MONDAY MOTIVATION: CAN YOU REALLY DESIGN YOUR LIFE?

Since my motto is design your life, just imagine me screaming through the computer screen at you, "Hell yes, you can really design your life!"

Sometimes, we get so accustomed to settling for the status quo that people try to serve us on a platter all day--from work, in your relationships, even at restaurants--that we forget our actual power in our lives.

What would your perfect day be like if money wasn't an issue? How would you design your life?

Sure, it's easy to keep doing what we've been doing because it's habit and it won't ruffle many feathers, but if you're not happy with those things, you can change them. 

Designing your life isn’t easy. What I've learned is that you need to be honest with yourself when answering these questions. Next you'll have to be bold, confident, and some might even say crazy enough to think that your dreams can come true. But then, you have to take action. You can't come to these conclusions and then go back to your old routine. And that's the trickiest part of all. The part that I've found challenging is to push myself (because most times we don't want to share our dreams with others) to take action and invest in yourself and make it happen. Because you know it can happen, you've seen other people--maybe you know them personally or maybe you don't--but you've seen them bust out and do their thing. (I can't wait to share on KW the inspiring stories of people I know who are designing their lives!)

So it can happen.  

It's funny because while I've been trying to figure out my purpose for years (literally years), I never thought all the reading and studying about creating a life you love, would actually be the stuff that I'd feel most compelled to share, and hopefully help, others do.

I only wish when I was a young writer, I had someone to help encourage me and really push me along in my craft. A whole lot of this is solo work, but it's also nice to be able to hear that the issues and challenges you're facing are also shared by others. We're really not alone.

It's amazing and inspiring to believe that you actually can design your own life.  Maybe you're one of the fortunate ones and your life is just how you like it, but I don't have enough fingers to count how many people I know would love to be living their dreams but they're too scared. It's time to shut that down. 

Straight from my notebook, here are the ways I've gleaned, and continue to use, to design my life with intention. This is no magic formula but it does work if you apply it and want that life you deserve enough. 

What matters to you? Do you want to be a happier person, or healthier, or wealthier? What brings you joy? whether it’s a process of simplifying, of productivity, of frugality, or of becoming happier. What do you love doing? Who do you love spending time with? Make a short list of four to five things.

What is your passion? Imagine that you could make a living doing something you love, what would that be? About a year ago I posted a graphic on Instagram about the intersection of what you love to do and what you can make money doing--that center is the sweet spot of designing your life. 

Design your day. This might seem silly, but if you really want to design your life, you should be able to say what exactly would happen in a typical day. This is all just visualization. Start with a blank slate and use the list of things you mentioned above and do what's important to you. Begin with your wake-up time and all the routines in between until bedtime: what are you doing all day? Are you busy with meetings? Creating things? Interacting with people? Working solo? Design it.

Here's a photo of the back of science fiction author Octavia E. Butler’s notebook. It’s an inspirational, handwritten note the author wrote to herself.

Handwritten notes on inside cover of one of Octavia E. Butler’s commonplace books, 1988. Octavia E. Butler papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Copyright Estate of Octavia E. Butler.

Handwritten notes on inside cover of one of Octavia E. Butler’s commonplace books, 1988. Octavia E. Butler papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Copyright Estate of Octavia E. Butler.

 

How will you get there? I know when I was designing my life there were lots of big adjustments I had to make. Things I had to stop and start. I cleaned out desks and closets and old energy. I still do this at least four times a year. I also had to change ideas about myself and break some habits. You may need to come up with a plan that will take six months, a year, maybe two years, but you can get there if you want it enough. 

Start. It's great to come up with a plan, but how many times have you hyped yourself up and then did nothing? Yep, me too. When I knew I had to start working out at last five days a week, I amped myself up and just started, figuring I'd just stick with it. But a few days in I found myself forgetting how many days I actually exercised. Wait, did I workout Tuesday and Wednesday or was it Sunday and Monday? I'm sure I excused myself from a few sessions. But I knew this lazy way of getting fit and keeping myself accountable (in my head) wasn't working. My solution? I made a calendar/chart and put it on the refrigerator, and every time I worked out I wrote it down, and when I didn't I'd put an X. Sounds elementary, but it kept me motivated to see more filled-in spaces than X's. Start with the changes you can make right away--the time you wake up and go to bed, for example, are probably under your control. Make room for the important things.

Long-term goals begin now, too. Big time changes might take longer to come to fruition, but they're possible. Make a plan and they key is to believe it can happen. Then, you know what to do: take action. 

Act as if. Write down your design for your life, including the parts where you've created your perfect day and how you are pursuing your passions, and refer to it often as you begin to implement your plans. Act like the life you want is already yours (because it really is!). 

After feeling like I had just fallen into a rut and into a life I had no hand in, when I set out my intentions and designed my life, things really started to change for me. You can have a life you love and putting in the work will get you there.

 

XO

KW