What a lot of us don’t realize is that we get caught up in being who we think we’re supposed to be. We work on owning the things we think we’re supposed to have. The job, the house, the spouse, the stuff… Then slowly, as we start to come down from the high of all of these things we start to feel unsatisfied and we’re not sure why. Sound accurate? Well, keep reading, I’ve compiled a list of 7 simple ways you can start to live the life you want.
Choose your biggest life goals
Take a moment alone to just dream. Let your thoughts totally wander. Start to imagine 3 things you know you want for your life. Try to get specific. In other words don’t use things like, happiness, money, health.
Those are all great things, but most people want those. What specifically do you want from your life?
Instead define what happiness means for you.
Explain what you want money for.
What does health mean? Physically? Mentally? Do you want to be able to run marathons or just enjoy yoga 3 times per week?
This method is one of the most effective strategies to helping you get intentional about what you want for your life. In fact, it’s so effective, this is the strategy I use when helping people learn how to spend money on their dreams.
Brain dump life goals
I know this process can be overwhelming, that’s why I encourage you to do a brain dump. A brain dump is as simple as taking a piece of paper and writing down every single thing that comes to your mind.
Set a 5 minute timer and allow yourself to just get all the thoughts from your head onto paper.
Once your 5 minutes are up, take the time to look at your list.
- Find recurring themes
- Notice which things pop up the most
- Write down the 3 things that continually showed up on your list
You could also try my Seven Times Why method for figuring out what you want from life.
Eliminate what you don’t want
So now that you’ve gone through the process of figuring out what you do want from your life, it’s time to evaluate your current situation.
What in your life is holding you back?
More importantly, what areas of your life are you putting money, time and energy into that are not helping you actually achieve these goals?
Here’s the thing: this is probably not going to be a quick fix. Chances are, you have some work to do to eliminate things from your life that are holding you back.
Now, if your husband doesn’t want to travel, but you do, does that mean you divorce him? He’s just dead weight? OR do you eliminate your preconceived notion that you have to do everything together?
Slow down the action process
The above example is why it is good to slow your role before you just jump into action. For anything. Yes, it’s good to take chances. It’s good to try new things. But first, slow down and ask yourself if that new thing or experience is actually something you want.
Do this with your current habits.
When you’re about to scoop up another cute item from the Target discount section ask yourself first, “Is this serving me? Did I need this before I came in? Does this help or hurt me when reaching my long-term life plan?”
If you’ve been dying to go to Fiji but you have $20,000 of debt, don’t just charge the trip and make it happen. Unless massive debt is a part of your life plan.
Trust me, you’ll take the trip, come back even pooer and the joy from that week in Fiji will be long-gone.
Instead, start a debt payoff plan and a Fiji savings plan! Or, start a debt payoff plan and start allowing yourself to enjoy a local beach more often.
Personally, I always dreamt of the RV life on the road. Instead, we’re living out of our minivan on weekends! Is it what I pictured? Nope. Is it helping me achieve the life of travel I set out to get? You betcha!
Keep your big picture in mind
Like I said, just because you wrote down that you want to travel doesn’t mean you should abandon your entire current situation and hit the open road. Sometimes it might require a plan. See The Bucket List Budget spending plan.
Other times it might require taking baby steps right now.
Do not sacrifice other areas of your life for one dream.
Always keep big picture plans in mind. Which is why it’s so good to slow down and really process your plan of action before you actually jump in and take action.
Otherwise, it’s all to easy to get caught up in that YOLO way of living that usually leads to broken dreams and tons of debt. No fun.
Stop committing to things you don’t want
Beyond money and stuff, it’s important to evaluate how you are spending your time. What commitments have you agreed to that might be taking time away from your big life goals?
Are you going out with a group of friends every Friday but really you want to be at home working on the photography career you long to have? If so, try switching to every-other Friday or opting out all together.
We (especially women) tend to overcommit our time and energy to people and causes we don’t really have a passion for because we don’t want to let others down. There is an unspoken obligation to show up and serve all the time.
Remember, in pursuit of your dream, you are going to disappoint a few people here and there.
Some things are a means to an end
Now, keep in mind, some goals require a commitment that you might not love. Like paying off debt. When we were in debt payoff mode, I still had the dream of traveling. Yes, we traveled locally and got outside more, but I didn’t love having to put all of our money toward debt instead of fun stuff for our family.
But, that short-term sacrifice on our part was ultimately a means to an end. Doing this allowed us to pay off debt quicker which ultimately allowed us to begin to travel quicker.
So if you hate going to your part time job that you are working at to help afford your night classes, remember, you are working toward a bigger goal. Don’t think of it as sacrifice. Think of it as a tool that is helping you build something you truly want.
Don’t overcomplicate the process
This one should have a big red siren on it (just for me). I am fantastic at overcomplicating things.
When I wanted to build my blog all I needed was a website and some blog posts. Right? Here’s what I thought I needed:
- New headshots
- Personal photographer
- High-tech digital camera
- Props for pictures
- An assistant
- Brand new laptop
- …and more
What I actually needed:
- Wonky iPad/keyboard setup
- 1 hour a day to write
Can I work toward those other things? Yes. Do I need them all right now? No.
Keep this in mind when you are pursuing your goals. As you work toward your dream, yes, you may need more things. But for right now, start with only what you need.
Whenever we think of all of the things we need both now and in the future, we tend to panic and not actually take action. This will be one of the biggest things that stop you from ever achieving the life you want.
When I stared homeschooling my kids, I panicked because I didn’t know how to teach high schoolers. Good thing I didn’t need to know that for another 10 years, huh? And you know what? I have learned how to teach 4th grade…and it was way different from kindergarten!
You will continue to grow and learn and eventually you’ll look back and realize you’ve accumulated stuff and knowledge along the way.
Stop looking outside yourself for happiness
Now, if you feel like you are in constant pursuit of the life you want because you feel deeply unhappy with who you are and where you’re at, the first thing to do is work on you.
Yes, all of these other things can help you pursue life goals and big dreams but not of them will satisfy if deep down you carry dissatisfaction with you.
My biggest recommendation is to practice gratitude every day. Try a Tony Robbins mediation.
Learn to accept and love yourself where you are, as you are and for who you are. You can go anywhere in life and do anything but there is one thing that will never change. You will always be with yourself. So learn to love you.