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5 Ways to Live a Life You Love

5 Ways to Live a Life You Love

According to a 2013 Harris Poll, only 1/3 of Americans are very happy. The problem isn’t only in America. Millions of people are frustrated with their lives and desperately long to make some big changes.

The good news is you really can design a life you love. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, it’s possible to design a life where you spend your time doing more of what you love and less of the unimportant junk. It takes a lot of work, but you really can take steps every day to live a fulfilling life on your terms.

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Here are some ways to live a life you love.

1. Search for what lights you up

Discovering your passion can take a while, and it involves a lot of self-discovery, effort, and experimenting, but the journey is well worth it. When you find and do what lights you up, life is so much more fulfilling. Here is a helpful free workbook to help you discover your passion. If seeking your passion seems overwhelming, remember that it is often an ongoing process. You don’t have to quit your job, leave your family, and move to a deserted island to find your passion. Start looking for things you enjoy, no matter how small they seem. Pay attention to what fills you with energy and what leaves you feeling drained. Continue to take frequent, small steps forward to learn more about who you are and what excites you.

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2. Be intentional with your time

One daily habit I use that has really helped me to spend my days doing what I love is writing out my schedule for the day. It doesn’t have to be exact, but having a tentative plan for my day helps me maximize my hours and minimize time spent on unimportant junk. In order to live a life you love, it’s important to intentionally set aside time to do what you love, and to design your days so you minimize time wasted on things you don’t enjoy. It’s very easy to get stuck in the daily grind, following a similar routine day after day and feeling like you don’t have time to do what you really want to do. Start setting aside time to do things you enjoy, even if it’s just a small amount of time to start.

3. Choose awesome friends

The people you hang out with influence your life in huge ways. They affect your habits, how big you set your goals, and what you believe is possible. By choosing a circle of amazing, inspiring friends, and by being a great friend to others, your life will be much more enjoyable. If there is something you want to accomplish, start hanging out with people who are already doing what you aspire to do. There are clubs for all kinds of interest groups, and if you can’t find one near you, join one online, or consider starting a group yourself.

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4. Set big goals

As Michelangelo said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Do you set goals? If so, how big are they? I challenge you to set goals that are out of your comfort zone, so you can continually grow. Set your goals as specifically as possible, write them down, and create an action plan so you are regularly taking small steps toward your giant goals.

5. Discover and maximize your strengths

Many people don’t have a clear understanding of what their strengths are, or how to best maximize their strengths. One book that has greatly helped me discover my strengths and learn how to best utilize them is Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. The book explains that functioning in your strengths zone affects multiple areas of your life, stating, “a strengths-based approach improves your confidence, direction, hope and kindness toward others.” Rather than leaving your natural strengths untapped, I highly encourage you to read this book and develop your strengths.

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It takes self-discovery and massive intentional action, but it’s definitely possible to design a life you love. The steps above will help you start closing the gap between your current life and the life you dream of living.

Featured photo credit: Capture the Uncapturable/Smiling portrait via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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