Last Updated on October 4, 2021

How to Live By Design, Not By Default

How to Live By Design, Not By Default

Ask yourself this: if you could, would you change anything about your life?

There is a good chance that even if you are happy with most of the things that you have around you, you would still make some changes to your current life. Some of these things may be small changes that are easy to implement, but what if you feel that you may need some more significant change? For sure, this can be somewhat overwhelming, and there is a much greater chance that you will find it harder to be motivated to make those seemingly impossible changes.

I am here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case. It is hard to change your life, but you need to realize that even the biggest dreams, even the most major of lifestyle changes, can happen. You just need to make some smaller tweaks to get there.

What Does “To Live by Design” Mean?

This is where the idea of living by design rather than by default. When you live by default, then you are reacting to the things that are happening to you, as and when they are happening. You don’t take any control over what happens in your life—you just go through it, experiencing whatever is thrown at you and feeling that there is nothing that you can do about it.

Living by design, in comparison, is when you do whatever you can to take charge of your life. You make decisions that impact how you feel and what happens to you. Or, at the very least, you practice things such as mindfulness, which allows you to react to your situations in the right way.


It is good for all of us to try and live our lives by design. So, if you want to know more about how you can do this, I have put together my top tips on how to live by design.

1. Have a Sleep Routine

You may think that sleep routines are for children, but this isn’t strictly true. Yes, sleep routines will help children feel ready for bed and get the right amount of rest. But, they can be just as useful for adults too.

If you teach your body (and your mind) that it is time to wind down for bed, then you are going to be in a much better place to get some sleep. Think about what you want to do before you go to bed and make sure that you do them, whether having a hot chocolate or settling down with a good book.

2. Be Mindful

Mindfulness is recommended for various aspects of our lives, be that positive mental health or simply finding a connection with the world around us. If you want to make active choices in what happens to you, then being mindful is a key part of this.

Rather than worrying about what might happen or what has happened in the past, if you focus on the moment that you are in right now and how you are feeling at that precise point in time, then you are going to be better placed to deal with whatever life wants to throw at you.


3. Set Some Boundaries

How you let others treat you can be a massive part of what happens to you during your life. It is very important that you have boundaries between what you will do and what you won’t do. Think about how you can help those around you and how you can support them without it having a detrimental impact on your life and your emotional well-being.

Once you know what you can offer, then set some boundaries for yourself. Tell people what you can do and, above everything else, don’t be afraid to say no. It might not be what the other person wants to hear, but it is what you need to say.

4. Say Your Desires Out Loud

How can you ever know what you want in the long-term if you don’t say them? This means that one of the best things you can do to try and give yourself the chance to change your life is to say your desires out loud. Not only will you be able to remind yourself of what it is that you want to achieve, but you will also be telling those around you what it is that you want to. They will know where you are heading, and they will—so long as they positively impact your life—want to go with you to get there.

5. Be Aware of Your Values

We all have essential values that form a massive part of who we are and what we do in life. This means that you should make sure that you are aware of which values appeal to you the most.

When you know what you value, then you can start to find ways to unlock who you really are and be ready to be true to that person. You can also ignore any of the thoughts that other people have of you and then, in turn, what they project onto you or assume is true for you.


6. Practice Gratitude

To make sure that you are thinking about how to change your life for the better is to be grateful for what you already have. Gratitude is essential to practice in your life. Not only does it give you the chance to sit back and think about all the good things that have happened to you, but it also set you up for all the good things that are going to happen.

Being grateful for what you have will also teach you that you can still find something suitable even in the most negative of situations.

7. Know What You Are Good at and Own It

We all have talents and abilities that we can do well. All too often, we don’t recognize these talents as being something positive, as something to be proud of—but we should. Recognizing what sets you apart from everyone else in the world and how that makes you unique can go a long way to changing your future path.

If you know what you are good at and own it, you can work these gifts and talents into your future efforts. You can think about how to use it to your advantage and then get yourself on the right course.

Of course, if you are still learning what it is that you are good at, then you could always ask others what they think. You may be surprised not only at learning about how they see you as a person but also hearing these kind words from people that you care so much about is always going to make you feel amazing inside and out.


8. Create Your Blueprint to Live by Design

Livuing by design is an action, so don’t just talk about it.

Set up small objectives which lead you to your ultimate goal — your ideal life. Breakdown what needs to happen daily, weekly and monthy.

Remember, as you continue on this journey, your excitement will build as your mini-goals are achieved. You can learn more about how to achieve your goals here: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it is really important to make sure that you know how to take charge of your own life. However, the good news is that there are so many ways that you can do this and turn things around.

Don’t just wait around for good fortune to come to you and transform what it is that you hope for. Do whatever you can to change things for yourself—be the person you want to be and achieve the things you want to accomplish in your future.


More Tips on Living by Design

Featured photo credit: Fernando Brasil via

More by this author

Fabio De Sio

LIfe Coach & Motivational Speaker

How to Create a 10 Year Plan for Your Life How to Live By Design, Not By Default 4 Effective Goal-Setting Templates To Help you Set Goals Understand Goal-Setting Theory To Make Your Goal Happen How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone

Trending in Life Potential

1 An Inspiring Interview with Steve White, President, Special Counsel to the CEO of Comcast 2 How to Make Big Life Changes (Your Complete Guide) 3 4 Simple Steps to Start Living a Positive Life 4 How to Find Your Inner Strength and Let It Shine 5 The 5 Areas of Personal Growth (And How to Improve Them)

Read Next


Last Updated on January 20, 2022

An Inspiring Interview with Steve White, President, Special Counsel to the CEO of Comcast

An Inspiring Interview with Steve White,  President, Special Counsel to the CEO of Comcast

Do you let circumstances define who you are, or do you take charge of your life no matter how challenging it is?

I have the pleasure to interview Steve White, president, special counsel to the CEO of Comcast Cable. He works with executives on a number of important initiatives, including leadership development, strategic planning, diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I) and digital equality. As President of Comcast’s West Devision, he has led nearly thirty thousand employees, served almost ten million customers, and driven annual revenue nearly $18 billion.

steve white

    Steve started working as a young boy, helping his single mother clean motel rooms. He knew his mom was more capable than what she was doing, and he wondered what she and his three brothers could do if they had means and opportunities.

    Those early years taught Steve that an unwavering work ethic and commitment attracts opportunities that lead to an impactful life. His mother was living proof. If not for her determination to raise her four boys, Steve might never have gone through some of the life-changing moments.


    Steve developed an uncompromising mindset since he was young and now still apply the same will to keep his purpose front and center. That purpose is to create a table of prosperity that everyone can participate and enjoy.

    Let’s dive right into our interview conversaion and learn about Steve’s inspiring story and winning philosophy:

    1. In a nutshell, what made you decide to transition professionally to writing, speaking and inspiring others?


    I was inspired by a quote that’s often attributed to Mark Twain. “The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.” Through hardship, I was able to answer the second question. The reason I was placed on this earth is to create a table of prosperity for others. Sharing my life lessons—the successes and failures—is in service of my why.


    2. Is there something about helping people achieve personal and professional success that helped you discover something about yourself?


    Yes. We all want to be needed and counted on. I was the oldest of four boys raised by a single mother and she counted on me a great deal to assist, help and, in some cases, lead. I enjoyed and respected the responsibility. In some ways, I enjoyed receiving the approval of a job well done.

    3. How do you currently measure success?



    I measure success in the following ways:

    • Family = laughter
    • Giving back = gratitude
    • Business = Are we improving every day? Are we focused on “the process” and not just the results? Did my employees’ W2s increase year over year?

    4. Have there been any surprises along the way? Perhaps something that didn’t quite work out as planned?


    I wanted to be a sportscaster. No regrets but you never say never.

    5. Tell us more about your Daily Wins newsletter?



    Life is hard. The way you succeed in life is to focus on the process versus the outcome. As a result, you have to take each day as it comes and focus on being successful today so tomorrow will take care of itself. The Daily Wins provides that ongoing focus on the process. If you win today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

    6. Are there any leaders who continue to motivate and inspire you? How do you keep learning?


    The two most important women in my life: My Wife and My Mother. My joyful nine-year-old son and all leaders who overcome adversity inspire me. I keep learning by surrounding myself with successful people and accountability coaches who push me through love, support, and tough questions.


    I hope you enjoy my interview with Steve and are inspired by Steve’s story!

    If you want to know more about Steve, check out his website and his book Uncompromising: How an Unwavering Commitment to Your Why Leads to an Impactful Life and a Lasting Legacy.

    Read Next