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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

11 Ways to Make Living the Dream Life Possible Today

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11 Ways to Make Living the Dream Life Possible Today

How many times have you looked at certain people around you and thought how lucky they are to be living the dream life? How do they get everything they want, and you don’t?

Living the dream life is not about luck as much as it’s about hope, commitment, and patience. No one just magically gets to “live the dream.” People who are living their dream have reached that place with consistent effort, hard work, and fearlessness, and you can, too.

Start today by making small changes in your life that are sure to set you up for success. Here are 11 ways you can make living the dream life possible.

1. Know What You Want

Many of us spend more time complaining about our lives rather than figuring out what we actually want.

Firstly, it is okay to not know what you want. While there are people with clear cut goals, there are others who discover theirs with time. What’s important is making conscious efforts in discovering what your heart desires.

Give these questions a thought:

  • What makes you happy?
  • What are your interests?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • What do you want from life?
  • What are your priorities?
  • What do you want to change in your life?
  • Who do you admire?

These are a few questions that will help you figure out your goals better. Write the answers down and keep building on them until you know what you want. After all, the first step in living the dream life is discovering the dream.

If you’re not sure how to set your priorities and figure out what you want, check out this article.

2. Have a Concrete Plan

Now that you know what you want, the next step is to devise a plan to make it happen.

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One day we are extremely motivated and enthusiastic, and the very next day, we are back to being lazy. Here’s why having a plan helps – it reminds you of your dream and keeps you motivated.

Break down your dream to smaller, actionable parts and set achievable goals for yourself. No, not the 5-year plan, but the smaller ones like the 1-year, 6-month, 3-month, and 1-month plans. Setting smaller targets will help you reach the larger goal progressively.

Write your goals down with respect to your personal and professional life, be as precise as possible, and lay out actionable steps for each of them.

3. Take Consistent Action

Consistency is the key to achieving what you want and living the dream life.

However, being consistent is not easy. There will be days when you will begin to lose patience and want to give up, and that’s completely understandable.

On such days, take time out and give yourself a break. Once you feel better, get back on track, because everything you do is a building block and will take you closer to your goal.

Whenever you feel disillusioned, revisit your goal and let it motivate you to keep going.

4. Track Your Progress

It’s important to track your progress regularly to ensure you are on the right path. You can use journals, calendars, and apps to keep a record of your progress and assess it.

For the times you feel you didn’t achieve your goal, keep a note of what went wrong, and learn from those mistakes. Focus on making progress rather than obsessing over perfection.

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Most importantly, remember to celebrate your achievements and give yourself credit for your successes because you wholly deserve it.

5. Be Open to Failure

Life is unpredictable. You can plan all you want, but also know that life won’t always go the way you planned it. You are bound to be met with some unforeseen circumstances or failures along the way, so be prepared for them all.

Embrace failure and don’t fear it because it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all. The key is to not take failure personally. Instead, use failures as an opportunity to learn and grow[1].

When you become better at failing, you develop a sense of fearlessness, which helps you get out of your comfort zone, take risks, and reach your goals.

6. Stay Away From Negativity

From your self-depreciating thoughts to people who see the bad in everything, negativity is all around you and won’t do anything to help you start living the dream. To not get stressed and bogged down by these thoughts, you need to develop zero tolerance to negativity.

Sometimes, one negative thought or comment can destroy all your efforts. Learn to identify such people or circumstances and set healthy boundaries to maintain your sanity.

Whenever you feel low, turn to doing things that distract you or make you happy, like playing a sport, listening to music, or even talking to someone who can make you feel better. Whatever it is, don’t harbor negative feelings – the faster you shake them off, the better.

Live the dream by switching to a positive mindset

    7. Surround Yourself With Positive People

    People around you have the power to influence you in many ways. Having the right kind of people around is essential for your growth and development. For instance, someone who is around toxic people is bound to have lower self-esteem and be forever stressed.

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    What you need is happy, encouraging, and supportive people, those who can guide you, lift your spirits, and help you maintain a positive frame of mind.

    8. Believe in Yourself

    To live your dream life, you need to first believe in yourself. However “impossible” your dream seems or regardless of what people tell you, don’t be afraid to believe in the fact that you will make it happen.

    When you are finding it hard to retain your belief, visualize yourself achieving that dream and condition your mind to act as if it has happened. You will be surprised to see how much strength you can derive from this small exercise.

    Cut out all the negative self-talk, and don’t worry about what others think because the day you move ahead with conviction, nothing can stop you from achieving success and living your dream.

    9. Focus on What You Can Control

    Sometimes when your mind is going places and leaving you stressed, take a deep breath, stop thinking, and eliminate all the unnecessary thoughts.

    Unproductive and unnecessary thoughts do nothing but act as deterrents, leaving you overwhelmed and upset. At such times, just focus on the things that are within your control and forget about the rest.

    You need to accept the fact that there are things that are beyond your control, and there is no need to waste your energy obsessing over them

    If you want to learn how to let go of what you can’t control, check out this article.

    10. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

    Talking about being unproductive, comparing yourself to others is another unproductive thought pattern that has never done anyone any good and can get in the way of living the dream life you’ve imagined.

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    In the time of social media, it’s difficult not to compare your life to others’. A classmate’s LinkedIn update is enough to get you wondering what you are doing with your life. Similarly, reading about a colleague’s vacation in some exotic location fills you with envy.

    One 2014 study showed that “participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”[2]. So while it may feel good to scroll through and see your best friend’s new puppy or your cousin’s new house, it likely isn’t doing your self-esteem any favors.

    Every time you make negative comparisons and feel terrible, consciously stop yourself. Everyone’s journey is different, and life is not a race. Compare yourself to yourself and work towards making progress. That’s all that matters.

    11. Stop Making Excuses

    “I’ll start exercising tomorrow,” “I’m too old for this,” “I’m waiting for the right time,” “When XYZ happens, I’ll start” – how many times have you found yourself giving such excuses?

    These excuses are holding you back and preventing you from getting results. Stop giving yourself excuses, overcome your fears, and act on your plan – that is the only way you will make progress.

    The Bottom Line

    Life is short, and you certainly must not waste your life living someone else’s dream. Years later when you look back at your life, you want to be left smiling rather than be filled with regrets.

    To make that happen, start with believing in your dream. Living the dream life does not come to a fortunate few. It comes to all those who diligently work towards turning their dreams into reality.

    More Tips on Living the Dream

    Featured photo credit: Atikh Bana via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: Managing Yourself: Can You Handle Failure?
    [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.

    More by this author

    Adela Belin

    Writes about motivation, mental health, personal development and shares stories inspired by her personal journey.

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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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