Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined.
- Henry David Thoreau
I have been reading a lot about how-to live the life you want. An exercise I’ve seen during this time is to write down what your ideal day would be. I did this. Then I went back to it a few days later and realized I wasn’t being honest about the life I want. I was letting the opinions of family, friends, and society dictate what I wrote down. Even though no one would see it but me I still couldn’t be completely truthful with myself about how I want to live.
I redid the exercise after my realization and felt much better about what I wrote. It got me thinking about how much we value other’s opinions even if they aren’t our own. Why, as an individual, am I willing to live my life based on other people’s values? I think part of it is that it’s just easy. We don’t rock the boat when we live the way people expect us to. We don’t have to explain our decisions or try to get other’s to see things our way.
In playing it safe we also short change ourselves. We don’t live the life that we really want to. We give up our dreams and aspirations for the easy path. Easy doesn’t mean that we’re happy though. The self-help industry wouldn’t be the mammoth it is if we were living how we wanted to.
So, how do you live the way you truly want? You start small; figure out what “living life fully” really means to you. Do the exercise and write down your ideal day. Then put it away for 24 hours. Go back and read what you wrote. Did you really put down what your ideal day is? Do you feel truly happy about what you’re doing from sun up to sun down on that page? If not, recognize it and start over.
Now that you see what your life could be like start planning on how to get there. Think about how you’ll spend your time, how you’ll make the income you need, how you’ll exercise your body and mind, and start to figure out what you need to make it happen. Maybe you’ll have to take classes, pay off debts, or move to a new location. Learn what those things are and start tackling them.
It may seem like the life you want is out of reach. It’s not though, you just have to recognize that it will take you moving past your comfort zone before any real change happens. I have been learning that myself and, while it’s not comfortable, I have realized quite a bit about myself. I’m starting to see that I’ve been holding myself back based on how other’s might react to my choices.
The thing is, the only one living this life 24-hours a day is you. So, be honest with yourself about the life you want. Write it down, start planning for it, and take that first small step towards making it happen.
What about you? Have you already figured out the life you want or do you live your life a certain way based on other people’s opinions? Let’s hear about it!