Are you stuck in a rut? Want to change your life but aren’t sure in what way? Or maybe you know exactly what you want, but don’t know where to start?
Well, you’re in good hands! In this post, I’ll help you see how you can start creating the life of your dreams by discovering what it is you really want and creating an action plan to make it yours. But be warned…This is not an overnight thing: You gotta be in it for the long haul.
If you believe you deserve better; if you dream of living life your way; if you want to live that elusive BEST LIFE and are ready to rock your world, then join me:
Because what if, in 2 years time, everything you dream of could be yours?
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You have a choice!
I spent years dreaming about the life I’d live one day, imagining that ‘change your life’ scenario, like winning the lottery, or finally working out what I’d like to be when I grow up (!) The trouble is, I wasn’t totally unhappy in my life situation, which I think enabled me to meander along, smelling the roses and whatnot, confident that I would end up where I needed to be.
Then one day, I was having a conversation with someone I have known for a long time who said:
“The thing is we none of us really have choices, that’s what we all need to learn…do you think I’d be doing this job if there was another choice? This isn’t what I want, this is just how life is.”
I felt sad and surprised to hear this, I knew plenty of people who maybe weren’t where they truly wished to be in life, but had never considered that they might genuinely feel that they have no choice in the matter.
It got me thinking…do I have a choice? Could I be doing things maybe a little differently? Life is pleasant enough, but do I want to look back on my life and have the word “pleasant” be the best I can muster up to describe it??
I want my life to be EPIC! I want to live joyfully and spherically, reaching out in all directions, not plod along this linear timeline to my ultimate end pleasantly! (And also, shhhhh…I’m not getting any younger as the years roll on – it is just possible that I don’t have all the time in the world to get my shiz together!)
So I set myself a deadline:
2 years to change my life. 2 years to get myself sorted and in the right place for me.
Because I started in 2018 and thus have until ooh, roughly the middle of the year 2020 to make it happen, I call this my ‘2020 Vision Challenge’.
To have 20/20 vision means to have clarity of sight – and I have never had a clearer vision of how I want my future to be.
I am not even halfway through and can’t tell you how different my life is already, and I’ve barely scratched the surface – my whole perspective has changed, I’m happier than ever, and I have absolutely zero doubt that I will get to where I want to be by the end of this challenge.
Ready to join me? Want some clarity and 2020 Vision of your own?
So how do we get started?
Start at the finish
‘Beginning with the end in mind’ is a personal development technique best known as the second habit in Steven Covey’s book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.
It is a powerful visualisation practice which can really help you gain some clarity on where you want to be in life. The idea is that you work backwards and take a look at your life from the perspective of having reached the end of it:
Assuming you continue on the path you are currently on, will you be able to look back on your life and say you lived it to the best of your ability? If the answer is no then we need to fix that!
OK, so now imagine for a moment that you have reached the end of a rich and full life, the best expression of what you are capable of, and now, ready to shuffle off this mortal coil, you are filled with the joy of the knowledge that you did good.
What does that life look like? Your ‘no regrets’ life? If you could have it your way, what would you change?
What would your life look like now if there were no limits?
This seems like an obvious thing to say, but in order to change your life, to live your dream life, you need to know what it is. This is something that I actually struggled with, I knew I wanted things to be different, but couldn’t decide what that ‘different’ was.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
My problem wasn’t that I had no idea what I wanted, more that I wanted so much… and those dreams were not necessarily compatible!
Because y’know, I kinda want to live in a handmade eco cabin in the woods, but I also want to live in my van and travel the world, nomad style…
I also want to live by the sea, but then sometimes I think it would be awesome to live on a canal boat…
I want the solitude of wild expanses and open spaces with not a dwelling in sight, but I also want to help and be around people and feel connected.
I have gradually come to see that I can do anything I want… but not everything I want.
So I narrowed it down:
I want to blog, travel, spend time with loved ones, provide my children with a broader education than the national curriculum has to offer, live as sustainably as I can, and one day live in a home I have helped to design and build myself.
Make a list of ALL the things you want from life, and then prioritise. Pick what is most important to you at this moment and go from there.
I heartily recommend Marianne Cantwell’s spectacular book, ‘Be a free range human’ if you are struggling with your ‘what’, it’s an excellent read which is packed with thought-provoking jump offs to help you explore possible directions to suit you. (In fact, if you are considering making a career change, then I INSIST you read this….seriously! It’s solid GOLD!)
Know that it’s OK to change your mind!
The beauty of taking control of your own life is that nothing has to set in stone. You are building a life that will fit you as you grow, pick a path that appeals to you, for whatever reason, if it’s better than the one you are on you can’t go wrong.
You are in control. Just as you are making the decision to change your life now, you can do so again later if you find something else which is a better fit.
Just decide. Just get going already!
Think of that ‘no regrets’ life you want to be able to look back on at the end of it all, I promise you the whole of the universe is begging for you to close your eyes and take the leap of faith!
Spend a little time figuring out your ‘what’, and when you are ready, you’ll want to get to grips with your ‘why’.
Related reading: Intentional Living – Live a Life that’s True to You!
Know Your Why
Why? Why do you want this change?
Get a notebook, scrap of paper, open your laptop, whatever, and just write:
Write down why you want this change in your life. What it represents, immediately and longer-term, how you will feel when you’ve reached your goal, anything goes, just brain-dump…
If it helps at all to have an example, mine goes a little like this (if not feel free to read on, I won’t take it personally, haha!):
“I want to live the best possible version of my own life. I want to work doing something that brings me joy and be able to do it from anywhere. I want to able to swim in glorious pools of clear blue water and see and taste and smell all the wonders the world has to offer. I want to celebrate the changing of the seasons, I want to wander and delight in my senses. I want to educate my children in the areas that matter – to them and to their futures. I want to connect with and add value to the lives of other like- minded souls, creating a community of life spotters, unafraid to go after their dreams. I want to live in a treehouse, or an earthship, or a cabin in the woods, surrounded by nature. I want personal freedom and the life I design.”
This then has formed the basis of every decision I have made since then.
Know your why, seriously, write it out and stick it somewhere you can’t miss it, make it part of your life, read it as part of your morning/evening ritual, and LIVE and breathe it. Let it become such a part of you that you are already living this life.
Decide, Plan, Act
DECIDE to do this
Pleeeeeeease! Change your life! Let’s live the lives we deserve! In some respects, deciding to commit to change is the hardest part. It takes guts to admit that you are not in the place you want to be, whether that is the wrong job, house or even relationship, recognising that things could be better means admitting that they are not good enough as they are, and it could be that you have invested a lot of time and energy into them already. But that is no reason to waste further time on them now.
That said, in other respects, the ‘deciding’ is the easiest part…as this is only the beginning, and next comes the hard graft. Yup, ‘fraid so. Sorry if you were hoping this was going to be a magic wand answer to all your questions, a quick fix, skip right to your dream life kinda deal. You are actually going to have to work to get to where you want to go.
And that is OK. Because you know what’s worse?
Living a life that isn’t your own. Waking up every day feeling just a bit “meh” about it all. Going to work at a job you don’t really love, just to make enough money to pay for the childcare you need so you can go to said pants job, and the rent/mortgage on a home you are never in. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Yuck. THAT is hard work. Freeing yourself from this cycle isn’t hard work. Not in the same way. It may take time, you’ll probably need to learn some new skills, or devote a lot of yourself to this, but it’s going to be soooo worth it. Think of it as an investment, you are investing your time and energy in order to bring about a better life for yourself.
Write out a calendar for every month between now and your end date 2 years from now. Plan out the key developments you’d like to see and note them down in the month you’d like to see them occur. If you want to have achieved a promotion by this time next year, put it in the calendar, give yourself a deadline to excel and impress.
If you want to leave the hustle and bustle of city life and relocate to the rolling fields and meadows of the countryside (or vice versa – Perhaps you feel bored and isolated in the sticks and yearn for the lights and sounds of a more cosmopolitan setting…) Pick a month you want to have set the ball rolling. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will have moved in by this point but have an idea of when you would want that to happen and work back from there. Arrange to go and see some properties in your chosen area, really fine tune your vision, have all the particulars in place. This will make it so much easier for you to reach your goal.
If you see yourself achieving financial independence in 2 years time, then work back from that date and factor in all the steps you’ll need to take to make that happen, work out how much money you need to earn or put aside each month, research stocks, work on generating your passive income, whatever your deal is, plan it out over your 2 year time frame and then break it down into smaller steps.
The Devil’s in the details…
The more detail you can cover in your life plan the better, but bear in mind that the real results come from action. DO NOT spend your 2 years working out the hows and wherefores! I love a good list, the planning stage of any project is my happy place, because it feels like you are taking action, but in a really low commitment way, so you get to feel all smug and proud of yourself without getting your hands dirty.
Alas, I’m afraid nobody ever got where they wanted to go by sitting still. Work on your plan, but not to the expense of it ever getting off the ground. The goal is to break down what is likely a fairly hefty chunk of work into smaller, actionable tasks so that each month you can see the progress you are making towards making alllllll your dreeeeams come true.
“Plan your work, work your plan” Napoleon Hill…or Norman Vincent Peale…or Marv Levy…opinion seems to be divided! Whoever first came up with this quote, it’s a goodun.
You need to do the work. Simple. If you want to change your life, then you need to make these changes happen. If you have the determination and drive and desire to really see these changes then you will succeed. You will make this happen because now you have decided you won’t be able to rest until you have fulfilled this aim.
It’s pretty hard to get from A-Z, but pretty easy to get from A-B. Just keep doing that, over and over, one step at a time, until you reach your goal.