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Lifestyle Design: How Do You Want to Live?

In the series on discovering purpose and direction, you ended up with a vague and high-level mission and it isn’t obvious what you need to do today in order to live your purpose. Yesterday’s post on the importance of goal setting demonstrated how to break down the mission statement into goals, but we hit a snag: achieving those goals requires time and money, so something’s gotta give.

In an ideal world you wouldn’t need to work for an income, however, living expenses will always exist: you need somewhere to live, food to eat, access to health, means of transport, let alone money for the more enjoyable things in life. If your expenses are greater than your income then you’re going backwards. This doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goals but there will need to be some compromise between income generation and living the life you want to live.

Your Ideal Lifestyle

Your optimum work-life balance might depend on your perception of time, or on your mission statement and how you want to live.

Imagine a ‘perception of time’ scale from ‘Now’ to ‘Entire Life’, where ‘Now’ means living in the moment and not considering the future, and ‘Entire Life’ means you pay attention to the bigger picture and aren’t focussed on the here and now. One person on the far left might only care about bringing in the absolute minimum amount of income in order to do the things they want to do right now. Someone else on the far right of the scale might be willing to work very hard for the near future in order to live the rest of their life without having to work at all. You might be somewhere in between.

Your mission statement might involve fixing problems in the world or improving it in one way or another. Unless your skill set or interests fit the needs of the problem you’re trying to solve, it is likely that donating money to the organisations trying to make a difference is the best thing you could do. In that case, you wouldn’t want to stop working or building wealth because that would limit your ability to make certain positive changes in the world. Alternatively, you might really want to live an extravagant lifestyle and require a constant and large stream of income to fund it. That would require more effort and/or more years of work.

Designing Your Ideal Lifestyle

The following criteria might be helpful:

  • Residence
    • Will you live with your parents, with a partner, with friends, or by yourself?
    • What country, state, and suburb do you want to live in?
    • What type of home? For example, house, unit, apartment, or dorm
    • What will the home be like? For example, old or new, modern or outdated, luxurious or lacking, natural light or dark
    • What amenities will it have? For example, study, lounge, three bedrooms
    • What will the climate be like?
    • How dense will the buildings in this area be? Will homes be on big blocks? Or will there be lots of tall apartment buildings?
    • What localities will you be near? For example, a public pool, train station, bus stop, library, park, or shopping centre
  • Transport
    • Will you have a car? If so, what will it be like?
    • Will you have any other modes of transport, such as a motorbike?
  • Will you have any pets? If so, how many and of what kind?
  • What regular activities will you take part in? This includes school, sports, hobbies, surfing, etc
  • Are there bucket-list-type activities you want to do? For example, snorkelling or sky diving
  • Social
    • Will you spend much time with family?
    • What about a significant other? Will you be in a relationship?
    • How often will you see your friends? How many will you see?
    • Will you go out and meet new people?
  • What will your diet be like?
  • How often will you exercise? Will you go to gym or play any sports?
  • Will you go on any holidays?
  • How is your health affected by your ideal lifestyle?
    • Working conditions
    • Smoking, drinking, etc
    • Risky activities
    • Unhealthy diet or exercise routine
  • How is your income generated?
    • Will you work as an employee?
      • What hours?
      • How are the people you will work with? What about your manager?
      • What will the work be like?
    • Will you be self-employed?
    • Will you own a business (and it will run without you being there for more than two days a week)?
    • Will you have investments that generate an income, such as shares or property?
    • Will you have significant savings that earn you interest?
  • How much free time will you have in a typical week?
    • Will you have time to relax?
    • Will you be able to set aside some time to simply read or learn about a new topic?
    • How much flexibility will you have in your week?

Fill it all out and get excited!

This goal goes hand-in-hand with the goals that came out of your purpose mission statement. They combine to create the picture of life where you are living the lifestyle you want to live and doing the things that maximise your fulfilment.

What next?

Now that you know how you want to live and what you want to do, how do you get there from where you are today?

Tomorrow’s post breaks down your lifestyle progression into stages so that you know where you are now and how your lifestyle will progress on its way up to your ideal. Additionally, posts later on this week will discuss how to break down big goals into more achievable actions that you can take today, as well as how to set motivating and achievable goals.

Next Post
Lifestyle Design: Stages
Previous Post
Why You Should Be Setting Goals

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