This weekend in the US we’ll be celebrating our national independence with fireworks, BBQs, and leisure activity with family and friends. We celebrate on July 4 because this is the date the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. This was when we said “no more” to living by someone else’s rules.
Think about that for a minute.
Are you living by someone else’s rules?
We all have basic rules to live by, essentially the ones you learned in kindergarten. But there is a lot of room out there when it comes to the lifestyle you life, the people you call your friends, the work you choose to do, and the way you contribute (or not) to the world around you.
Did you consciously choose the life you are living today, or was it designed by someone else? Maybe you feel like you just sorta fell into it.
Do you love what you do, who you do it with, and the environment in which you do it? Or are you waiting for a point in time – when your parents are gone, the kids are grown, you make X more dollars, or the debts are paid off – to really start living the life you want?
How setting a date can accelerate change
We all have good intentions. I mean, no one wants to be fat, broke, surrounded by clutter, or in a dysfunctional relationship. But sometimes we end up in one of those scenarios, mainly due to not making conscious decisions to do or be something else.
That’s why setting a date for your Personal Independence Day can motivate you to change what you don’t like about your life. More important, it reminds you that you should take the reins in your life, not your mother, your boss, your significant other, or the advertisers in magazines.
The change can be small or large (or a small change that seems large – that is what caffeine is for me). It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have set the date when you are going to make big strides in taking back that area of your life.
The biggest Personal Independence Day for us is October 1, 2010, the date we leave on our round-the-world adventure. We’ve known this date for almost 2 years now, and it has motivated us to save, downsize, and plan for our trip in small and large ways every day.
We have several smaller Personal Independence Days, too.
- Warren just rode naked in the Fremont Solstice Parade, which he committed to last year. He did this to confront his insecurities about what other people think.
- I ran a half-marathon on June 26 after registering (and committing) in November of last year. I did this to combat an unhealthy lifestyle and a ballooning waistline.
- We pledged in January to sell our house by June of this year, and we closed on May 18. This was our “jumping off the ledge” moment when we knew we were fully financially committed to this round-the-world adventure.
Making these kinds of commitments to yourself gives you something to work toward and a realization that you’ve done it. Without a deadline, you have no real incentive to make progress on your goals except for wishful thinking, and we’ve already learned how far that will get us.
Do you want to change the direction in some area of your life?
Guidelines for Setting Your Personal Independence Day
- Don’t overdo it – one goal at a time means you can put your full attention toward it.
- Give yourself a reasonable timeframe (you cannot safely lose – and keep off – 10 pounds in 10 days) and mark it.
- Work backward from your Personal Independence Day so you’ll know what tasks you need to complete by what dates to reach your goal and then mark those dates on your calendar.
- Make your goal measurable so you’ll know when you’ve completed it (“have a zero balance on my credit card by December 31, 2010”)
- Say it out loud – often and to many people. When people know what your goals are they will often help you along the way (or at least point out when you’re veering off the path).
What’s not working for you? Are you ready to declare your Personal Independence Day?
To our US readers, we wish you a very happy Independence Day holiday.