How do you find the time to make lifestyle changes when you are fully engaged in professional and family life?
Hhhmmm 🤔 when I look back at my experiences, there are some defining moments that confirmed that I was on the right track. There was also some catalytic elements that helped me set up a routine which allowed me to be successful in changing my lifestyle.
Too busy to change your lifestyle?
I’ve always been a hard, dedicated, worker. A good corporate soldier as one of my previous bosses described me. It meant that my underlying nature forced me to put my career and my professional responsibilities at the top of my priorities. The consequences of this were that for any personal project, it often came off being left to the side. For example, I’d always dreamed of being my own boss one day, but in my mind, I kept putting it off. Telling myself that I’d look at it in 1 or 2 years, knowing deep inside me that Id probably never get to it.
Motorbikes as my catalyst for change🏍
During my phase of deep reflection about my own future when I was looking for a better life quality balance ⚖, my good friend and I over a few drinks one evening shared our desire to do the Route 66 on motorbike one day. Nice? Yes, but ambitious as none of us had a French motorbike license! 🏍 For those of you who have experience with French administration, you’ll know that this was not a small or easy project in front of us.
We decided to commit and started this common project together! The two of us enrolled ourselves in the first of many stages to get our licenses. Little did I know it then, but that small step was a very important catalyst to my whole lifestyle change.
Making lifestyle changes that last is the objective, and I’m hoping that my experience will be able to help some of you find your own paths forward to a successful lifestyle change.
Build your support network
We live in a society that is more and more demanding. We are forced to be ‘strong’. However, even if we forget it from time to time, we all need to feel supported and loved to be able to face key defining moments that can be more or less stressful in our lives.
🏍Even if passing the French road code in our late 40’s was not very appealing the team approach made it much more palatable, and even an exciting joint challenge.
⚖For my lifestyle change project, I did the same thing. Clearly getting my wife and friends on board & supporting me allowed me through discussions and feedback to make the project more realistic and find the energy to move forward. Have certain people in whom I could have confidence involved made the project much more real.
Breaking it down into bite-size pieces
🏍 Our vision to enjoy driving on the famous route 66 one day, required us to obtain licenses, buy our machines, organizing our crazy agendas to create space for weekly 2 wheeled outings, and being organized and capable to make long-distance outings. Step by step, with patience, we built our plan to live our dream.
⚖The pursuit of a better lifestyle balance also rolled out in the same way. Based on the financial simulations Id done in the EFILYM Application. Id built a list of mini-projects and tasks to be undertaken to take me forward towards my new life (achieving independence as my own boss). Each step that is taken (Optimizing our savings, validating OR ruling out a potential option, etc) strengthened my lifestyle change plan and edged me closer and closer to my last official working day in my 9 to 5 job – which was in October 2018.
Engaging yourself in some changes
🏍 The simple act of going onto the internet to enroll myself in the motorbike license program reinforced my commitment to the end goal. Getting out on the motorbikes in all types of crappy weather with your driving instructor chatting in your headset telling you to turn right or left and telling you constantly what you didn’t do correctly, does not really bring a lot of pleasure, but when you have the end goal in mind it makes all of that much easier to accept 😊. The engagement is what carried me through the difficult parts.
In addition, I had to make myself available for a certain number of hours of driving practice. This meant planning slots in my work calendar. As there was an external party involved (the driving instructor) it was much easier to say no to last-minute meetings. For the first time in my career, I had a feeling that I was the master of at least a little bit of my agenda. 😎
⚖In a similar manner, I blocked regular 1-hour slots in the evening or during the weekend, for the lifestyle balance improvement project. I was talking with people, investigating options, and reading blogs on the internet (like you today 😊). I discovered that setting up my own business would make me eligible for certain financial grants depending on how I set myself up. Another simple act of engagement was to start to look in detail at our finances. To understand really where our money was going each month. The mere fact to analyze and understand allowed us to make a number of small changes that meant that any change in income via a lifestyle change could be more easily managed on D Day. When we did this, we also found additional ways to generate small passive income streams, which also make a big difference the day we give up the regular paycheck. The more I spent time planning our future lifestyle, the more I was engaged in the project. The virtual circle had started and the project well and truly on the right tracks! 🚂
Creating space for a lifestyle change
These projects were undertaken in parallel which would normally seem a bit crazy, but my motorbike project was able to open my eyes and give me the confidence in myself. It was a strong catalyst to continue in my pursuit of a better lifestyle balance also.
Looking back, I can see and understand clearly now that the key was creating the space in my life for these projects (even a little space). Little by little they grew and took on more and more importance, so eventually there was a tipping point.
For anyone contemplating a lifestyle change, you need to go through the following steps:
- Formally identify your priorities in life (write them down and share them).
- Map out your current financial situation.
- Define the lifestyle changes you want to make in line with your priorities.
- Translate these changes in financial terms and test your hypotheses.
- Analyze the risks and weak points in your plan.
- Find solutions to reduce risk and minimize the weak points (I’ll provide more tips on this in future articles).
- Iterate and mature your plan.
As you can see, a “Lifestyle Change” is broken down into 7 much smaller and manageable chunks and already it’s much less daunting. 👌😉
Now define when you are going to work on each step. The evening, lunch break or the weekend, it does not matter, but take some time and move forward at your own pace.
I wish you good luck with your lifestyle change project and I’d be keen to hear about your status & experiences– in whatever stage you are at. Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
The motorbike project you ask? Where am I now? There are still a few steps left before I’m cruising along route 66, but my friend and I now have our routine firmly in place for our weekly 2 wheeled outings. We are lucky to live in a region that is an absolute paradise for motorbike trips. We enjoy so much each and every outing. If you are interested you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram, and here are a few pictures….