Thinking about redesigning your life is exciting, but for most of us it is overwhelming, too – so overwhelming that most of never make the leap to do it.
We envision our roadblocks much easier than we do the big dream, don’t we?
- Family obligations
- Peer pressure
- Fear of the unknown
First you start to fall
We stumbled into lifestyle design quite by accident. We were living in Massachusetts, both working hectic jobs that required a lot of travel.
At first this was exciting – a new marriage, great jobs, and a new location. But it didn’t take long for the new to wear off and reality to set in.
We were chained to our jobs to support the lifestyle we had created to reward ourselves for working the tough jobs.
It is a never-ending cycle, isn’t it?
We were one our way to a brick wall, both emotionally and financially, and without any sort of “lifestyle design” instruction or forethought we just decided to make a change.
Then you stumble into lifestyle design
When you reach a breaking point, decisions come easily.
We knew that we were unhappy with our work schedules, long commutes, and lack of quality time with each other (or quantity, for that matter). So we made a list of the ways we could change our lives to make those things better.
The first item was changing jobs. At the time, the job market was pretty good, and we soon realized we could fix the commute problem and the quality of life problem if we really focused on the job situation.
We opened up our search to other cities we found appealing from a lifestyle perspective. Instead of taking the first good job in one of our “dream cities” we evaluated the commute, what kind of neighborhood we wanted to live in, and how our lives would function with the job.
We finally ended up in Seattle, living in a house one-third the size of our old one, and giving up one of our cars and a bunch of our stuff. The change has been lifesaving, and my only regret is not doing it sooner.
That one exercise – making a list of the ways we could make our life better – set us on a path to question everything and continually make small and large decisions for a better life.
And if that isn’t lifestyle design, I don’t know what is.
Finally, stumbling turns into running
A lot has changed since that first conversation four years ago. We’ve got the best social life we’ve ever had, we’ve eliminated our debt, and we’ve started our own web design and business consulting company to help fund our upcoming 3-year trip around the world.
Did you see that one coming? Yeah, me neither.
But that’s the thing with stumbling into lifestyle design by just making one area of your life better. You move on to the next area, and maybe tackle a bigger part of your life. And then the next, and then the next. Pretty soon, that big dream you had that you never thought would really happen becomes a distinct possibility.
And before you know it, people are asking you about “lifestyle design” because they want some of what you’re having.
The next time you complain about some area of your life – love, money, work, leisure – take a minute to figure out what you could do in that one area to make a change in your level of happiness.
Before long you’ll start thinking this way about every decision, and you’ll have the focus and vision you need to truly create the lifestyle of your dreams.
Betsy Talbot is one-half of the blogging team at Married with Luggage. When she’s not writing, she’s saving up, paring down, and getting ready for a trip around the world with her husband Warren.
photo by Thomas Hawk