“Don’t give up what you want most for what you want right now.” ~ Lynn Mitchell
The hardest part about lifestyle design is keeping your eye on the bigger picture. Your friends won’t be changing along with you; they may not even agree with your lifestyle goals. So comparing yourself to them in terms of what they buy, where they live, and how they spend their time is pointless.
Easier said than done, right?
We are all social animals and we want to fit in. I mean, why else would we have worn legwarmers over our jeans in grade school? Or hairsprayed a hole in the ozone layer creating that perfect wall of bangs in junior high?
Adulthood is no different. It’s called “keeping up with the Jones’s.”
When you decide on a lifestyle change, you have to be comfortable with the transition from your current lifestyle to your new lifestyle. And because birds of a feather flock together, you are faced with looking at your “old” lifestyle on a daily basis by watching your friends.
This can be tough.
If your goal is to start your own business, you have to devote the time to creating your product/idea and finding sources of funding. This is probably in addition to your day job, so your social life will fall off dramatically for a while. Your friends may be at the beach every Saturday while you are working on a business plan to show to the bank. They may even stop inviting you because you always say no.
Your goal may be to work part-time while making the same income you do now full-time. In order to do that, you have to research options for producing a higher income or go back to school. To get to that part-time work life, you’ll have to essentially work double-time for a while.
Maybe you want to stay home with your young children. You may have to forego the conveniences like Friday night pizza and new work clothes for a while to pay down your bills and adjust your lifestyle so you can afford to stay home. You won’t be the same as other working moms, but you won’t be quite the same as a stay-at-home mom, either. It will be hard to find support during your transition.
In all 3 examples above, you can easily focus on what you are giving up. But for a successful lifestyle design, you have to keep your eye on the big picture and what you will obtain.
- Can you give up most evenings and weekends for a year to launch your dream business?
- Would you spend your free time over the next 2 years upgrading your skills or investing in an automated business that will allow you part-time work for the rest of your life?
- How much effort would it take to cut back and pay off debt over 2 years so you could stay home with your kids for the next 12 years?
It is not enough to simply have a lifestyle dream. You have to take action with specific steps, milestones, and time-lines to make it happen.
If your goals are extreme, you may want to break them down in stages. It is a lot like weight loss. If you need to lose 50 pounds it can seem overwhelming. But if you break it down into 10% goals, you can achieve success.
If you find you are not ready to make changes or take action to get what you want, you may not have hit on the right lifestyle goal. We are conditioned to say we want certain things because society says we should. But when you follow your heart the sacrifice is easier because the goal is irresistible to you, no matter what anyone else thinks.
What does your ideal lifestyle look like? Are you on your way to creating it? What is the hardest part for you? Please join the discussion in the comments.
Betsy Talbot writes about carving the lifestyle you want out of life you already have. When she’s not writing, she’s paring down, saving up, and getting ready for a year of travel with her husband.