If you are anything like me then lifestyle design and having the freedom to live your best life is something you care deeply about. Designing your ideal life takes careful considerations of your values, needs, and wants. It requires you to do soul searching and take time to understand who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow.
The rollercoaster of lifestyle design
I’ve spent a lot of time doing just that over the years. It’s been a rollercoaster ride that has caused me lots of internal turmoil. There are moments of elation and clarity followed by self-doubt and a loss of direction. There will be days that I’ll wake clearly knowing what I want out of life. Then before the end of the afternoon, I’ll be completely lost and filled with self-doubt.
What I’ve learned through these reflections is that we are in a constant state of change. Our own thoughts and emotions influence us. Other times external forces impact our mental state. You will have bad days, good days, blah days, and a mix of days in between.
When it comes to lifestyle design and creating your ideal world, the road is rocky and filled with potholes (or for the Game of Thrones fans “the night is dark and full of terrors”). What is clear to me is that you must choose. You have to be willing to say “this is what I want my life to look like” and then go for it. You have to have optimism and confidence in yourself to chase after your ideal lifestyle.
Lifestyle design is a moving target
Also, you must recognize that your ideal lifestyle is not stagnant, but a moving target. Today my ideal lifestyle will look different as an unmarried man than it will when I have a family. Changing your mind is okay. We all do it. In fact, it is more worrisome if you don’t change your lifestyle design focus. It may mean you are stuck or not growing.
Recognize that your life vision will change due to internal forces but also external factors which may change it for you. My parents got a divorce when I was in high school which I couldn’t control. The way I spend time with my parents and family changed without my ability to control it. The only thing I control is my reaction and how I choose to spend time with each of them separately now.
The key is to not to take on a victim mindset. You may not be able to control external factors, but you can always control your preparation, reaction, and actions. Extreme Ownership is an idea from retired U.S. Navy Seal Jocko Willink on taking personal responsibility for how you respond to everything in your life. I believe it is crucial to understand this concept.
Painting the vision of your life
You are responsible for shaping your ideal life. You are the chief designer of your lifestyle and the one responsible for making it happen. External factors may change the materials you work with and force you to alter your initial vision, but that’s okay. If you are a painter and someone takes away your paintbrush become a finger painter, potter or graphic artist. Regardless of your tools, it is on you to achieve your dreams.
Every day I wake up and either make progress towards my ideal lifestyle or I don’t. At the end of each day, I track what went well and what didn’t. Am I better than I was yesterday? What is one thing I am grateful for today? How would I rate today? What are some key accomplishments from today?
I have a vision of my life 1-year, 5-years, & 10-years from now, when I’m 80, and when I’m dead. I recognize that what works for me will not work for everyone. Perhaps thinking about your legacy when you are dead is just too cringe-worthy and that is okay.
Growing into your ideal life
Now that you have a long-term vision of your ideal lifestyle, you must also focus on the shorter-term how. You don’t have to know every single step or understand exactly how you will get there. Though, you do need to focus on the small steps and tweaks that will get you closer to your designed lifestyle. Over time the compounding effect of small changes will cascade into something much greater than you could have dreamed.
This is how we as humans learn. When we are babies we learn to crawl, walk, and then run. We learn to brush our teeth and get dressed. Over time we build up more skills. Lifestyle design works the same way.
Every day (well almost) I either do yoga or run, read, journal, and reflect on my day. I’ve tried the miracle morning and doing all of these things at once, but it was too much. I made it a few weeks before I relapsed to my old ways. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Pick one small tweak stick to it as best you can and continue to build on your habits. You must take tangible steps each day, week, and month towards not just designing and architecting your ideal life, but building it.
Don’t worry, be happy
At the end of the day, you should be happy and content with yourself. While you will experience the ups and downs that are part of the human experience, you have to go to sleep remembering what you are grateful for.
Now go out and show the world how you lifestyle design… your way.