We all know that person or those people who seem to have thrown caution to the wind and have made big changes in their lifestyle from one day to the next. When you talk to them or observe from a distance, it all seemed so easy for them and they were able to make the change easily virtually overnight.
What we see is not always what is true!
From my personal experience in making my lifestyle change, I’ve become oh so aware that the reality is far from those initial perceptions. 🤔 As part of my personal acceptance process over the last 2-3 years I’ve done a lot of research and talked to as many of these “brave” people as I can, and when you really get into details with them, more often than not the actual lifestyle change (what everyone sees) is just the final culminating act of a long and slow evolution of mindset leading to final acceptance and finally bringing the courage to actually make the leap towards a true lifestyle change.
Understanding your motivation
Looking back, I identified a number of factors that were pushing me to change my lifestyle and to try and disengage from my old mad paced life (one of my bosses told me he considered me running a marathon of daily sprints).
The main subjects turning in my head were:
- There was an ever-growing gap between my personal values and those expected of me in my professional environment. 🙃
- A desire to get out of the vicious circle of high consumption society which is putting our planet at risk.
- As I get older, I realize more and more the value of time shared with family, and on the things that bring out our true passion (for me being in nature 🌳 and motorbike rides 🏍).
- We are only on this planet for a finite period of time, and we are not necessarily in charge of how long that period is. The notion of Carpe Diem becomes more and more present and discussions around ‘bucket lists’ become more and more regular. 😟
Every person is different and it’s important to take stock of what your true drivers are so that when you build your lifestyle change plan, you will have a better understanding of what’s acceptable for you, and more importantly what’s not! For example, if your true desire is to spend more time with your family, it makes no sense to plan to go live on a beach in Thailand giving surf lessons for a living (unless you take all your family with you of course 😉)
Getting a clear vision of where you want to go
A simple piece of advice to help you get a clear idea of what’s really driving you is to talk with your friends, family, or anyone that you trust to share your ideas. The mirror effect is a really powerful way to help put things in perspective. 🤓
Once you are clear on what your real internal drivers are you can start to build your plan. There will be some key elements that are unavoidable.
- How do I achieve financial independence?
- What can I accept to give up or to do differently to achieve that independence?
The ups and downs in the reflections
If you are anything like me (and I don’t consider myself special or different, but who knows ☺) then when you build your plan there will things that won’t go down so easily.
- Having my incoming salary each month is comforting if I stop that – it’s going to hurt…..😬
- Can I really accept to reduce my spending to a level that makes my plan work? (Am I disciplined enough)
- Am I really motived to the point to be able to carry it through?
- Am I able to convince my wife and family and will they support me?
At each stage of reflection, it was a bit like getting stuck in the mud and I had the feeling that it was not possible to move forward and the easiest thing was to just give up and accept that I was condemned to keep in my existing lifestyle. When I evolved my plan over time however, little by little, things that seem impossible before now seemed easy and were no longer a worry. The reality was that I needed time to accept that the things that I thought were important to me and part of my habitual elements in my existing lifestyle, were in fact not that important. I needed to grieve and accept to let go of these old habits so that I could embrace and move towards building new ones.
I found some excellent explanations on this here.
It’s totally normal to take time – if you don’t take it, no one will give it to you
The only thing that can help this natural acceptance is to invest in time. Time ⏲, time ⌚ and more time 🕰 (I took more than 3 years to finally be in a position to take make the changes I wanted 🍾). If you are truly motivated to make a change (and if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I was at the start, but I managed to hang on in there and remain in line with my convictions and motivations), then that time will allow you to build a lifestyle change plan that will not only be acceptable to you, but in the end be the only obvious plan for your future. As I had, you will have your existing pressures of work, family, friends, sports, etc that will prevent you from investing and taking time to change your lifestyle, but if you don’t take the time, no-one will give it to you. From the outset the more you invest your time on your new life, the easier it will be to let your old habits and old lifestyle behind the day you are ready to take the plunge. You can plan time in your agenda (1 hour per weekend for example) to ensure you move forward at a steady and regular pace.
Good luck in any case to those of you who embark on this big change and may you find your way and build your plan, and more importantly get to the point where you launch your plan, but don’t be in a hurry to get there! 😉
Credit Photo: Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash