Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? In it, Bill Murray stars as a TV weatherman who is caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day.
While this may seem like comedic fiction, the truth is, many of us are living life on autopilot. We wake up, grab a cup of coffee, drop the kids off, go to work, attend the same meetings every week, come home, cook, put the kids to bed, and exhaustedly catch up on our favorite shows before going to bed and repeating the same thing all over again.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Many of us are caught in a time loop, repeating the same things day after day, year after year.
Maybe you’re so busy that you feel like you’re treading water and getting nowhere. Maybe you figure, someday, when the kids are out of the house, when you get that promotion, when [insert milestone here], you’ll have the free time to make some changes.
But why wait for someday? Why put off the life you were meant to live? You don’t have to wait. You can start to live a #lifebydesign today.
All it takes is a bit of a mindset shift, an open mind, and the willingness to try something new.
What Is Life By Design?
Let’s start with the basics. What is life by design, and how does it differ from the life you’re living now? Living life by design means you’re purposefully designing each element of your life.
It doesn’t mean that your life is perfect, but it does mean that you’re living intentionally and that you know where you want to go.
Rather than going through the motions of climbing the career ladder without knowing your ultimate goal, living a life by design means you know exactly where you’re headed and the lifestyle that you want to have.
Rather than following the traditional narrative of getting married, buying a house, and having kids, living a life by design means you’re making those choices in whatever order and timeline make sense for you.
In this article, we’ll loosely apply the design thinking framework to your life, using the same principles that have helped world-famous designers create life-changing products.
Step #1 – Reflect
The first step living a #lifebydesign is to take stock of where you currently are. Create a list of things you love about the life you’re living today. Then, create a list of things you’d like to have in your life but that currently are not part of your life.
For example, perhaps you love the quiet mornings you have right now, where you get to meditate and exercise. Perhaps one thing you would like to have in your life but don’t currently have is the opportunity to spend one month a year traveling abroad.
Step #2 – Envision
Once you have a wishlist of things that would be part of your future ideal life, take a moment to clearly envision what an ideal day would look like for you. If you could get rid of all the limitations of your current life and dream big about your future life, what would a day in that ideal life look like for you?
Where would you be? Who would be around you? What would you be doing? Start from the beginning of the day, and picture the day as clearly as possible, all the way through the end of that day.
Then, create a vision board that includes snippets of your #lifebydesign. Glue a photo of you to the cover of Time magazine, find and cut out pictures that show the view from the balcony in Greece where you want to spend your summers, or write a check to yourself for $1 million, dated 5 years from now.
If you never dream it, you’ll never achieve it. So dream big.
Step #3 – Brainstorm
Once you have a sense of what your ideal life would look like, it’s time to start working backward. Determine your freedom number – the amount of money you would need to generate in passive income per month in order to be able to fund your ideal lifestyle without having to work.
Research and create a list of ideas for how to generate passive income – things like investing in a real estate syndication, writing a book, creating an online store or affiliate business, creating an online course, and more.
Simultaneously, brainstorm a list of ideas for ways you can start to bring bits of your ideal lifestyle into your current life. For example, if traveling one month out of the year is part of your ideal lifestyle, think about what would need to change in your life to make that happen. Would you need to find a different job? Explore low-cost lodging options like home exchanges? Connect with others who are currently living your ideal life?
Create a list of as many ideas as you can.
Step #4 – Build
Once you have a list of ways to fund your ideal lifestyle through passive income and a list of ideas to start bridging the gap between your current and ideal life, it’s time to start testing and building out those ideas.
Look through your list and choose your top 12 ideas. Why twelve? Because there are twelve months in a year. Within those twelve, choose your top three. And within that top three, choose your top one idea. That’s the one you’ll implement immediately, within the next month.
Once you finish that one, move onto the others in your top three. Your goal will be to implement all twelve ideas within the next year, to create your #lifebydesign.
Step #5 – Refine
As you build and test out your ideas, check in with how each is going. If one isn’t working out or doesn’t seem like a good fit, iterate on and refine that idea. Think of alternatives, or try the next idea on your list.
Creating a #lifebydesign is a constant work in progress. As you try out different things, and as you and your life evolve, your ideal lifestyle might change as well. That’s why there’s no end to the #lifebydesign process. In fact, it’s not so much a process as a way of life.
As you iterate on the ideas, continually reflect on the current state of your life, gain clarity on your ideal lifestyle, and continually brainstorm new ideas and integrate those ideas into your life.
Anyone can live a #lifebydesign. The problem is, most people live a life on repeat, going through the motions of day-to-day life without ever looking up to think about the life that they really want to live.
Start living your #lifebydesign today.
By going through these five steps, you’ll gain the awareness and vision you need to continually point your life in the direction of your ideal life. Have your vision of your ideal day be your North Star, guiding the decisions you make and how you spend your time each day.
That way, you can be sure you’re always headed in the right direction and truly living a #lifebydesign.