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 or start your own business, when [insert milestone here], you’ll have the freedom to make some changes.
But why wait for someday? Why put off your experience of the amazing life by design you were meant to live? You don’t have to wait. You can start living life by design in the way you desire today.
All it takes is a bit of a mindset shift, an open mind, and the willingness to try something new.
What Is Your Ideal Lifestyle?
Let’s start with the basics. What is living life by design, and how does it differ from how you’re currently living life? Living life by design means you’re purposefully designing each element of your world, from family, business, and friends toward your definition of success.
It doesn’t mean that your life is perfect, but it does mean that you’re living intentionally and with passion, knowing exactly 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 and mindset 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 strategy to your life, using the same principles that have helped world-famous designers find success through their contribution of impactful products.
Step #1 – Reflect
The first step in living life by design 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 desire to have in your life but that currently are not part of your life.
This might include acknowledgments to achieve, connections with family you want to pursue, a special interest project or two, volunteer opportunities, or a business idea you’ve been interested in.
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 freedom to spend one month a year traveling abroad with your family.
Step #2 – Envision
Once you have created a wishlist of things that would be part of your future ideal world, 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, what would a day in that ideal life look like for you? What interests you? What goals are you working toward achieving and what benefits do you expect to enjoy once you get there?
Where would you be? Who would join 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, take your excitement and 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 amazing 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 be limited by work.
Research and create a list of business ideas for how to generate passive income – things like investing in a real estate syndication or another investment opportunity, 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 dream for success, think about what would need to change 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 crazy 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 existence, 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 on to the others in your top three. Your goal will be to implement all twelve ideas within the next year, to create freedom and your #lifebydesign.
Step #5 – Refine
As you design and test out your ideas, check in with how each is going. If one isn’t working out or you determine it’s not 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 best way to make your ideas a reality, 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.
Live Life on Your Terms
Anyone can live a #lifebydesign. The problem is, most people live a life completely 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 and what success might look like for them.
Begin living your #lifebydesign today.
By going through these five steps, you’ll gain the awareness and form the vision you need to continually point your life in the direction of your ideal life and toward what feels like success for YOU. Have your vision of your ideal day be your North Star, guiding the decisions you make and how you spend your time each day.
Once you subscribe to the power and importance of creating a life by design, you can be sure you’re always headed in the right direction and truly living no matter what.