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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

5 Steps to Designing Your Life to Maximize Success

5 Steps to Designing Your Life to Maximize Success

Are you consciously designing your life? Do you really understand what that means and how to do it?

This matters because, in a time when online marketers are pitching their services or products, promising that they’ll give you the time and financial freedom you need to create your “life by design,” it is important for you to have an understanding of what designing your life actually looks like and how to do it effectively.

The problem is that, while it sounds great in theory, most people don’t understand what it means to create a meaningful life by design, and they do not have the first clue where to start to make that happen when they feel stuck.

For that reason, I’m going to share with you 5 steps for designing your life in a way that is both sustainable and wise. If changing your life feels like too big a task, check out the video below to find some inspiration before you continue reading:

Step 1: Get Clear on What You Want

At the core of designing your life is the question of what you actually want and what will help you wake up excited to live every day. In order to achieve this, you have to get clear on exactly what you want.

We live in a society where people are overwhelmed with the inputs, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of others. Not to mention, the environments we are routinely in impact our values, beliefs, and desires on a deep level.

Because of that, it becomes very easy to lose touch with who we are and what we want in life among all the noise.

That’s why seeking clarity is so important.

Clarity is foundational to designing the life you desire to live because without it, the desires and expectations that everyone else has for your life will take over.

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In order to design your life, you have to break free from the stories of your past that have told you who you are and what you should want. The only effective way to do that is by seeking clarity. You can do this through mind mapping, journaling, or meditation.

If you’re not sure where to begin when figuring out what you want to do with your life, check out this article.

Step 2: Create a Plan

Once you’ve gotten clarity on exactly what you want in your life, the real “design” work comes when you create a plan to achieve those desires.

If you’re not sure what a good plan may include, this article is a good place to start.

Think about your life like a beautiful work of architecture. A bunch of builders didn’t just walk out there one day and start throwing things together in hopes that something nice would turn out.

Instead, they did the tedious work of mapping out every single detail of that structure, and they did it long before they ever even broke ground on building it.

One of the biggest reasons people never get to live the life they desire is that they are unwilling to do the necessary work of creating a plan to get there.

Yes, hard work, perseverance, and belief are all essential parts of you effectively creating and living the life you desire, but all of those are for naught if there isn’t a plan in place to design and build your life.

Be like the architect and take the time to create the plan before you start metaphorically breaking ground, swinging hammers, and constructing anything of significance in your life.

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Otherwise, you may find that the structure you’ve built isn’t the one you had hoped for.

Step 3: Be Flexible and Open-minded

Even when there is a plan in place, those who live the most fulfilled and joyful lives are those who are flexible and open-minded to change and new opportunities.[1]

One of the downsides to planning is that, because you invest so much time, energy, and effort into creating it, you can get rigid about following it to a T.

The problem is that many aspects of your life are constantly evolving and changing, and it is that fluid nature of life that brings uncertainty and adventure into the picture. Therefore, the plans you make today may no longer be relevant tomorrow.

You may have plans of going back to school to further your education, but an opportunity to step into entrepreneurship may come available.

Accomplishing some big goal may be in your plans, but a bigger goal may present itself, or the original goal may no longer be of interest to you.

In both of those scenarios, being dogmatic about carrying out the original plan may be a detriment to future opportunities. The main point in all of this is that when it comes to designing your life, you absolutely want to have a plan in place, but you must also keep an open heart and open mind.

Step 4: Say “No” More Often

If you take away nothing else from this article, this may be the one piece of wisdom you want to hold on to.

We live in a society where “busy” is celebrated. The problem is that when busy becomes your default way of living, the things you care most about have a way of getting buried under other stuff.

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That’s why the subtle art of learning to say no more often is necessary if you want to start designing your life.[2]

Learn to say no to start designing your life wisely

    One truth about life is that you can’t do two things at once — at least not effectively.

    If you add together the unknown and the limited time you have, you’re either designing your life, or you are falling victim to others’ agendas.

    We live in a culture where “no” has a negative connotation. Because of that, most people grow up lacking the ability to effectively take a stand for their time and confidently say no to something.

    Whether it’s due to a fear of upsetting someone or letting someone down, or the dreaded fear of missing out (FOMO), people just aren’t great at saying no.

    However, if you truly want to start designing your life effectively, it’s imperative that you take back control of your time and agenda.

    Step 5: Understand That Failure Is Part of the Process

    Most people live in fear of failure, and that fear stifles their ability to go after the true goals, dreams, and aspirations. However, if you want to be able to design your life, you must not only accept that failure is going to be part of the process, but you must also learn to embrace it.

    I’ll tell you why: it is through the failures in life that we often learn our greatest lessons and are able to achieve more growth.

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    You see, most people don’t take time to reflect upon their wins to figure out what went well that allowed them to win. And they definitely don’t take time to evaluate what they can do better next time.

    However, when people fail, they tend to be a bit more reflective, especially regarding why they failed in the first place. If you can learn to dig into your failures a bit more and see them as learning opportunities, you will set yourself up for long-term success.

    One of the biggest problems with failure is that people see it as a stop sign. They think that is the end of the road, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

    If you want to start designing your life, start thinking of failure as a yield sign instead — a place where you pause, evaluate the situation, and proceed when you’re ready.

    When you can learn to view failure in this way, you start to understand the benefits of it, and once you can understand its benefits, you’ll not only stop fearing failure, but you’ll start embracing it.

    Final Thoughts

    Living a life by design is absolutely possible. However, you have to remember that it is a conscious process.

    Just like with architecture, great works don’t happen by accident. It’s through conscious, intentional action that someone is able to build a well-lived life.

    By engaging with the 5 steps outlined here, you’ll be effective and actually enjoy the process of designing your life.

    More Tips on Living the Life You Want

    Featured photo credit: Marcos Paulo Prado via unsplash.com

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    Justin Aldridge

    Success Coach, Author, and Speaker helping people wake up to their potential to create lives better than their wildest dreams.

    How to Find Motivation When Tough Times Won’t Seem to Pass How to Attract Like-Minded People to Inspire You 20 Values in Life That Will Lead You to Happiness and Success Manifestation is a hot topic in this ever-growing personal-development-conscious world and culture we live in. Some people see manifestation as a woo woo, hyper-spiritual practice that focuses on bringing into your life that you energetically align with. Others view manifestation as a result of hard work and extreme action. Manifestation = the fruits of your labor. Still, many fall somewhere in between. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, there are a few practical, actionable steps you can take in order to manifest anything you want. Keep on reading to learn how to do that. 5 Steps on How to Manifest Anything You Want Seek Clarity The first step in the manifestation process is seeking clarity. Whether you see it as a spiritual or actionable process, the core concept remains the same: you bring what you desire into your life. If you’re not clear on that, then how can you expect to manifest it? That would be like taking a road trip, hoping to end up in a specific destination, but refusing to define where it is. It doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, does it? Well, if you’re hoping to manifest a specific outcome but don’t know what it is, how will you ever know if you’ve manifested it? By seeking clarity, you gain direction. You take the guesswork out of wondering if you have manifested your desire and provide a clear target. Furthermore, it allows you to eliminate distractions and focus your attention on the desired outcome. Your reticular activating system (RAS), a part of your brain that acts as a filter, will start to hone in on the information that is relevant to your goal and discard the information that is not. By being crystal clear on what you’d like to manifest, you’re letting your brain run in the background while you’re consciously putting in the work. Align With Your Goal It’s all good and well to sit down and create a list of the things you’d like to manifest. However, if you’re not aligned with the steps required to make it happen, your list essentially becomes a wishlist. If you truly want to understand how to manifest anything you want, you have to understand alignment. Alignment means ensuring that your morals, values, ethics, and energy are in line with your desired results. For example, if you would like to manifest a million dollars but think that money is the root of all evil, you are not in alignment with what you’d like to manifest. Similarly, let’s say that you want to have a better, healthier body. If you are not mentally and emotionally prepared to put in the amount of work and effort required to achieve your desired outcome, you won’t realize it. So, in order to manifest something in your life, you have to make sure that you are in alignment with your goals first. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself disappointed, lacking the motivation, or self-sabotaging in your pursuit. Hold the Belief One of the biggest mistakes I see when people are trying to manifest something in their lives is not holding a belief. Would they love to realize a dream? Absolutely! But do they actually believe that they can? Uh, no! That’s the problem. When you seek manifestation in life, you must believe that it is actually possible to happen. Now, to be clear, I am not saying that you should only attempt to manifest things that you are 100% certain you can do. Manifestation, just like goal achievement, is a process of growth. You should become a more evolved version of yourself in order to manifest what you desire. There should be a certain level of uncomfortability that exists when deciding on what you’d like to manifest. But you can still be confident in yourself to show up and do the necessary work to see your goals occur while also feeling a bit overwhelmed by its grandness. If you cannot believe in your abilities, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Keep Your Vibration High and Clear Resistance So much of the process of manifestation — and goal setting, for that matter — is about your mindset and perseverance. Notice what I said there: “the process of manifestation.” Many people forget that manifestation is a process, and a time-consuming one at that. In this society we live in, a lot of people fall victim to believing that things should come easily or instantly. However, because manifestation requires growth and development, it definitely doesn't come easy or happen instantaneously. It can take time and effort to manifest your greatest desires, so it is essential to keep your vibration high. Below are a few tips to guarantee the latter: Optimize your environment for the mood and emotions you want to feel; Eliminate or distance yourself from people who lower your vibration or put you in a negative state; Meditate; Exercise; Make time for activities that bring you joy and happiness; and Get plenty of sleep. By doing some or all these things, you’ll find it so much easier to maintain a high vibration. Moreover, resistance can either be internal or external. The tips above are crucial in getting rid of resistance that block you from moving forward or cause you to quit, namely limiting stories, physical exhaustion, negative people, etc. But regardless of where it is coming from, you need to break through the resistance in order to manifest your greatest desires. Track Your Progress and Celebrate Another good way to keep your vibration high and persevere throughout the manifestation process is by tracking and celebrating your progress. Often, we get laser-focused on the result and adopt an all-or-nothing mentality when we’re pursuing a goal or attempting to manifest something in our lives. The problem with that is the fact that you won’t know if you’re making progress and may get discouraged if you do otherwise. After all, manifestation may take some time. Think about any racing video game, for instance. As far as I can remember, every game I ever played didn’t just put you on the track and tell you to complete a certain number of laps. No, there were checkpoints along the way. These little markers allowed you to know that you were on pace to achieving your goal of finishing the race. Each time you made it to another checkpoint, you knew you were still in the race. It works the same way in real life. While you’re holding the belief that you will follow through and manifest you desires, you can also help yourself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by setting up some checkpoints in the process. These checkpoints will remind you that you are still on track to manifesting what you want. And once you hit every checkpoint, make sure you celebrate! As high achievers, we often celebrate one milestone by immediately moving on to the next. This is dangerous because you slowly turn off the dopamine response in your brain that’s signaled when you achieve your goals if you don’t celebrate. When this happens, you fall into that vicious cycle of enough never being enough. So, be sure to celebrate hitting those checkpoints once you establish them. Conclusion To review, the first step in the manifestation process is being clear on what you want to manifest. This will give you peace of mind and allow your RAS to work for you. After gaining clarity, check in with yourself to make sure that you are actually in alignment with what you’d like to manifest. If you’re not, seeing it take place in real life will feel like an uphill battle. The next step is to hold belief. In order to manifest something in your life, you have to believe that you can do it. Be honest with yourself and ask whether you truly believe you can manifest what you are talking about. Keep your vibration high and clear resistance, too — that’s the next step in understanding how to manifest what you want in your life. Manifestation is a process that can take time and effort. If you don’t protect your vibration and clear resistance along the way, it’ll be a tough ask of yourself. Lastly, in order to manifest anything you want, track your progress by setting up checkpoints and then celebrate it afterwards. That is how you can manifest anything you want. How to Manifest Anything You Want and Achieve Your Dreams 4 Ways to Focus on Your Goals and Avoid Distractions

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    7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

    7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

    Changing your mindset is no easy task, but having an open and positive mindset is a game changer. Your personal growth is what propels the choices you make for your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Just something as simple as changing your thinking can change your life.

    Importance of Mindset Work

    There’s great importance in spending time doing mindset work. Within this period, we begin to understand ourselves, and through that understanding, we become more compassionate and patient with ourselves.

    Our society and culture thrive on the busyness that life brings not only into our lives but even to our dinner table. With that comes some consequences of using “band-aid” solutions and quick remedies to get through particular blocks in our lives. Those solutions never last long and it’s about committing the time and effort to slow down, ground ourselves, and reshift our focus.

    Changing your thinking is not only to be more optimistic but giving your mind the breathing room it needs to grow and expand. It’s about looking at everything that hasn’t worked for you and being open to other ways that might.

    How to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

    Here are 11 practical ways to change your thinking:

    1. Show up

    Not feeling the gym? Go anyway. Don’t feel like playing the piano after making a commitment to practice every day? Do it and play.

    The payout of showing up and committing goes a long way. It builds confidence, and with that growth, your mindset begins to change.

    Of course, showing up may not always be fun but by meeting these small goals on your list allows you to tackle on the bigger ones that may seem far out of reach.

    2. Find an Anchor

    We all need an anchor, or in other words, we all need something to believe in when our thoughts are wavering. Whether you are religious, have a spiritual connection with a higher power, or have someone who grounds you – hold onto it.

    My dad first introduced me to the Law of Attraction when I was 17 and to be completely honest, I thought it was silly and never gave it much thought. Fast forward ten years and the Law of Attraction has become so integrated into my daily life that it’s become the anchor in my belief system. That anchor is also what propels me to be a better version of myself. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel when I have convinced myself that light does not exist.

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    The purpose of an anchor is to ground you when your mind and/or external factors come weighing you down. It’s about having faith and trust in that one thing or power when everything else seems to go dark. This is one of the most important things you need to have if you want to begin to change your mindset.

    3. Ask Why

    It’s really that simple. In order to change your thinking, you have to dig deeper into what it is that’s causing a reaction.

    • Why does it bother me that another person took the parking slot that I was waiting for?
    • Why do I feel uneasy when I dine at a restaurant alone?
    • Why do I feel happy after I purchase a new outfit?

    We ask “why” to a lot of external factors, but very rarely we ask that about ourselves. It’s also a way to get to know yourself as if getting to know a friend.

    As we begin to answer these questions, we realize that it’s not the external factors that bring happiness, sadness, guilt, or joy, and it’s more about understanding our own values.

    Now, have a conversation with yourself and reflect on your answers when you do ask these “whys.”

    For example:

    The reason why I’m irritated at this person for taking my parking slot is that I’m busy and have endless errands to run. I don’t have time to be looking for another slot.

    Reflection: how am I managing my time and are these time restrictions causing me unnecessary stress? I should prioritize my errands so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

    The reason why I feel uneasy when I dine in at a restaurant alone is that I don’t want people to think I have no friends.

    Reflection: I care a lot of what people think of me including strangers and it affects my emotional well-being. I don’t have these thoughts when I see another person eating alone, so why and when did I start having this opinion about myself? I should start dining out alone so I can learn how to step out of my comfort zone.

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    The reason why I feel great after purchasing a new outfit is is that I feel confident.

    Confidence is key because it determines how I show up when I meet strangers, clients, and overall how I carry myself. How do I maintain this confidence without splurging on a new outfit everytime I need that extra boost? I could wear my glasses or carry a book with me to help me play that part.

    Having these mindful yet straightforward conversations with yourself are simple ways you can change your thinking. Reflection is the key to understanding your strong and weak points.

    Here is also a great article on the power of self-reflection and ten questions you should ask yourself.

    4. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

    As mentioned above, we all have a comfort zone. Like a turtle, we feel cozy and safe inside our shell, but to change your thinking, one must be willing to step out of that shell no matter how much that shell feels like home.

    Our mindset will only begin to change if we allow ourselves to be exposed to the possibilities of change. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be one of the hardest things you can do, but it all goes back to building your confidence.

    Some of the most significant friendships I have to date is all thanks to the five seconds I decided to step out of my comfort zone, introduce myself, and carry a converastion.

    Strive to learn something new every day – even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable at first.

    Still wondering how to step out of your comfort zone? Take a look at this article:

    Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

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    5. Look at Things from a Different View

    I once asked a friend what self-love meant to her. She answered, “self-love means being a parent to yourself.”

    I was never expecting that answer, but it got me the wheels in my mind exploring other definitions of what self-love could mean to others and myself.

    Changing your thinking also means being open to other opinions, especially if it challenges your own. You’ll begin to realize that the more mindset work you dive into, the more you will be approaching new opinions and ideas from a grounding and calming place. Things that used to have you on your defense will slowly turn into a question of curiosity instead.

    6. Slow Down

    Here’s the thing. You take the same route to work and leave your house at the same time. While on you are getting off the highway, you stop by your favorite coffee shop to order your daily brew, then you’re out the door and heading straight to the office.

    During this daily routine, have you ever noticed the color of the corner building right before you get off the highway? Or have you noticed whether your barista is left-handed or right-handed?

    Probably not, because most of the time we tend to live our lives on auto-pilot.

    Science says we make about 35,000 decisions a day;[1] therefore it makes sense that half the time our minds are on auto-pilot. There are great setbacks that come from having this “auto switch” including having those feelings of mindlessly scrolling through your phone or being so deep in your thoughts that you are mentally checked out.

    One way to change your mindset is slowing down. When you slow down, you begin to find yourself in the same tune and vibrations as the world around you. You begin to become aware of what resonates with you and what doesn’t. You start becoming present.

    If you want to change your life, you must be present in the life you are currently living in. By being present, you begin to shift to a state of gratitude.

    7. Eliminate the Excuses and Create Solutions

    How often do we use the word “but?”

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    For instance, “I want to eat healthier but I’m so busy that I can’t meal prep,” “I want to buy a new car but I’m still paying off some of my debt,” “I would like to start my own business but I don’t have the time or finances for that.”

    Now eliminate the “but” and imagine how you would feel if these external factors weren’t much of an issue.

    This is a simple but powerful technique in changing your thinking. It’s all about tapping into those emotions and eliminating the roadblocks that we spend so much energy focusing on. Instead, begin shifting your focus from the but’s and toward the “how’s.”

    Here’s some nice advice for you:

    How to Stop Making Excuses and Get What You Want

    The Bottom Line

    Changing your mindset is a work in progress and one that should be eye-opening as it is rewarding. It’s about getting to know yourself on a deeper level and creating a friendship with yourself along the way.

    There’s no one solution fits all, but it all comes down to taking that first step.

    More Resources About Living a Fulfilling Life

    Featured photo credit: Clay Banks via unsplash.com

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