Make Your Life Your Own, Starting Now
The increasingly connected world that we live in today is overflowing with responsibilities, opinions and societal pressures that can easily make you feel as if your life isn’t truly your own. Everywhere we look there is someone or something telling us what we should be doing with our precious time and attention. If you passively listen to and obey all of these influences, you are likely to find that over time your life feels more and more like one of status quo. In order to break free from the societal dogma of today, you must dance to the beat of your own drum, be your true self, and live life your way.
The first step to truly making your life your own is to own it. Acknowledge and own your current situation, whatever that might be, whether you are satisfied with it or not. This will help you realistically determine your starting point and begin taking personal accountability. Many people fantasize about what they will do in the future, but overlook the present. They make excuses for their current state of affairs and continually put off taking the actions needed to achieve their goals. You must dig deep and assess your current situation, where you want to go, and then commit to making it happen. This intentional shift in mindset is the primary hurdle to taking control of your life.
On this journey, it is important to understand and accept that great things take time and effort. If you want to make changes in your life, begin by taking baby steps. We all must learn to crawl, and then walk, before we can run. For many people, making a life change follows a similar pattern. Intentional and incremental changes will add up over time. Identify the outcomes you desire and start doing what you can today, no matter how small the changes may seem.
Is the daily grind of your job wearing you down? Try adjusting your hours to better fit your schedule so you have more time for other meaningful things in your life. Start maximizing your breaks instead of just chit-chatting in the breakroom. If you have fitness goals, go for a walk. If you have side projects, spend a few minutes working on them to break up your day. If you have relationships in your life that you want to improve, use that time to make those phone calls. Even the smallest amount of time dedicated to something you are passionate about is helping to move you closer to your desired outcome.
Are you feeling bored in your current role? Ask for a new project or special assignment. Taking on something new can help you reengage with your work and greatly benefit the organization. Absolutely your organization should provide the tools, resources, and training to help you grow and develop, but it is a two-way street. Take ownership of your career goals and ask for the guidance and opportunities to make it happen. If you don’t know where to start, a mentor or talent development professional can provide guidance.
Is there a cause or initiative that you feel passionate about? Try to start a committee at work or an organization at your school to support the cause. If you don’t have enough time to do that, get involved in existing committees or social media groups to share ideas and support others. Connecting with other people to make a difference in the world, especially one that you are passionate about, is highly rewarding and ignites engagement.
Do you feel like you are in a rut? Make it a priority to try something new every day or every week. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but getting in the habit of leaving your comfort zone and changing things up will help you gain confidence. Order something different at your favorite restaurant, alter your workout routine, or get a different haircut. Eventually, when the opportunity presents itself, you will be ready to say yes to even bigger changes in your life to create the impact you are striving for.
Don’t feel like you have enough time? Carve out 15 minutes each day to dedicate to yourself as a starting point. In my article 3 Tips to Immediately Gain Back More of Your Time I highlight a variety of ways to save time, so I’m confident that anyone can find at least 15 minutes to start with. Use this time for you and only you. Whether you choose to meditate, exercise, work on a project, read, or do hand stands in your driveway, it doesn’t matter. Dedicating time to do you, without worrying about anything else, is critical for your well-being and provides the mental clarity you need to focus on your most important goals.
Your lifestyle goals may be ambitious, and I hope they are, but you must start somewhere. These small incremental changes are easy, actionable items that will compound and make a big impact over time. Start making your life your own by taking ownership of the things you have control over today, in order to create the life you desire tomorrow.