It’s a concept I have been learning about – slowly.
It’s a concept that is bringing freedom to my life.
It’s something I talk about often, but I wanted to define it a bit more, because it’s important.
Do you love your life?
I’m not asking you if your life is perfect. Nobody wants perfection anyways, not really.
But do you LOVE your life? Do you love it even when it’s messy? Do you love it even when you’re tired? Do you feel like you are living your purpose and honoring your priorities?
Let me tell you something, even just a few months ago I would have said no.
And still now, there are parts of my life that don’t line up with my intrinsic values and I feel the strain of that, but other than a few areas that need tweaking I can honestly say today, at this moment, I LOVE MY LIFE.
Every moment is full and it’s full of EXACTLY what I WANT to be doing. It’s fulfilling in the moment and it’s fulfilling because of what I’m building for the future.
It takes work to get to this point. It takes work to live by design, but it’s the MOST exciting work.
Here’s what we’ve done to design our life.
First: Evaluate Your Life
These are the main components of your life:
- #1: Physical Health
- #2: Emotional Health
- #3: Environment
- #4: Financial
- #5: Leisure/Fun
- #6: Friends/Family
- #7: Significant other
- #8: Purpose/Career
- #9: Personal Growth
- #10: Spiritual Growth
The first step we took to living a life by design was to figure out what is working and what isn’t working in each of these areas. We wrote out this list, and rated ourselves 1 – 10. We thought about and wrote down what we were doing well in each category and what we needed to improve or what we didn’t like about how that area of our life was looking.
Next, Fernando and I started dreaming about what our IDEAL life would look like, as we considered each category. So, for physical health, we would IDEALLY both be working out 5x a week, eating clean throughout the week – no sodas for him, less sugary treats for me. We made it as specific and ‘perfect’ as we could. Will we EVER get to this pie in the sky dream of being perfectly healthy specimens? Maybe, maybe not, but we need a LOFTY goal to shoot for. If we shoot for 3x a week we will probably only hit once or twice. The goals must be high, the dream must be big and perfect and absolutely the most spectacular life that we could possibly imagine.
Third: Start Small
There are 10 areas and as we evaluated we saw that we could grow and change in ALL of them to some degree, but when we went through, there seemed to be two key areas that we were weakest in, but were actually really important to us – those two were our relationship with each other and our finances. Having three kids under 4 years old is exhausting. At the end of the day the last thing we had energy for was looking at, tracking and staying on top of our finances – and making time for dates (or even conversations) was not easy. We realized that we were letting these two slide to a lower priority than they needed to be and we also saw that the consequences of letting these areas slip would be DEADLY – so we made these two areas our KEY priorities.
Starting with just two priorities helped us to focus and not get overwhelmed. Now that our intentions were set on those two areas, we remind each other, we ask each other how we are doing. We are on the same page and we are working together. Every week I ask myself: “What’s one thing I can do to strengthen my marriage this week? What’s one thing I can do to be better with our finances?”
This has led me to make small but significant changes.
For example, one thing I do to be more responsible with our finances is to not open the email advertisements from Anthropologie, Free People, Gap, J.Crew and other random clothing shops that I have somehow subscribed myself to (I should probably just unsubscribe from them all together, but I’m starting small). So for now, I just delete them, and I don’t even let myself look at them. The more I look, the more I see the words SALE, the more I keep my eye on those shoes, the easier it is for me to convince myself that I NEED it. It’s something small, but just by being mindful that this is an area I want to improve in, has made a big difference. Do not underestimate small actions done consistently over time.
Fourth: Be Brave
Living your life by design can sometimes lead you to some uncomfortable and unpopular places.
We decided that we were not happy with how many hours Fernando was working or how little we had each month to put away into savings (both our marriage and our finances were affected by this). So, I have been pushing even harder towards my goals as a Beachbody Coach – to help us be more financially stable, to free Fernando up to spend more time with the kids during these formative and fleeting years. It’s scary, it’s unconventional, it’s frowned upon and you get judged, but IT’S OUR LIFE.
We want what we want.
We have dreamed and in our ideal life we are TOGETHER. We are secure. We are generous. We are free to say YES to whatever God calls us to say YES to. We are free to support others. We aren’t so drained by work life that all we have time for is work and sleep. We aren’t so strapped for cash that we can’t say yes to go out to dinner with dear friends who need someone to talk to because we have no budget for it. We aren’t so stressed by life that we have no energy to think of others and give to others and support others.
This is the life we want. We start small, we make changes, we take risks and we are LOVING EVERY MOMENT. It just feels right to be working towards a life that you KNOW is consistent with who you are and what you believe.
I challenge you and encourage you to take the time, if you are married, sit down with your spouse and ask yourself: What would a life well-lived look like? What would my ideal life look like? What do I really want?
Because you only get ONE life – that’s it – this isn’t the dress rehearsal – this is the real thing!
Every day that goes by is a day you won’t get back.
It’s time to live by design.