I’m sure you know that person. The one who seems to have taken the decision to ‘chuck it all in’ and make a ‘fresh start’ to live their dream lifestyle. We share their story amongst friends, or perhaps we heard it first from our family.
A lifestyle change inspired by others
These stories are almost glamourous, they inspire us and make us reflect on our own lives. We get an impression that the people in these stories have made the decision overnight, and then dived into putting all their energy into their lifestyle change the next day, and before you know it, they are ‘living the dream’. 🤔
We believe what we hear and see, without really understanding or even questioning if there was a lot of thinking and reflection that went on behind the scenes before any action was taken. We are completely ignorant of the efforts and considerations made by these guys, and this can become a barrier to us moving forward with our desires to change our own lifestyles.
In addition, when we hear such lifestyle change stories, we make certain reflections such as :
- They were lucky: everything happened smoothly for them. 👌
- ‘Those people are far more courageous (or reckless) than us. 😬
- ‘Their children were older and had left home already, and we still have ours so it’s not the same as for us’ 🤨
- ‘They were born into families that brought advantages that allowed them to make an easier change than it would be for us’ 🤔
The fear of the future and the fear of change prevent us from looking deeper at the possibility to make a lifestyle change. We consider that we don’t have the ‘luck’ and we end up dropping the idea and stay in our current rhythm and wait for retirement to be able to live out our true aspirations.
We see the mountain in front of us and often give up before even taking the first step to assess the way up. If we took time to define the best path, choose the right equipment, and of course, check the weather forecast, it boosts significantly our chances to get to the summit.
The reality of lifestyle change decisions
In my case, I had the desire to build a new way to live my life. A life more closely aligned with my true values, allowing more time for family, friends and my passions, and to be able to break away from the high consumption society. I really had no idea how to build that new life. I was scared of the sacrifices I’d have to make, but at the same
Looking back is now easy to say that there was not one big decision taken. It started with a curiosity and desire to live differently. I believe strongly that, anyone with the motivation to investigate, even a little bit, a lifestyle change, has enough to get started.
Bringing in structure and organization
So how do we move forward from just having the curiosity and the desire to creating an organized plan to live differently?
There is no big bang answer or a magic wand to make it happen. For us, we followed this 5-step process that allowed us to digest, accept and plan the changes we wanted to make in small, bite-size bits. It worked for us, so I don’t see why would it not work for you.
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An iterative approach driving many little decisions instead of one big one 🛠
When we take this simple but pragmatic 5 step approach, we are forced to ask ourselves lots of questions about:
- our priorities in life
- our existing lifestyle
- what our ideal lifestyle would look like
- what we are prepared to accept
- what we are not prepared to compromise
As we answer these questions one by one and being totally honest with ourselves, we are ultimately led down a path towards the life and lifestyle that we customize for ourselves. Following this process over time will allow you to build and roll out a successful lifestyle change plan in all the details necessary to be able to move to execution.
In fact, without you even realizing it, this process will actually move you significantly towards your new lifestyle. You will take small decisions or actions during the process and little by little propel you in the direction you want to go. The iterative approach is key and allows you to test, change, update, try again, etc. This continues until you are comfortable with the plans you are building and have answered all the questions that come up along the way. At which point you will probably be no longer looking back at your old lifestyle, but already looking forward to the lifestyle you will soon be living.
Making Lifestyle changes that last become possible when you break them down into small manageable pieces and attack them one by one!
Lifestyle Change – Decision or Process?
So, in short, the question in the title of this article was a blatant trap. 😉
Lifestyle change follows a process that allows us to take lots of little decisions. It’s both a process and many many decisions! 😁
Imagine! You could be the subject of future ‘glamorous’ discussions between your friends & families You have become that person that ‘threw caution to the wind’ and decided to change everything overnight to live your ideal lifestyle. Little will those who tell the story know, that changing everything took a little longer than just overnight. 😎
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash