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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

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The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, set your goals, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

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    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2022

    Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context

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    Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context

    Are you wondering…

    Where am I going in life? Where am I supposed to be going in life?

    And to answer your questions, here’s what the great writer and thinker, Christopher Morley famously wrote:

    There are three ingredients to the good life – learning, earning and yearning.

    Where Am I Going? Is It the Right Direction in Life?

    There are many times in life where one does not know what comes next or where to go in life. The realization that you are lost and don’t know where to go, or that you don’t like where you are going often comes as an epiphany.

    Most people describe this as being in a rut. It’s like you have everything you want and still so much is missing. You could have everything in the world but something about your life still doesn’t feel right.

    Signs That You Need to Change Direction in Life

    It is important to identify when you are unhappy with your life and want to change where you are going. Some of the most common signs of needing a change in life are as follows:

    1. You feel unhappy with your life and often reminiscence about the choices you made.
    2. You feel as if you are forced to go against your morals and intuition at work or home.
    3. The situation that you find yourself in currently is causing you a lot of stress.
    4. There is a fear or dread of the future and the consequences of your life decisions that have been causing you anxiety.
    5. You feel like you had to give up on your passions and interests just to make it in this world.
    6. The future that you are currently envisioning seems nothing like what practically lies ahead.
    7. You find yourself surrounded by unhappy people who often think you’re too idealistic.
    8. You often look forward to having a ‘good day’ even when nothing is particularly wrong with the days right now.

    If you feel like most of these signs apply to you, then it’s time to re-evaluate where you are headed in life and how you want to change that.

    The 3 Key Phases of Life

    Before learning how to choose the right direction for yourself, first try to understand the 3 key phases of life:

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    The Learning Phase

    The Learning phase typically stretches from the age of five into the early twenties and its over-riding characteristic is freedom.

    Your thinking is unfettered, you are chock-full of dreams and aspirations and (happily) someone else is footing the bills. It’s not a cliché to say that schooldays, for many of us, really were the happiest days of our lives.

    Contrast it with adult life – no one expects very much of you, and other than passing a few exams along the way and you can just swing along, having a great old time …

    The Earning Phase

    The next phase is the Earning years; the period from leaving formal education (at 20-something) to retirement (at 50-something or 60-something). Welcome to the grown-up world, welcome to the tax net.

    The overriding concern in this Earning phase is the security (I spell that word as follows: $ecurity because, for many people, this phase tends to be all about generating sufficient income to pay the monthly bills.)

    Reality bites. This can require sublimating the dreams of youth as a life of routine takes over. Few in the Earning years question the choices they have made because, typically, this questioning process can be quite disconcerting – oddly, I find this is particularly true of people who are less than happy with their working lives.

    Routine generation of wealth becomes paramount and you get swept along with the current. This is fine if you made sound choices in your late teens and early twenties with regard to your career. But if you didn’t … for routine, read ‘RUT’.

    Which brings us to Morley’s Yearning phase – from ceasing your full-time occupation until … well, ceasing.

    The Yearning Phase

    What is yearning? Unfortunately, yearning is not the same as simple hankering, wanting or desire. The dictionary definition of yearning is:

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    “A feeling of intense longing for something lost, absent or unattainable.”

    A bit gloomy. So for many people, the Yearning years are about looking back over a life not quite fulfilled and saying ‘I wish, I wish. If only … if only …’

    With the wisdom of years comes regret for the road not taken, the too-conservative choices made.

    Studies conducted in the geriatric population and on terminally ill people consistently demonstrate that regrets in human beings arise as a result of decisions not taken. The wise old owls that I have talked to over the years all speak with one voice on this.

    It is better to look back and think, ‘I wish I hadn’t …’ rather than wistfully saying, ‘I wish I had …’

    Think about where you are…

    As you think about your career, your life, and your plans for the future, you are, at the very least, going to have to contemplate some uncomfortable choices about yourself, your personal style and your level of happiness.

    I make no apologies for this – that’s just life. But I contend that it is better to take the time and spend the effort now to improve the choices that you make for later, rather than to have those choices made for you at a time that may not suit you.

    Some people get these choices unerringly right and they do so early in their lives. Others come to a realization of the right path much later in life. Ray Kroc changed his whole approach to his McDonald’s business in his early 50s. [1] Colonel Sanders didn’t start his KFC franchising efforts until he was in his early 60s.[2] And the list can go on.

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    It’s never too early and it’s never too late – but you have to think about it.

    How to Choose the Right Path

    Do you know at what phase of life are you now? Once you understand where you are now, the next step is to find the direction you want to move to.

    You have the motivation and direction to take your life where you need it to be, you just need to get up and do it. The best time for change is now, and if you procrastinate any further you might miss out on a great opportunity.

    To live a meaningful life, it is important to pick a direction that brings both peace and success. Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing a new direction in life:

    1. Chose What Your Inner Child Would Want

    It is very important to acknowledge the needs and opinions of our ‘inner child’. That’s because we often have real happiness at this age and develop passions that last us a lifetime. To calibrate your direction in life, think of what the younger you would feel about your current situation and what would they want to do.

    2. Think About The Things You Want To Change

    Make a list of the things in your current life that you are dissatisfied with and want to change. Then think of the alternative options you have to give yourself a life where you find happiness and fulfillment by avoiding these things. This will help you understand what must be done to feel good in life.

    3. Find Inspiration to Follow

    Everyone has an idea of what they want in life and finding inspiration isn’t hard in this day and age. Just think about those you admire and see as role models and try to follow in their footsteps. As they have already reached a place you associate to be a goal, you will find it easier to navigate your way through life to reach that destination as well.

    4. Be Clear on What You Don’t Want To Be

    To find out where you want to be headed in life, try finding out where you don’t want to end up. This would help identify situations and placed you would try and avoid at all costs. It keeps you on the right track because if you minimize the wrong paths, then choosing the right one becomes much easier.

    5. Learn to Enjoy Where You Are

    There is no such thing as a perfect life. What you need to learn, is to work hard and to find things to be happy and grateful for.

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    Live in the moment, appreciate the things you have. Only this way you will see clearly the meaning of your life.

    6. Commit to Getting or Staying Healthy

    Nothing is more important than your mental, spiritual and physical health.

    Getting your life on the right path isn’t something you can achieve in a day. But, with hard work and dedication, you will get there!

    7. Help Others

    By helping others you will increase your sense of purpose and improve self-esteem.

    There are many ways to do this. Volunteer in your community, mentor young people, or just help neighbors.

    You will be surprised by the feeling you will have after.

    Start Making the Change Today

    After reading all this, you are surely ready to change the direction of your life. Start by making a change today instead of just thinking about it. Every difficult journey starts with a single step, and this is the sign to take yours. Once you make one change, the rest follow suit and soon your life will be exactly how you want it to be.

    Need more help to get out of the rut? Take a look at these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Johannes Plenio via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Britannica: Ray Kroc
    [2] Biography: Colonel Sanders

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