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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

7 Steps to Help You Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

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7 Steps to Help You Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

Has someone ever asked you what you would do if money weren’t a factor? It’s one of those questions that people often brush aside because, quite frankly, money is a factor. The doubters will mock you as naïve or foolish, but deep down you know it’s possible to start living your dream life.

It seems as though most people are just trying to get by. They work because they need to make an income to support their life. People not only settle in the workplace, but also in their relationships with their friends and family. You may even know people who settle by compromising their integrity and core values.

That is why it is not naïve or foolish to start living your dream life; it is essential.

Living your dreams is more than being rich. It’s the belief that you are living a life aligned with your purpose. If you are ready to free yourself of the fears that cause you to live your life according to the expectations of others, then follow these seven steps found in the book Champion of Change, the 7 Instrumental Laws of Change.

1. Construct a Plan of Action

If you want to learn how to start living your dreams, take the time to visualize what that life will look like.

This is more than the normal vision board. This form of visualization requires you to use all your senses.

To gain an edge, Olympians will visualize themselves competing in their actual event. Emily Cook, of the United States freestyle ski team, is quoted as saying she engaged all her senses in her visualization. She moves her body as if she is skiing down the slopes, she feels the air as it blows through her hair, and she hears the roar of the crowd as she crosses the finish line[1].

The best way Olympians can be ready for the moment is by continually competing in their mind. Studies support this belief as they show you can literally gain muscle by visualizing yourself working out[2]. This applies to non-athletes as well as visualization is a powerful source of motivation.

2. Focus Your Attention

If you want to start living your dreams right now, you are going to need to adjust the way you see the world and every area of your life. Your beliefs create your consciousness, your consciousness creates your reality, and your reality is maintained by the way your mind filters information.

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Every day, you receive millions of sensory inputs and your mind filters out most of them to keep you from going crazy. The ones you receive are the ones that your mind believes matter to you based on past experiences.

One of the most popular examples is when you purchase a new car. As soon as you purchase that car, suddenly you notice that car everywhere. Now, you probably know that everyone did not purchase the car the same day as you, so what happened?

Well, when you purchased your new car, you told your mind ,”this car matters to me.” As a result, your mind is now showing you the car that has always been there.

The same way your mind can adjust your filters based on the action of purchasing a new car, you can take actions to create your dream life. As you take action, your mind will show you new opportunities that were always there (just outside of your previous filters).

Learn more about how to focus here: How to Improve Focus: 7 Ways to Train Your Brain

3. Put Systems and Processes in Place

Once you have the proper mindset to start living your dream life, you are ready to shift your focus to reach your goals.

The mistake most people make is they are excited when they begin, but they are working solely off discipline and willpower. Your willpower and discipline are exhaustible resources that will fade over time. That is why most people quit their New Year’s Resolution 30-days after starting. That is also why people who are on a diet will make nutritious decisions throughout the day and fail miserably late at night.

This is why it is so important that you put systems and processes in place that limit the need for you to use discipline and willpower. In the case of our dieter, it would be better for them to trash all the candy they no longer want to eat.

This is also true when it comes to you and your dream life. If you want to ensure that you follow through on your vision, you have to be willing to limit the ability for you to revert back to your previous life.

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If you want to stop relying on your willpower and start making things happen, these tips will help: How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop

4. Accountability Is a Must

When you are accountable to someone or a group, you will find yourself more motivated to continue. Deep down, we all want to be accepted by others. Even though this can work against you sometimes, this particular occasion is not one of them.

When you proclaim your goal to specific people, it improves the likelihood of you following through. However, some research suggests that making it public and announcing it to everyone may hurt your chances of following through[3].

You may be surprised to know, but you experience accountability on a regular basis.

  • If the CEO asks you to provide a report, you are going to do your best in order to impress the CEO.
  • If you’re invited to a class reunion, you will feel more motivated to get in shape.
  • If you know you are going to have company over at your house, you are going to clean more carefully.

Accountability works because you want to keep your word and make a good impression of yourself in front of others.

5. Find a Catalyst for Change

There are things you can and cannot control in life. Do not allow the fear of failure or fear of uncertainty keep you from living your dream life. Everything is not going to go smoothly on your journey. You are going to face challenges and setbacks[4].

7 Ways to Reduce the Fear of Failure and Live Your Dream Life

    The good news is failure is a part of success and personal development. They are two halves of the same coin. What tends to happen is that people spend so much time trying to avoid failure that they never realize they are undermining their ability to find success.

    By understanding that failure is a part of success, you understand your goal is not to avoid failure, but to build on it.

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    Your dream life does not necessarily need a positive event to start. Often, it is the negative events (or perceived negative) and a sense of desperation that drives people to reach further than they ever have before.

    Your catalyst for change may be exactly what you wanted, or it may be the worst thing that could have happened. Either way, your focus is on what to do next. You want to build on that event by stacking positive events on top of it.

    Choose to respond to each situation by taking another step towards your dream life.

    6. Understand That Character Matters

    In a study between two schools on opposite ends of the economic spectrum, positive psychology experts created a list of character strengths they believed essential to success.

    Their list included grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.

    Some of the character traits were common with how most people view success, such as grit, curiosity, or self-control. However, gratitude, zest, optimism, and social intelligence (compassion) were on the list, but their relation to success is often overlooked[5].

    It’s important to remember that change comes from the inside-out. Your core values are the prism through which you accomplish your goals.

    7. Muster up the Courage

    Once you have completed the first six steps, you have everything you need to feel inspired, step away from your comfort zone, and start living your dreams.

    Do not allow yourself to procrastinate on your transformation. The fear of change may disguise itself as a thoughtful plan to wait for more information or better timing.

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    Keep in mind that you are not looking for the perfect situation; you are only looking to start. One you get started, you are going to be better equipped to make any changes.

    I often compare starting your journey like walking through a fog. If you stand on the outside of the fog trying to see to the other side, you are going to find it very difficult. However, if you are willing to take the first few steps, you are going to realize that you can see a few more steps into the fog.

    If you are willing to continue walking, before you know it, you can see clearly because the fog is behind you.

    You have an idea of what your dream life looks like, and you have an idea of the effort it is going to take to make it happen. However, you do not really know how realistic your expectations are until you experience it.

    Final Thoughts

    There is a lot of work that goes into living your dreams, but you will find it well worth your time. Life is short, so don’t worry about the things you can’t control.

    Most people regret the things they did not do more than anything they have ever done. Therefore, don’t settle for a life that is less than your dream life. Pursue it with effort and resolve.

    More About Living Your Dreams

    Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    Last Updated on October 7, 2021

    How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

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    How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

    Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. Some people quit smoking a thousand times in their lives! Everyone knows someone with this mindset.

    But this type of change is superficial. It doesn’t last. For real, lasting change to take place, we need to consider the quadrants of change.

    Real change, the change that is fundamental, consistent, and longitudinal (lasting over time) has to happen in four quadrants of your life.

    It doesn’t have to be quitting smoking; it can be any habit you want to break — drinking, biting your nails, overeating, playing video games, shopping, and more.

    Most experts focus on only one area of change, some focus on two areas, but almost none focus on all four quadrants of change. That’s why much of change management fails.

    Whether it is in the personal life of a single individual through actions and habits, or in a corporate environment, regarding the way they conduct their business, current change management strategies are lacking.

    It all stems from ignoring at least one part of the equation.

    So, today, we will cover all four quadrants of change and learn the formula for how to change fundamentally and never go back to your “old self.”

    A word of warning: this is simple to do, but it’s not easy. Anyone who tells you that change is easy is either trying to sell you something, or they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Those who want an overnight solution have left the article now, so that leaves you, me, and the real process of change.

    The Four Quadrants of Change

    There are four areas, or quadrants, in which you need to make a change in order for it to stick. If you miss or ignore a single one of these, your change won’t stick, and you will go back to your previous behavior.

    The four quadrants are:

    1. Internal individual – mindset
    2. External individual – behavior
    3. Internal collective – culture/support system
    4. External collective – laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

    All four of these quadrants of change may sound like they could carry change all by themselves, but they can’t. So, be sure to implement your change in all four quadrants. Otherwise, it will all be in vain.

    First Quadrant — Internal Individual

    This quadrant focuses on the internal world of an individual, and it concerns itself with the mindset of a person.

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    Our actions stem from our thoughts (most of the time), and if we change our mindset toward something, we will begin to process of changing the way we act.

    People who use the law of attraction fall into this category, where they’ve recognized the strength of thoughts and how they make us change ourselves.

    Even Lao Tzu had a great saying regarding this:

    “Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” [1]

    One of the most impactful ways you can make a change in this quadrant is to implement what James Clear calls identity-based habits. [2]

    Instead of prioritizing the outcome of a change (ex.: I want to lose 20 pounds), you prioritize your identity as a person (I want to become/remain a healthy person).

    Here are a couple of examples for you to see the strength of this kind of resolution:

    I want to watch many movies = I am a cinema lover
    I want to clean my apartment = I am a clean person
    I want to harvest my crops = I am a harvester (farmer)
    I want to swim = I am a swimmer

    This quadrant is about changing the identity you attach to a certain action. Once you re-frame your thinking in this way, you will have completed the first of the quadrants of change.

    Second Quadrant — External Individual

    This quadrant focuses on the external world of an individual and concerns itself with the behavior of a person.

    This is where people like Darren Hardy, the author of the Compound Effect reside. Hardy is about doing small, consistent actions that will create change in the long run (the compound effect).

    You want to lose 30 pounds? Start by eating just 150 calories (approximately two slices of bread) less a day, and in two and a half years, you will have lost 30 pounds.

    The same rules apply to business, investing, sports, and multiple other areas. Small, consistent actions can create big changes.

    This works — I’ve read 20 extra pages a day for the past two years, and it accumulated into 90 books read in two years. [3]

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    Here, you have two ways of dealing with change behaviorally: negative environmental design and positive environmental design.

    Negative Environmental Design

    This is when you eliminate the things from your environment that revert you to the old behavior. If you want to stop eating ice cream, you don’t keep it in your freezer.

    If you want to stop watching TV, you remove the batteries from the remote and put them on the other side of the house (it works!).

    Positive Environmental Design

    This is when you put the things that you want to do withing reach — literally!

    You want to learn how to play guitar? Put your guitar right next to your sofa. You want to head to the gym? Put the gym clothes in a backpack and put it on top of your shoes.

    You want to read more books? Have a book on your nightstand, your kitchen table, and on the sofa.

    You can even combine this last trick with my early advice about removing the batteries from your remote control, combining the negative and positive environmental designs for maximum effect.

    Two Sides of the Same Coin

    If you just change your behavior and leave your intentions (thoughts) intact, your discipline will fail you and the real change won’t happen.

    You will simply revert back to the previous behavior because you haven’t changed the fundamental root of why this problem occurs in the first place.

    That is why you need to create change both in the first quadrant (internal individual — mindset) and the second quadrant (external individual — behavior). These quadrants of change are two sides of the same coin.

    Most change management would stop here, and that’s why most change management fails.

    No matter how much you focus on yourself, there are things that affect our lives that are happening outside of us. That is the focus of the two remaining quadrants.

    Third Quadrant — Internal Collective

    This quadrant focuses on the internal world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the culture of that collective.

    There are two different distinctions here: the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring.

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    The Inner Ring

    These are your friends and your family. The Inner Ring is the place where the social and cultural norms of your friends and family rule.

    So, if everyone in your family is overweight and every lunch is 1,000 calories per person, then you can say goodbye to your idea of becoming healthy.

    In this case, the culture of your group, the inner norms that guide the decisions, actions, thoughts, ideas, and patterns of behaviors are all focused on eating as much as possible. [4]

    You need to have the support of your Inner Ring if you want to achieve change. If you don’t have this support, the the best way to proceed is by either changing your entire Inner Ring or distancing yourself from it.

    Beware — most Inner Rings won’t accept the fact that you want to change and will undermine you on many occasions — some out of habit, some due to jealousy, and some because supporting you would mean that they have to change, too.

    You don’t have to cut ties with people, but you can consciously decide to spend less time with them.

    The Outer Ring

    The Outer Ring consists of the culture of your company, community, county, region, and country. For example, it’s quite hard to be an open-minded person in North Nigeria, no matter how you, your friends, and your family think.

    The Outer Ring is the reason why young people move to the places that share their value systems instead of staying in their current city, county, or country.

    Sometimes, you need to change your Outer Ring as well because its culture is preventing you from changing.

    I see this every single day in my country, where the culture can be so toxic that it doesn’t matter how great of a job you have or how great your life currently looks — the culture will change you, inch by inch, until you become like it.

    Fourth Quadrant — External Collective

    This quadrant focuses on the external world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the systems, teams, laws, and rules of that collective.

    This quadrant is about the external manifestations of the collective culture. If the majority of the environment thinks in a certain way, they will create institutions that will implement that way of thinking.

    The same rules apply to companies.

    One example for companies would be those managers who think that employees are lazy, lack responsibility, and need constant supervision (or what is called Theory X in management).

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    Then, those managers implement systems that reflect that kind of culture– no flexible work hours, strict rules about logging work, no remote work, etc.

    Your thoughts, however, may be different. You might believe that people want responsibility, that they are capable of self-direction, that they can make good decisions, and that managers don’t need to stand on their necks if they want something done (this is called Theory Y in management).

    Then, you would want to have flexible working hours, different ways of measuring your productivity (for example, not time on the job but work produced), and remote work, if possible for your profession.

    This is when you enter into a conflict with the external collective quadrant. Here, you have four options: leave, persevere, neglect, and voice.

    Leave

    You can simply leave the company/organization/community/country and go to a different place. Most people decide to do this.

    Persevere

    This is when you see that the situation isn’t good, but you decide to stick at it and wait for the perfect time (or position) where you can implement change.

    Neglect

    This is where you give up on the change you want to see and just go with the flow, doing the minimal work necessary to keep the status quo.

    These are the people who are disengaged at work and are doing just the bare minimum necessary (which, in the U.S. is around 65% of the workforce).

    I did this only once, and it’s probably the only thing I regret doing in my life.

    Voice

    This is where you actively work on changing the situation, and the people in charge know that you want to create a change.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s your company, community, or your country; you are actively calling for a change and will not stop until it’s implemented.

    Putting It All Together

    When you take it all into account, change is simple, in theory, but it isn’t easy to execute. It takes work in all four quadrants:

    1. Internal individual — mindset
    2. External individual — behavior
    3. Internal collective — culture/support system
    4. External collective — laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

    Some will require more work, some less, but you will need to create a change in all four of them.

    But don’t let that discourage you because change is possible, and many people have done this. The best time to start changing was yesterday, but the second best time is today.

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    Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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