Intentionally make a plan (or a design) for your life.
Time Magazine reports findings from the Harris Survey, which has conducted happiness studies for several years, and of the 2202 Americans surveyed in 2017, just 33% stated they enjoyed, in 2016 that number was just 31%.
” Distraction and an absence of control might become part of the reason that just about a 3rd of Americans state they enjoy,”John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Surveys.
Deciding to design the life you want to live, offers gives you the power and capacity to accomplish your dreams. The act of deliberately styling and planning of your best life implies you can proactively choose amongst the very best possible options, you can accomplish your dreams, and you have control over what happens to you and what you perform in life. Your greatest life can not occur by mishap.
Intentionally designing your life is a procedure that follows many concepts, however, ultimately, it is about putting in the time to find what you believe at your core and what you actually want to accomplish in life, then designing a strategy to help you reach all your dreams.
Investing time in yourself helps to guide you through the process of considering the many factors and crucial moments that haveshaped your life. This not focusing on just one area, sich as your finances, but multiple areas of your life that will help you be the best you today and to live a healthy life.
What The Science Reveals
Patrick Hill, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, evaluated data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) research study. They looked at how more than 6,000 study participants answered questions such as, “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them,” and others that intended to gauge both unfavorable and favorable feelings.
People with a sense of purpose had a 15 percent lower danger of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. In 1979, Harvard Organization School started a research study on objective accomplishment where MBA graduates were asked if they had actually designed a roadmap for goal achievement by making a note of their goals and developing a plan for attaining them.
- Just 3% of the graduating class jotted down their financial objectives in addition to a strategy to attain those goals.
- 13% of the class had actually written goals but without an action plan to achieve them.
- The staying 84% of the class had actually set no specific monetary objectives or plans.
- Fast-forward to 1989, the research study subjects were contacted and exposed to their progress in life.
- The 13% of the class which had actually composed objectives but not developed a strategy for achieving them were making twice as much money as the 84% group which had no recognizable goals in mind.
- More notably, the 3% of graduates who jotted down their goals and created a game plan were making a staggering 1,000% more cash than the 84% group, and 500% more than the 13% sector.
The Amazing Power of Living by Design.
When you create your life, you allow yourself to explore and connect with the many elements of life that bring you joy, satisfy your needs, and ignite your passions and interests. It is a proactive and intentional approach to living that puts the control securely in your grasp and enables you to acquire whatever you want.
Taking Control and Being Proactive.
Creating and actively shaping your life is proactive. It suggests you plan ahead, prepare for possible issues, have options in mind for when things fail, and remain in active control of your efforts towards attaining your dreams. It is a take-charge way of approaching existence that permits you to play an active function in how your life unfolds.
Many people pick to play the victim in life. They wait on bad things to take place, then they question why there is nothing good in life. Their lives are reactive, always reacting to the world around them. And the majority of these people have really little understanding of what they really want out of life.
Designing your life helps you accept responsibility for your actions, supplies you with a framework for getting to know yourself to identify your objectives and beliefs, and offers you the tools you need to be successful in the face of problems and failures. When you form your presence around your dreams and worths, you can live a life of satisfaction and contentment. You can accomplish self-actualization and achieve real happiness, as you have the tools to determine what you want in addition to the personal strength to accomplish them.
A strong strategy to design your life must be based on a foundation of essential elements in order for it to be effective. We’ll next explore these crucial components to assist you to start your life design journey with the ideal state of mind and dedication. Creating and actively forming your life is proactive. It is a take-charge method of approaching existence that enables you to play an active function in how your life unfolds.
Numerous people choose to play the victim in life. They wait for bad things to happen, then they question why there is absolutely nothing excellent in life. And most of these people have really little understanding of what they truly desire out of life.
Key Elements of a Solid Life Strategy
Your life strategy is specifically shaped by your values, beliefs, goals, desires, and needs and all the decisions you make about how you will spend your time, money, and energy. Wanting to succeed and be happy is simply not enough. Like anything worth getting in life, you need a strategy for how to achieve it.
Dreams are great, but without a plan, they will forever be unattainable.
A successful life strategy can lead you to the life you want to live. Wishes and dreams are not a strategy, so it will take some hard work and critical thinking to turn your wants into reality.
In order to effectively shape or design your life, you have to embrace some key elements to this strategy. Without understanding and following these principles, your design will not accurately reflect you and your dreams, so it’s important to master this foundation before setting out to design your life. While these principles are basic, they are nonetheless pivotal to actually attaining what you want in life.
Be Honest with Yourself
There is no more important concept to a solid life design strategy than total and utmost honesty. Your journey to achieving your dreams will never be successful if it is based on lies that you tell yourself. Identifying what you want in life, as opposed to what others want for you or what you have always told yourself that you should want, is crucial for this process to be successful.
Honesty with yourself is something that can be difficult for some to achieve. It involves accepting some hard truths about yourself, asking yourself some tough questions about which you may not like the answers, and digging deep into your true ambitions and motivations in life.
But honest with yourself is more important than any other part of this process. If your design is based on a lie you tell yourself, then someday in the future, you will wind up unhappy. Throughout this process, the only thing that really matters is how honest you are with yourself.
Think Thoroughly About What You Want
As you’ll see below, shaping your life means thinking thoroughly through every aspect of a well-led existence. It’s not just about considering one goal or gaining clarity about one part of your life. It digs deep and forces you to consider all the components that make up a well-rounded and full life. Why is this so important?
Consider this scenario. You design a life based solely on the financial and career aspirations you have. You plan meticulously to achieve the job and financial security you have always thought to be important. But a few years down the road, you realize that this design neglected to include how important family and relationships are to you or left no room for your artistic passions. You find your life at odds with itself, and you are unhappy.
If you are going to design your life, you should be sure your plan includes all aspects of what it means to really live. Life is about so many things, including friends, leisure activity, your spiritual beliefs, your commitment to others and your own health, and your beliefs about your own growth and development.
Only when you stop to consider all of these aspects and create a plan that encompasses these multifaceted components of life will you find that you can achieve real fulfillment and happiness.
Reach for The Stars But Stay Grounded
The honesty and thoroughness of this process helps you consider and plan for amazingly complex goals, but it also allows you to work toward things you can actually achieve in life. Your personal exploration and defining of your values assist you in creating a plan for reaching for the stars while also recognizing your own strengths and areas for growth.
When you build a plan based on deep exploration and honesty, you can create realistic expectations for your dreams that are attainable through hard work and focus. This process provides you with all the information you need to examine your choices, to weigh your limitless options, and to select the ones that will mean the most to your overall joy and contentment in life. And if that’s not worth achieving, what is?
You have a duty to yourself to become the best version of yourself you can possibly be. Committing to developing a life strategy and engaging in regular personal development as well as persistent growth will help you achieve your dreams.
The daily work of personal development means gradual shifts in who you are as you examine yourself and learn from life’s experiences. Upon this foundation of growth and engagement, you can build a life strategy that helps you attain self-actualization and personal contentment.
While the end result may seem like the prize, the joy and reward you experience from personal growth and development becomes intrinsic motivation. And, when you see how you are personally and positively influencing your own life, you’ll see that your mark on the world is indelible. So, let’s start by examining what a life strategy is and how you can start your journey to developing your own.
Beliefs And Values
To begin to determine your life strategy, you must first identify your beliefs and values. These will guide all of your decisions, including the people with whom you share your life, how you devote your time and energy, what you want to do to make money, how and to what end you develop yourself and your mind, and how well you care for your own health as well as that of others.
Once you have gained clarity on these matters, you can then focus on carefully constructing a life plan that will keep you on a path aligned with your beliefs and help you attain goals that are meaningful for you.
When designing or planning your life, there are a number of focuses you can choose. The two main focuses are passions or money. For example, if you follow money when designing your life, you’re likely to choose a career based on how much it pays, rather than whether or not you’d enjoy it; likewise, you’re likely to choose a place to live, friends, and significant others based on their careers or social standings.
However, if you choose to let your passions be your focus, you’re more likely to choose a career that makes you happy. We favor the notion of designing your life based on your passions and, in this article, we’ll provide you with five reasons for why we feel this is best.
Those that choose to let their passions design their lives tend to be happier in the long-term. They choose their career because it makes them happy and they enjoy doing it. This gives them more of a chance to enjoy their career longer, rather than growing bored of it or growing to resent it.
The same is true for the places they choose to live, the company they choose to keep, and the romantic partners with whom they choose to spend their lives. Those who are driven by their passions tend to be happier in their lives.
Following your passions can help you to also be better at what you do. When you enjoy your work, you’re more likely to practice it and to work harder at it, improving your skills.
When your passions design your life, you tend to improve faster, as you care more about what you’re doing. You’re more dedicated to honing your skills and improving your work.
3) Less Stress
When your passions design your life, you tend to feel less stressed. You make decisions based on what makes you happy and do things that you’re passionate about, which tends to lead to less stress.
Tasks that could be stressful in a career about which you don’t really care much could be stress-free and easy in a career about which you’re passionate. As we said earlier, those that follow their passions tend to be happier, which also leads to a less stressful life.
Your passions are your passions because you enjoy them; this makes it easier and more enjoyable to complete your work, tasks, or other responsibilities. When your passions are your guide, planning your life, working, and other difficult or hard tasks become easier and far more enjoyable to complete. Those that let their passions design their lives move through said lives with much greater ease.
When you let your passions guide you, they tend to guide you to jobs, places, and people that make you happier. This can lead to stronger, longer lasting friendships and relationships.
When your both passionate about a common interest, you have more to talk about and can form a deeper connection. Common interests and common ways of thinking are stronger bonds than common situations or circumstances.
Defining The Core Values That Will Shape Your Life
Whether you call them morals, values, principles, or guidelines, we all have something we use to shape and guide our life. These values help you to make decisions, to know right from wrong, and to make good choices as you go through life that are right for you.
While many people differ on the specifics of these values, there are a few core values that remain true for almost everyone across the board. These core values help to shape your life and keep you going in a positive direction.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Most people have the core principle that lying is wrong. That’s not to say that most people are honest 100% of the time, because they’re not; we’re all human and we make mistakes and poor decisions every day. However, having the core principle that honesty is best helps you to see those times that you do lie as a misjudgment or mistake.
Being honest with yourself is at the core of shaping the life you want, it helps you stay on track with all that you want to achieve by being able to identify your strengths and most importantly your weaknesses.
Practice Makes Perfect
You don’t improve your performance on or in anything without practice. Those who hold practice as a necessity in their core values are hard workers that will stop at nothing to improve themselves and their situation.
The willingness and the motivation to practice in order to achieve the goal you have in mind will get you very far in life and can help to improve many, many areas of your life when applied to it.
No one achieved their goals in life by giving up on them. Perseverance is the key to success and the sign of strength. Those that hold this principle as a core value are strong individuals that will stop at nothing to make what they want happen; they won’t let anyone, or anything stand in their way or take them down. They also don’t let failure get the best of them, making them give up; they persevere.
Failure is Inevitable
There’s no such thing as perfect in this world. It’s impossible for you to succeed perfectly 100% of the time. You will eventually fail at something, what matters is how you deal with that. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow; you don’t learn anything from succeeding or winning, you learn from losing or failing.
Those that accept that failure is inevitable and embrace their failures for the learning opportunities that they are go much further in life.
How to Determine Your Own Values
While the aforementioned core values tend to be found on the list of most people’s values, there are other values that a person could use to guide their life. Determining the values that work for best for you and make the most sense to you is essential in shaping the life you want to life.
Core values are an important part of life; they help us to know what’s right and wrong, make decisions, and follow the right path for you in life.
Establishing Your Life Goals
Before you can identify your life goals, you need to thoroughly and honestly explore your values and beliefs in order to determine what you really want in life.
For each of the various components of a healthy, happy life listed below, you will need to spend quality time articulating what you believe and what is important for you.
It’s worth it to write down your thoughts about each area. As you grow and change throughout your life, your priorities and values will change, as well.
You can return to this exercise again and again, and having your thoughts recorded is an excellent way to evaluate if you still feel the same or have changed what you believe.
Regularly revisiting and updating your belief and value statements is an excellent personal development exercise. This will help ensure your goals are still on track and you are moving in the right direction.
Without this regular check-in, you could find yourself achieving dreams that don’t deliver the promise of happiness and contentment.
Your ongoing growth and development should be the cornerstone of everything else you work toward in your life.
Everything you do in life is a choice, and your personal development is the ultimate reflection of those choices. Personal development encompasses all the aspects of your inner self you think to be important, including the growth of habits and mindsets that will help you achieve your dreams.
- Do you have a fixed mindset, or will you embrace a growth mindset in life?
- Do you value cooperation or competition more, and when do you think each is appropriate in life?
- Is your outlook grounded more in the past, the present, or the future?
- Do you value positive or negative thoughts more?
- Are you more optimistic or pessimistic?
- Are you goal-oriented or process-oriented?
- Which is more important to you, the destination or the journey?
Personal development includes your thoughts regarding morality and ethics. This area describes your beliefs about right and wrong and how you choose to live your life as well as treat other people. In the absences of outside laws or rules, what do you ultimately believe about what’s good and bad in this world, and where does your moral compass lead you and your behavior?
Personal development is ultimately about your commitment to learning, growth, and change over time. As you learn more in life, it should shape your vision, values, and mission. Spend the time needed now to get to know yourself, your personal characteristics, and your approach to the world, and it will inform the rest of your life strategy work.
In order to thrive and be happy in this world, we all need other people. Our relationships provide us with happiness and fulfillment, love and understanding, support and guidance.
This part of your life strategy should focus on the role other people will play in your life.
- What do relationships mean to you?
- Are negative connections impacting the life you want to live?
- What is your level of commitment to spending time with other people and investing in relationships?
- What do you want from these connections?
- How can your social circle support your life vision?
- If you know that you have weak social skills, and this is something you are committed to improving, what are your goals?
- If you already have strong skills in this area, how will you develop connections to others?
- If you are comfortable with having just a few relationships, what do you value in those you truly treasure?
Your socialization strategy should encompass your personal as well as professional relationships, the types of activities you enjoy doing with friends, how many people you think are ideal for a strong social circle, and what you value most in your closest companions.
We each also have specific relationships with our families and loved ones, and it’s important that they are a part of your life strategy.
This may require assessing the quality and strength of your existing relationship with your family members, especially your siblings, parents, and other close relatives.
- Is it important that you remain close to them geographically, or are you comfortable moving away from them?
- If your family history and cultural backgrounds is important to you, how will this play a role in your life?
- Is your family history important to you, and if so, how will this influence how you lead your life?
- Are there aspects to your relationship you would like to improve, and do they feel the same way?
One of the most difficult decisions you may have to make is whether or not to break ties with values and beliefs held by your family that are not aligned with yours.
This can be hard, especially if your values are in direct contradiction to theirs. Only you can determine how important this is to you and to what extent you plan to share your different beliefs with your family.
Making decisions about whom you share your life with is an essential part of your life strategy. Family and friends are a necessary and crucial component to overall happiness, so give yourself time to really consider what you value in others.
Just as friendships and family play a crucial role in your life, so do those with whom you have intimate, long-term relationships. Whether you choose to marry, whether you even want long-term commitment from someone else, and how important finding love is to your overall happiness are all included in this part of your life’s strategy.
It’s important to be clear with yourself about what you think of as the ideal partner. Knowing what you are looking for in a mate can help you make better decisions when you meet someone with potential as a partner.
Make a list of important qualities as well as your non-negotiable traits. This will give you a clear picture of what you want so that, when someone comes along, you can make a better choice.
Included in this category are things like how you feel about marriage, your take on traditional gender roles, how much of yourself you are willing to sacrifice for someone else, and how you feel about dishonesty or betrayal from your partner.
Depending on your age and if you have had past successful or unsuccessful relationships, this part of your life plan can be hard to think clearly about.
You may find yourself having to think about past failures, times when you have been hurt, and even your own mistakes when it comes to love. Spend the time you need to gain clarity now, though, and you’ll avoid making future mistakes.
Wrapped up in romantic life are issues related to sexuality and, if you decide to have children, how you will raise them with your partner. Each of these brings its own set of considerations and questions, as well. Knowing what you value in a sexual partner, how important a role sex will play in your life, and the relationship sex has with intimacy is important to understand about yourself.
Regarding children, it’s important early in your life to determine the reasons you may or may not want to have children, how important raising a family is compared to other aspects of your life, and your values when it comes to raising your children. These issues will need to be determined in conjunction with your partner, as well.
The role of money, including the acquisition and growth of wealth, is often a guiding force in life.
- But, the first question you must answer for yourself is what role does money play in your happiness?
- If you lived the rest of your life poor but have contentment, would you be satisfied?
- Is making money more important to you than achieving other goals in life?
- What are you willing to do for compensation, and how does this align with your values?
To make money, you must determine if you want to get a job working for someone else, work for yourself, own your own business, or use what money you have to invest and grow your fortune.
- This part of your life strategy should include the value you place on saving for the future versus enjoying your wealth in the moment.
- How comfortable are you with debt, and what is your strategy for paying back any debts you currently owe?
- What is your savings plan for retirement?
While this is one of the more practical aspects of your life strategy, it is also the one that raises the most anxiety in many people. How you feel about money, how comfortable you are with talking about it to others, and the role it plays in guiding the rest of your goals is key to understanding.
Money is a necessary part of life, so developing a set of values and beliefs around it can only serve you well moving forward.
Health and Fitness
Taking care of your body should be a part of any life plan. If you want to live long enough to enjoy your dreams and see them come to fruition, you will need to invest in your health and well-being.
Only you can determine the importance of health in your own life’s vision and goals, but the sooner you get clear about this for yourself, the more likely you are to develop regular habits that support your goals and values.
Chief among the considerations in this category are your relationship with food and with exercise.
- Does food play a role in how you deal with unhappiness or discomfort in your life?
- How do you feel about your body? How often do you workout, and does this meet your current health goals?
- If you have known family health problems, how important is it to you to monitor your health to prevent these problems for yourself?
- Is your physical appearance more important than your health? How do you feel about taking medications?
- Is your stance toward more holistic approaches to healing or do you only listen to conventional medical advice?
Knowing the value you place on your body, its fitness and health, and your personal habits for maintaining these is of vital importance to your overall life plan.
Finding ways to relax and enjoy recreation are just as important as other aspects of your life plan. Finding ways to create, learn, and have fun in the world makes life interesting, unique, and enjoyable.
Spend some time investigating your values and beliefs about the role hobbies and recreation will play in your life.
- Do you work too much ignoring the importance of relaxation?
- How much time will you devote to recreation?
- What do you find relaxing, and how often do you engage in those types of activities?
- What role does travel play in your life?
- How do you like to unwind after a long day?
- How would you spend your ideal vacation?
- Do you enjoy doing things by yourself or with other people?
- How much free time do you devote to your hobbies or leisure activities?
Neglecting this important aspect of your life’s strategy can leave you feeling unfulfilled, may gravely impact your physical health and undermine a healthy aging process, so don’t skip over this necessary component. Valuing down time is just as important as valuing career, family, and wealth, and the sooner you learn that, the happier you will be in life.
Deciding on a career strategy will depend a great deal on your ambitions in life. What you value in a career now may be very different than what you find important in even a few years, too.
While having the ability to earn money is important, it is equally important you find a career that brings you fulfillment and happiness versus one that just provides a paycheck.
To develop a career and professional life strategy, start by considering how ambitious you are.
Is it important to you that you achieve a high level of recognition and acclaim in your field?
Do you see yourself as a leader, or are you comfortable following others?
Is it important that you work for a company with specific values are a certain mission? Or do you want to work for yourself?
Are you someone who enjoys the politics necessary to survive in a big corporation or for the government?
Is advancement in your career important to you, and if so, do you have the right skills to rise up in your field? If not, are you committed to developing those skills?
In today’s world, most people will have multiple careers, not to mention individual jobs. This part of your life strategy may need to be revisited often.
The final aspect to consider in your life design strategy is your spiritual development. Not only does this encompass your religious beliefs and whether or not you adhere to any, but it’s also about how you view your own soul.
Your spiritual development is not just about religion but instead encompasses how you treat others, how you treat yourself, and how you treat the world.
Spiritual development means different things to different people, for some it is faith and religion, for others it is having a great sense of inner peace that may come from meditation, yoga or Tai Chi, others view it as simply having a healthy spirit that is gained from being in nature or at peace with their life’s purpose.
Being spiritual means you are connected to your beliefs, you ground your actions in a set of principles, and you act in accordance with your understanding of right and wrong, good and evil.
Live your life intentionally
Designing the life, you want starts with clarity about who you are and what you want. From there, you can determine what success means for you and select life goals that will bring you happiness and fulfillment.
Remember that living a life driven by your life goals and carried out with intent gives you the greatest opportunity to live the life you want to live.