In a society obsessed with social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that some people live perfect lives. But let’s be honest, there is no such thing, regardless of what Instagram might show us. What there is though, are people who are intentional and live a life by design, and that can feel pretty close to perfect.
What is a life by design?
A life by design is a life that is created and intentionally cultivated so it aligns with their values and desires for their life.
It is conscious living rather than life by default.
Of course, a life by design is very personal and will look different for everyone. It requires a clear understanding of your life vision (i.e. how you want your life to be). It also requires self-awareness and ownership to understand where you are now and how to continuously make changes in your life so ensure your actions align with your values.
Now the great news is that anyone can stop living on autopilot and instead create a life by design. Here’s how…
Accept you are in control
Firstly, you need to acknowledge and accept that you, and you alone, are in control of your life.
Now for some, this idea is liberating. After all, it means we can control our own destiny!
But for others, there may be some overwhelming resistance to this idea. If you’re in the latter camp, please stick with me here.
I understand that not everything is within our control. How others treat us, global and economic circumstance and past events all fall into that category. But we do have the ability to choose how we respond to these things, as we have complete control over our actions and, with some training our thoughts and emotions as well.
Accepting this is crucial to being intentional, as it gives you control over your future and allows you to shape your life, rather than allowing life to shape you.
How to create your life by design
A life by design requires 5 key things:
1.Know what you stand for
Understanding your values and beliefs is essential to know what you want to cultivate in your life, and also what you want to avoid.
If you are unclear on what your values are, here’s a list of core values.
Consider these and see what resonates with you.
Which of the values do you feel when you are happiest? And what characteristics do you value most in your relationships with friends and family?
2. Have a clear life vision for yourself
A life vision is the future you desire for yourself. It is about vision setting and giving your life the direction it needs, rather than about specific goals. You can find out more here.
3. Assess your life and how happy you are
Like any map, it is only useful if you know your destination (your life vision) and where are you are now, otherwise you don’t know where you’re navigating from.
Consider your life now and what is working for you and what isn’t? What do you want to do more of and what do you want to eliminate completely? Keep in mind, how do these actions, people and things align with the vision I have for my life?
4. Commit to improving your life
Start taking action to align your life with your values and life vision.
Remember you are in control of what you do and how you feel, so start making choices that reflect that. If you have a friend that always leaves you feeling deflated and you want to feel joyful, stop hanging out with that person.
If you want to have a career that’s flexible and gives you time for other pursuits, start carving out time to pursue those other interests. Talk with work and see how you could structure your week to find some more ‘me’ time. It could be working from home or starting and finishing earlier.
The options are endless so stay in action and keep exploring opportunities and challenging your own norms to create better alignment.
5. Regularly review, refine and re-assess
Schedule time to regularly review, refine and re-assess. For some, this might be daily and for others quarterly.
The key is to take consistent action knowing that this is an ongoing process for living a life by design. A life that is intentional and brings you joy.
Remember, anything is possible for you and your life. And you alone can make your dream life a reality through conscious creation and committing to take consistent action to reflect, improve and realign.