“If I could live again my life,
I’ll try to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect, I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be fuller – than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll take more risks, I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets, I’ll climb more mountains, I’ll swim more rivers, I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
If I could live again – I will travel light If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet at the beginning of spring till the end of autumn I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children If I have the life to live…”
We live by default a life that was given and not chosen. We follow the crowd and we are letting things happen as we go. We might choose a career, to please a friend or family member, to achieve a certain status or salary, or simply because it seemed like a good idea at the time. We might move to another country probably for work or for a relationship. Once we hit our 30s, we might face a burnout, a depression, or an unexplained stress. We realize that this is not the life we had imagined, we do not like our job, we feel unfulfilled and unsure of what to do next, we want to escape to explore the world or we want a drastic change to feel alive again. So much of our life consists of conditions that make us unhappy. And there is the moment that we have to imagine our life as a design project and think of today as a prototype.
How can we redesign our life for personal development and success?
1. Do field research on yourself.
Do field research on yourself means start knowing yourself. Probably the most difficult part of this process is to start exploring who you are and what you want as for a long period you kept your wishes, desires and thoughts hidden. However, if you ask yourself the right questions you will shortly reveal the answers. Put aside all the “should or must” from your life and examine how you naturally spend your time.
-What gets you excited?
-What have you loved since you were a child?
-Where do you want to live?
-With whom do you want to be with?
-What do you want to be doing every day?
-Do you want to build a legacy?
-Do you want to be creative?
Start writing down the answers to these questions and work on the action plan on how to achieve the change. Ensure that your answers are organized and plan well. Start looking these answers and start acting when you feel comfortable with the idea that is worthwhile. Do not get discouraged too quickly that your answers cannot be feasible. As many things the groundwork takes time, but gradually the change will start to come in.
2. Find unmet needs in your daily routine.
You wake up, you brush your teeth, you might have breakfast, you run to the car or to catch the metro or your bike, you go to work, you start working, you grab a coffee, you have lunch, you speak to some colleagues, you finish work, you probably go to the gym, you go home, you eat and sleep. You do that five days per week and constantly you have the weekend in your mind to relax and do your things. However, if you find out which are your daily needs to be happy you will not need to wait for the weekend!
Think about what is not working in your current routine, life and job and think about all the things that would be ideal for you. Make a list of the things that genuinely excite you and live with it. If you are stressed every morning you might need to wake up earlier and have your rituals relaxed, like your breakfast, your coffee, or meditate or go for a joking. If your work does not make you happy, but you cannot change it, you might reconsider the things that you enjoy when you are at your workplace. If you feel that you just work and sleep, then add evening activities at your busy schedule. It does not need to be everyday activities, but once or twice per week. Instead of waiting for the weekend to see your friends, enjoy a dinner or a coffee with them during the week. If your friends live away, take a day off and organize a small trip to visit them or arrange to meet in a different city or country.
3. Generate ideas about desirable behavior.
Most of us have a list of behaviors that would like to change, but either we postpone it or resist, from quitting our job or smoking to eating healthier to exercising regularly to getting more organized. Change an undesirable behavior to a desirable one is a challenging process and many people struggle with making even the slightest alterations. Sometimes we avoid reality, we deny the truth and we fool ourselves. We make unconsciously excuses to feel better about our behavior, to defend ourselves against anxiety. Changing behavior, although tough merely depends on changing our attitude towards the change. Changing attitude means we are open and prepared to get things done. However, how can you change your attitude about something?
Attitude can be changed in many ways and it comes from brainstorming some ideas or seeking knowledge for the desired behavior. We have to act as the life coach of ourselves. We need to make a plan on what we want to change and why. As soon as we know we have to focus on finding the ways on how to do it. Brainstorming ideas or seeking knowledge spontaneously is an excellent and creative way to identify a lot of different ways of changing behavior and select the best that can work for you while you evaluate the alternative options. Trust me, although tedious process, it will be well worth the effort!
4. Take actions that will add right now joy to your life.
The major problem when we want to change something is that it probably needs time and effort. Considering that time is valuable and wasting energy might lead us to quit faster, it will be wise to start with small steps and actions with immediate results on us. You may not be able to quit your job or develop new skills in one day, but everyday contains within it countless opportunities.
Walk to work and look around, you may find a gym you want to join or an organization where you would like to volunteer. If you do not work in your dream industry, volunteer within it. This allows you to gain experience and make valuable connections. If you do not have time for networking, talk to someone while waiting in line and ask what they do. Make an effort to connect with people you pass—smile and make eye contact for a little longer than usual. Being even slightly more open can open up your world. Do something you enjoy alone. Go to a museum or read a book in the park. When we are alone, we are more accessible, making it easier for new people to approach us. Finally, add something new to your house, like a plant or a painting or buy flowers, or frame your artwork or your children's artwork or rearrange your furniture. Small changes make a big difference!
5. Experiment with new experiences.
Trying something new every day is essential to keep our perspective fresh as well as helping us to tune into potential new pursuits and passions. Most of the time we do things that have been built from past experiences and might not be even from our own choices. By having new experiences, we can let ourselves explore more “possibilities” or “opportunities”. It will help us make better or create/shape our life in the way we want with meaning and joy. Seek out new experiences, get another stamp in your passport or seek out an undiscovered part of your own city, spend time on some creative websites, read a new magazine that you have never thought to read, take a class in the evening, make a lunch date with someone new at work. Approach the world with a childlike curiosity and wonder!
“Your life is your story, write well, edit often.”