Updated on October 19th, 2018
We all live busy lives, with many responsibilities that need our attention. It’s easy to say that creating a life with (enough 0f) what we want is a luxury we have no time to work on.
And yet, if we don’t make the time, we risk staying stuck in a life we don’t enjoy.
So are you doing what you want? If not, here’s how to adjust – gently, at your pace, and in a way that fits into your schedule.
1 Work from your dissatisfaction
Where are you dissatisfied with your life? What frustrates you? What are you putting up with? Where are you just treading water, or going through the motions? What do you wish was different?
Maybe you’ve outgrown your work. Or a colleague’s attitude frustrates you. You feel tied down by too many obligations. You’re putting up with a bad relationship. Or wish you had more fun and adventure in your life.
Whatever it is:
Your answers will give you an indication where your life isn’t what you want yet, or where you’re not living enough of what really matters to you.
Acknowledging this is your first step to creating a life with more of what you do want in it.
So make a list of what you’re dissatisfied with.
2 One thing at a time
What’s the most urgent dissatisfaction to address? Or the easiest to start with? Where would even a small change make you a lot happier?
Start there! It doesn’t really matter so much where you start – only that you start.
Work on changing this one area until you feel a benefit. Only then move on to a next area you want to improve.
Addressing one thing at a time will stop you from feeling overwhelmed. It will make it easier to notice the (hopefully beneficial) effects of what you’re changing. And it will give you a sense of achievement, and motivate you to keep going.
3 Write down what you want
In the area of your life that you’ve decided to improve first – where you’re not doing enough of what you want – ask yourself:
For example, if your area of improvement is work: Do you want to work more? Less? From home? In an office? Outside? With other people? Alone? Do you want to earn more? Do you want to change role or field? Become self-employed?
The possibilities are endless. Write down what it is you want.
Now imagine yourself having or doing what you want in this area:
What does it look like? How does it feel to you? What’s the benefit to your life?
Write all of this down, and keep it somewhere where you will see it often and be reminded of it. Research has shown that even just writing down what you want gives you a 40% better chance of achieving it.
And if you don’t know what you want: Work from what you don’t want anymore.
Then ask yourself: What are more satisfying alternatives to that?
4 Break it down
What you want looks too big and daunting?
Break it down into manageable bits. Write down all that needs to happen for you to get to where you want to be:
What information do you need to gather? What decisions do you need to make? What actions do you need to take? Who do you need to talk to? Who needs to be involved? Who can help you?
Say you want to move abroad: You might want to talk to people in your country of choice. You will need to obtain immigration information. Decide which region and town you want to move to – perhaps travel to the country and check out places. You’ll need to organise your finances. Look at possible accommodation. Get information and apply for work. Set a moving date. Organise the move. You get the gist.
So list your things, then put them on a timeline: What can you start with straight away? What can happen some time soon, and what needs to wait until later? What’s connected? What’s quick to do, what will take more time?
All you need is rough roadmap for how you will go about doing all you need to do in order to move abroad. (Or whatever else it is you want to bring into your life.)
It doesn’t have to be a perfect, detailed plan. You’re likely to learn about your journey as your go along, and can refine your plan along the way.
5 Find your starting point
Which one thing can you do straight away?
If you feel daunted by that, pick something easy or quick.
It doesn’t matter as much what you start with as that you start.
A small action is better than none at all. Do what is possible, but do something: It will give you a sense that you’re underway towards what you want, and build your motivation and confidence.
6 Make time
Bringing in more of what you want into your life won’t happen on its own. You will need to spend some time working on it:
Reflecting on your dissatisfaction, and the life areas where you want to build in more of what you want. Thinking and talking to friends or family (or a coach) about what that looks like. Getting inspiration and information. Planning how you’ll do it. Taking actions towards that.
So dedicate some time for this each week, and book it into your diary.
Got no time?
The choice is yours. You can stay where you are, and stay dissatisfied.
Or you can free up some time: What could you do less of, or stop doing altogether? What could you give to someone else to do for you? Or delay to a later stage?
Even a little time is better than none. By all means work at your pace, and around your other responsibilities.
Treat this time like you would any important appointment. If buddying up with someone on the same journey, or working with a coach helps you stick to this time, then do that. And let others know that you’re unavailable then: After all, it’s your date with building a life you truly want!
Isn’t that worth spending time on?
7 Be flexible
Regularly review where you’re at in building in more of what you want in your life:
What’s worked, what hasn’t? What have you learnt from that? What can you keep doing, and what do you need to do differently?
Is what you wanted when you first started still what you want today?
Sometimes it takes trying for something we think we want, to understand if that was really what we wanted. Your views might change along the way, as you work to bring into your life more of what you want.
If they do, don’t be afraid to learn from that. And adjust your wants – and your plans towards them. Getting somewhere just for the sake of sticking to a plan, when you’ve learnt that it isn’t what you want after all, won’t help you. You want to end up with a life that has in it more of what you truly want!
Read more about this in Set Direction, Not Goals.
Don’t know if you are doing what you want?
Head over to Are You Doing What You Want: 3 Quick Checks.
Check out 10 Key Ingredients of a Life You Love.
Or get my structured, intuitive and empathetic coaching help. I specialise in working with people who are at crossroads and don’t know what they want. And I help them explore and find out what that is, and move into a life they want and love, with more ease than if they were to do it on their own. Take a look at my coaching programmes now!
Over to you now…
What are your experiences of bringing in more of what you want into your life?
I’d love to read your comments, if you care to share!
Title Photo: Pixabay
Graphics: Monica Castenetto