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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

12 Steps to Building the Ideal Life You Dream of

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12 Steps to Building the Ideal Life You Dream of

The ideal lifestyle is possible. Everyone can live the way they want… and in fact, they do. Because the way you live now, regardless of whether you like it or not, is what you chose to live like.

And you realize that mostly when you compare yourself to others, or when you do things you don’t want to do (the job you don’t like, different tasks and commitments). It’s when you see the bigger picture and understand this is not the way you want to live that you become aware of the fact that you can actually live better. So then you ask yourself: “What do I want my life to be like?” and “Who do I want to be in it?”.

And that itself is the first step towards your journey to the ideal life. It’s not about perfectionism, not at all. It’s about not having to work something we can’t stand, do things we don’t want, miss opportunities, lack time and sleep and so on.

It’s about enjoying life more, doing what you love, becoming someone you can be proud of, doing things for others and actually spending more time with your loved ones, creating things, giving and sharing… and simply being happy and contented with every day of your life.

1. Define the Ideal Lifestyle

For a start, ask yourself those two questions:

“What do I want my life to be like?” and “Who do I want to be in it?”

Answer them in the best and most honest way possible, because this will be your definition of what you want in life and who you want to become, and will eventually become your reality after some time.

An important thing you don’t want to miss is accepting the idea that you need to become someone else in order to live another kind of lifestyle. Many people think about what they could improve in the outer world and tend to forget that many inner changes will happen that are often more crucial. So be aware of that and embrace the qualities you need to build to become that person.

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2. Eliminate the Unnecessary

There are many things in your life right now that are preventing you from moving on. They may be people, thoughts, events, habits and so on. What you need to do is to eliminate them because they don’t have a place in your ideal lifestyle.

These are the things that hold you back from living the life you want: 12 Things You Do That Are Holding You Back From Success

3. Find What Works Best for You

Now that you have eliminated the unnecessary, you can make another step in your personal development. And this is the time to try and fail as much as possible.

What I mean is, you need to find what works best for you. And the best way is to try as many different things as you can and preferably fail many times. Because there is no better teacher than experience. Once you fail at something, you will know whether or not it’s for you and if it’s worth working on it.

Experiment with everything. You will eventually find out which works best for you — whether it’s a hobby, a job, the food you eat, the habits you do etc. Listen to your instincts in this case and do what’s best for you. Find your thing and stick to it.

4. Build a Few Keystone Habits

A keystone habit is a habit that provokes a chain of other activities that are good for you.

Getting up early for me is connected to a morning ritual with a healthy breakfast, a quick workout and a positive start of the day. This usually includes reading affirmations out loud and writing something. Going to the gym every day helps me stay on track. It’s followed by alternating hot and cold showers and staying motivated for the rest of the day.

The earlier you build such habits, the better. Once you make them stick, everything else will improve too. So work on them now and concentrate on other things later.

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Here are the best habits you can start implementing now:

  • working out
  • meditating
  • eating healthy
  • getting up early
  • planning your day from the night before

They are proven to work wonders and it’s very important to stick to them no matter what. Just make them lifelong habits and do the certain thing even if you’re on a vacation, even after you’ve had a bad day, even when everything seems pointless.

5. Find Your Passion

Listen to your inner voice, focus on the things you enjoy doing.

The point is not to only find it, but also embrace it, get better in it and make it an essential part of your daily life. You will find yourself living a more intentional and fulfilling life.

Learn How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person.

6. Make It Your Career

Here things get a little harder as you’ll need to work on your passion. But the difference this time is that you’ll be doing something you love, so you can’t really call it working.

If you want to become a writer, write every single day, whenever you can. Try to improve your writing at the same time and find ways to promote your work.

If you are a gym freak, master your performance in the gym. Keep your body in shape. Learn everything in this niche and get a certificate. Become a personal trainer and help others achieve the fitness goals they want.

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Absolutely everything in this world can be mastered and turned into something prosperous. Once you find what your passion is, work hard on it, dedicate time, energy and effort in it, and you’ll manage to make it your life’s work — one that perfectly suits your ideal life.

7. Decide What Time You Want to Spend Working

Arrange things in such a way that you’ll be able to work productively. It could be a few hours each day, or 4 days in a week.

Just make sure that you’re dedicating sufficient time and work to turn what you love into a profitable career.

Take a look at these 5 Steps To Turn Your Passion Into A Career.

8. Travel Often

Traveling is one of the best things you can do in life. It’s important to make it something you’ll do at least once or twice a year.

Most people usually travel to get out of reality and forget about their problems. But since you’ve built such a lifestyle that has a great reality and you don’t want to escape from it, traveling actullay offers you the opportunity to see the beauty of the world, and learn about the customs and culture of other countries.

This way your life will never be sedentary and you’ll never get bored.

9. Have Hobbies

Besides your career, what other things do yuo enjoy doing? Have some hobbies that can help you to rest or entertain your mind and body.

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Take a look at these 20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier.

10. Be Always on the Go

Never miss an opportunity to learn something new. No matter who you are now and what your income is, you always have what to learn.

Don’t neglect your spiritual and mental world. Meditate, read good books and find inspiration. Here’re 10 Ways to Find Learning Motivation (Even After You’ve Graduated).

11. Always Be Open for New Things

Try to do something new and something you fear a few times a month.

It may be approaching strangers, bungee jumping, public speaking, dancing, visiting new countries, trying new sports, etc. Each time you try something new, you challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and grow. Try these 7 Ways To Push Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zones.

12. Give and Be Grateful

Giving is the best investment and can make you way more contented than buying new stuff. So be able to give as much as you can, be it advice, encouragement or resources.

Also, never forget to be grateful. Each step of this journey should go along with appreciation. Express your gratitude to everything and everyone you have in life daily.

Final Thoughts

You see, building the ideal life may take some time and effort, but it’s not impossible.You just need a burning desire to achieve it all, and the willingness to work for it. Eventually, you’ll know it’s all worth it to lead the life you truly want.

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More Tips About Living the Life You Want

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

More by this author

Lidiya K

Lidiya is the founder of Let's Reach Success, a blog on personal, spiritual and business growth.

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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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