It’s been said that one of the most painful things you can experience is when someone has been unfaithful to you. The combination of regret, anger, and self-questioning creating an inner torment!
Imagine then, if you will, the idea of you being unfaithful to oneself. You would have to be nuts to do that! Yet its what a lot of people are doing to themselves in their choice (or lack of choice) of lifestyle
What does it mean to be ‘unfaithful’ to yourself?
OK, lets back up a bit. What do you mean by being unfaithful to yourself?
To be able to answer that, let me ask back to you the question. Are you happy with your life?
The answer is maybe no, and that’s fine! We are all looking to improve our lifestyles, to be happier, to have less stress, etc. That’s OK too!
The real question is: Are you on the right track to eventually get the lifestyle you dream of?
I’d be willing to bet that most people will begrudgingly say no to that question also.
As we grow up we make many choices that define our life path.
- The choice of career – perhaps we choose to please others, or to be politically correct, we put aside our true passions for later in life (or never).
- We choose to found families to enrich our lives, but then ironically spend most of our time working long hours away from them.
- We end up working jobs that we don’t fully understand how they create value (how many of us become Powerpoint or Excel masters or spend hours in meetings that turn in circles and never generate decisions or useful outcomes)
- We enrich our lives with the latest technologies, fashions, and conveniences in the search for easier and more fulfilling lives, but deep inside we never find that happiness we were looking for.
These are the consequences of living in a consumption-based society. If we don’t get a good job we can never be considered successful, buy a house, have a family. Whether we like it or not society pushes us to conform. To get educated, build a solid long successful career, and acquire all the trappings of a successful life along the way (house, car, overseas trips, branded clothing, and accessories, etc)
be able to have more THINGS that you may only rarely use? Are you happy with the idea that you have to work up until retirement before you can REALLY take time to enjoy life, with the hope that you will have the health to let you do so?
If you are happy with your situation, then you are lucky and good for you!
In my experience, most people have many gripes with the way they live their lives, and they feel trapped. They are not living the life that they really want.
They are not being faithful to themselves in terms of the way they live their lives.
The good news is that its not too late to do something about it! Be aware of the unfaithful moments along the way – more on that below.
What do I want out of life?
TAKE THE TIME TO DEFINE WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU
If you have already done this, then you are more than halfway there, but its a good exercise to review it from time to time also. As we grow older, our needs and wants change, and we may need to adapt our steering wheel to avoid going somewhere that no longer fulfills our needs.
Building a plan
People who know me or have followed me for a while, know that I’m big on simulating lifestyle changes before diving in headfirst. It’s why I built EFILYM with which I mapped out my existing life (at the time) financially, then defined financially what I wanted my new lifestyle to look like. Then I spent a lot of time (2-3 years) simulating different options and timings to be able to build a plan to eventually achieve the lifestyle I was looking for. The process I followed is covered in more detail here. Your plan will essentially be underpinned by a long term budget that accepts to follow in order to live the lifestyle you want. It could (and probably should) have many steps and stages as you make the planned changes that eventually lead you to the lifestyle you desire.
Ideally, your plan should be built to allow you to achieve financial independence at some point. This means that you would no longer be obliged to hold down a traditional 9-5 job anymore because you have created independence income streams or investments that support your lifestyle. I use the words ‘achieve financial independence at some point’ because each and everyone’s plan is different and will take less or more time. There is no hurry to get there. The key thing is to put a plan around how you want to live your life, and to make the most out of your life, while you are living it.
Avoiding the unfaithful behavior
Once you know where you want to go, and have built the plan to get there, you are not out of the woods yet. Man is his/her own worst enemy. What I mean by this is that even the best-laid plans can be derailed. This is where the truly unfaithful behavior & moments I refer to above can be seen.
The best example I can provide in being unfaithful to yourself is your choice of home. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘buying that bigger house’ to be ‘more comfortable’ or to store all your ‘Stuff’. You will probably end up living even further from your place of work (to be able to afford that bigger house). Not only will you laden yourself down with additional, loan repayments costs, maintenance costs, but also increased transport costs also. It can be nice to live in a big house with all the trappings, but the bigger the house, the more stuff you’ll inevitably buy to fill it. This one decision (buying the bigger house) can spark a number or subsequent behaviors that undermine your plan to have the lifestyle you are trying to reach. You are not being faithful to yourself and your plan. Convincing yourself to pay an extra $100K on your house will cost you much much more than the $100K over the years you plan to live in it. Effectively you are putting a set of handcuffs on yourself, or squeezing the existing pair even tighter, depending on your situation.
There are many other unfaithful behaviors.
- Going excessively out to restaurants rather than other less costly options (cooking at home, sharing amoungst friends inviting each other over, etc)
- Upgrading unnecessarily mobile phones, televisions, cars, etc
- Buying branded clothing, equipment, etc when a basic brand would suffice
You get the idea!
I’m not suggesting to cut all spending or fun in your life. What I am saying is that when spending money on activities, equipment, or gadgets, etc make sure that those items are linked to your life priorities. That way whenever you invest the value that you have (money, energy, & time) you are strengthening your plan and reinforcing your journey in getting there. Getting out in nature and my motorbike is important to me and in my top life priorities. As such when I spend time and money on these things, I am by default make a choice to not spend them on other things, and as such I’m faithful myself and to the type of life, I want to live.
The same thing applies to how you spend your time and energy. Instead of spending your spare time on social media or in front of the TV, use it do the activities that bring meaning to you and take you towards the life you dream of. For example yoga, meditation, continuous learning, sports, contributing to local causes, etc.
There are 2 main strengths required to be able to make lifestyle changes and to stick to them. They are patience and discipline. I’m rather disciplined, but less patient which is a personal challenge. This shows however that you don’t have to be perfect to be able to be successful in changing your lifestyle and striving for the life you really want.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) or comparing ourselves to others are 2 key challenges that we all face every day in our lives. Finding the strength, courage, and maturity to be able to not care what others think is a good area to work on. Being patient also when things are not going so well is also important. If you can keep faith in your lifestyle change plan even through the tough times, and be faithful to yourself, you will appreciate it even more as you live the lifestyle you want.
My personal mantra is “No Regrets”. I want to avoid if at all possible any situation where I’ll look back later in life and have the feeling that I was ‘unfaithful to myself’, and that I didn’t really live my life as I would have liked.
This mantra also applies to decisions that I made in the past. If I can look myself in the mirror and say that “At the time, I made the decision or took the action because it was the right thing to do at the time”. There’s no point regretting the past, but you can do something about the future, so what’s stopping you now that you know how to faithful to yourself?
What’s the worst thing you did in being unfaithful to yourself? I’d love to hear. Don’t hesitate to leave your comments below ⬇.
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