percent of Americans were satisfied with their job. Although these levels are the highest they have been since 2005, the reality is that there is still a significant number of adults out there who are not happy with what it is they do.
These statistics only shed a small bit of light on the story. Although half of those surveyed were satisfied with the job they do, there’s another half of the American population who is not so happy for a variety of reasons.
Dave Evans and Bill Burnett of Stanford University in their book, Designing Your Life suggests that for each of us to own our design, we must first do a little work to understand if we are where it is we are supposed to be.
Knowing your self by design requires having a self-awareness of who you are and creating a design based on multiple ideas about who it is you want to be and what it is you want to do on a professional and personal level. To be self-aware means to have a clear perception of your personality, your strengths, your motivations and a keen perception of how others view you.
Willingness to Test Your Theories about Who You Think You Are and Who You Want to Be
We all walk around with an idea of who it is we want to be and the things we want to do, but some of us are not so good at acting on those thoughts. Owning your design requires you to take a chance and test your theories about what your passions are and those “if..then” statements.
For example, if I open my own physician practice, I will be far happier than working shifts in a hospital. If I start that coffee house business I have been dreaming about for the last ten years; it will be far better than working for someone else and building their dreams.
Designing yourself requires you to take action to validate our perceptions about one’s self.
2. Envision Three Scenarios for your Future
Bill Burnett and Dave Evans suggest that you should consider three ideas for your life before taking the plunge. This action is particularly important if you have several ideas of what it is you want to do. First, you should take action to redesign your career if professional or some part of your life if personal that allows you to experience the things you enjoy most. This action will enable you to determine if your self-assessment is accurate or if you are moving down the wrong path.
Determine Your Alternate Life
Imagine what you would do if your current life or job went away and you could no longer work in the role you have been in for years. Is there a different job you would perform? Think of this as your “ultimate job.” What is the thing you would do that in place of this?
3. Fascination Lifestyle
This final approach is perhaps your most accurate life design. What would you do if you did not have any financial worries? Imagine a world where you did not have to worry about the rent, mortgage, car note, or grocery bill each month. You have all of the money the world. Now what? What is it that you would do to achieve fulfillment.
Once you envision these three scenarios, your goal should be to reach out to someone who is living the life you aspire to live in one of these three areas.
Once you have those discussions or perhaps even experience a day in the life of someone else experiencing your impending design, you have to the option to make one of them your own.
Each of these steps in the Designing Your Life approach will help you to establish your life by your own design and not someone else’s.
Are you wondering why you should design your lifestyle?
I had the most amazing walk today. I saw two alligators and a scarlet tanager apparently they migrate through Florida in October. I learned this from a bird watcher. Who was happy to share his lovely discovery with me.
Why do I share this with you? This is part of how I have designed my lifestyle. I have designed my life to include a morning walk. Sure there are other ways to get exercise but my favorite is getting outside and enjoying nature. I get my best ideas while walking. What’s your favorite way to exercise?
I am naturally an introvert but many times, I force myself to be more introverted for various reasons. Taking a morning walk helps me wake up and lets me gradually greet people as I do. Like striking up conversation with the bird watcher.
Why Should You Design Your Lifestyle?
Time Magazine reports findings from the Harris Poll, which has conducted happiness surveys for many years, and of the 2202 Americans surveyed in 2017, only 33% said they were happy, in 2016 that number was only 31%.
“Distraction and a lack of control may be part of the reason why only about a third of Americans say they are happy,” says John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Polls.
Choosing to shape your own life, to design your lifestyle the way you want to live, provides you with the power and capacity to achieve your dreams. Deliberately designing and planning your best life means you can carefully choose among the best possible options, you can achieve your dreams, and you have control over what happens to you and what you do in life.
“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.” Virginia Woolf
Your Greatest Life Cannot Happen by Accident.
Shaping your life is a process that follows many principles, but ultimately, it is about taking the time to discover what you believe at your core and what you really want to achieve in life, then designing a road map to help you reach all your dreams.
This process guides you through consideration of all the important aspects of life, not just your job or your financial future, and helps you identify all of the many components of a happy, healthy life.
What Science Shows Us
Patrick Hill, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, evaluated data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study.
They looked at how more than 6,000 study participants answered questions such as, “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them,” and others that aimed to gauge both negative and positive emotions.
The results showed that fourteen years after the survey questions were answered, those study subjects who reported “a greater sense of purpose and direction in life were more likely to outlive their peers.” In fact, people with a sense of purpose had a 15 percent lower risk of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s.” Here is the the article People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer
In 1979, Harvard Business School began a study on goal achievement where MBA graduates were asked if they had designed a roadmap for goal achievement by writing down their goals and creating a plan for attaining them.
Just 3% of the graduating class wrote down their financial goals along with a plan to achieve those goals.
13% of the class had written goals but without an action plan to achieve them.
The remaining 84% of the class had set no specific financial goals or plans.
Fast-forward to 1989, the study subjects were contacted and revealed their progress in life.
The 13% of the class which had written goals but not developed a roadmap for achieving them were making twice as much money as the 84% group which had no identifiable goals in mind.
More importantly, the 3% of graduates who wrote down their goals and designed a roadmap were making a staggering 1,000% more money than the 84% group, and 500% more than the 13% segment.
This shows the incredible power of living by design.
When you design your lifestyle, you allow yourself to explore and connect with the many facets of life that bring you joy, meet your needs, and ignite your interests and passions. It is a deliberate and proactive approach to living that places the control firmly in your grasp and allows you to gain everything you want.
Taking Control and Being Proactive
Designing and actively shaping your life is proactive. It means you think ahead, anticipate possible problems, have solutions in mind for when things go wrong, and are in active control of your efforts toward achieving your dreams. It is a take-charge way of approaching existence that allows you to play an active role in how your life unfolds.
Many people choose to play the victim in life. They wait for bad things to happen, then they wonder why there is nothing good in life. Their lives are reactive, always responding to the world around them. And most of these people have very little understanding of what they really want out of life.
Designing your life helps you accept responsibility for yourself and your actions, provides you with a framework for getting to know yourself to determine your beliefs and goals, and gives you the tools you need to succeed in the face of setbacks and failures.
When you shape your existence around your values and dreams, you can live a life of fulfillment and contentment. You can achieve self-actualization and achieve true happiness, as you have the tools to identify what you want as well as the personal strength to achieve them.
A solid life strategy must be based on a foundation of essential elements in order for it to be successful. We’ll next explore these crucial components to help you start your life design journey with the right mindset and commitment.