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Lifestyle Design: How to Create Your Life As You Want It

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot

If you read a lot of blogs or are even remotely tech savvy, it’s highly likely you’ve heard the term “lifestyle design.” Perhaps you’re wondering just what the heck it means, and how you can do it, too, just because it sounds so enticing!

In a nutshell, lifestyle design embodies the attempt on your part to design a life of your choosing, whatever that looks like. It’s your life, your plan, and you call the shots.

Just because your parents lived in a small town, got married at 17, and worked a 9–5 for 30 years, that doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

You have choices and, with the growth of the web, your choices have compounded exponentially. You control your life and what happens in it, and, once you realize that fully, you give yourself room to grow, experiment, and begin designing the life of your dreams.

You could almost call it a sort of “movement” as so many folks are jumping on the bandwagon, going location-independent with their businesses, and truly making waves as they fuel their passions.

And if the term lifestyle design throws you off, you might even call it “finding your purpose.”

  • Why are you here?
  • What do you want to achieve in this world?
  • What excites you?
  • What do you love to do most?
  • Where would you most like to do it?
  • Who would you most like to do it with?
  • What sort of impact on others do you hope to make doing what you do?

These are all questions a lifestyle designer might ask themselves before embarking on their journey of exploration and adventure.

As humans, we all look for meaning in life, searching constantly for an answer to the “why am I here?” question. We want to know what the point of it all is, and how we can make our time here on this earth amazingly relevant.

Lifestyle designers make it their mission to answer that question fully and live life on purpose, with purpose.

My Personal Story and “Aha” Moment

In 2005, I was a 28 year-old single mother of an 8-year-old daughter and infant daughter. I had almost a decade—a long, boring, arduous decade—of corporate marketing and finance experience.

My passions and hobbies had long ago fallen to the wayside, as I worked my booty off 40–60 hours a week in a job I didn’t like. I believed working long and hard was the only way to provide the lifestyle I wanted for my daughters.

Soon after my second daughter was born, I took the big and scary leap into self-employment hoping to enjoy more flexibility and time with my children.

A few years later, I still found myself over-worked, confused, and unsatisfied. Although I could work when I wanted and where I wanted, and I was spending much more time with my daughters, I was actually working many more hours than I did before I was self-employed.

My laptop was glued to my fingers, even at the dinner table with my daughters.

Something had to change!

I stumbled upon the book The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and it spoke to my soul. As I put the lessons into practice, I noticed an immediate and remarkable change in my happiness, health, and abundance.

That book led me to reading dozens of other books as I dove into learning about numerous personal development concepts such as lifestyle design, mindful living, meditation, intention, and financial freedom.

I experienced the biggest “aha” moment of my life thus far, and I made a pledge to devote my time solely to my daughters, my journey of self-discovery, and designing my lifestyle.

I vowed to never again “work for work’s sake,” but to spend each day following my passions, enjoying each moment, and doing what excites me. That journey led me to becoming a Certified Life Coach and writer.

Ways You Can Begin Designing Your Own Lifestyle

1. Remember that you call the shots.

First of all, it’s important to realize that you have choices. You make the decisions, you call the shots. Make the decision that you want to live a vibrant life and accept the fact that it may look a little different from the status quo.  That’s OK—no one wants to be the status quo anyway!

Your life is your own. You are 100 percent unique and talented in your own special way. You have the right to spend your life doing the things you love to do, and experiencing things that bring you massive joy.

You are gifted in a way no one else is—and when it comes down to it, no one else can do what you do, quite like you do it! Take a play from the great Zig Ziglar: “You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.”

Those are wise words, and something you should always remember.  They help to remind you that you always have choices.

2. Get a little selfish already!

Once you realize you’ve got choices, the next step is to spend a bit of time with yourself and figure out what you want those choices to look like. Create a blueprint that nails down just what you want your life to look like.

Maybe you have a love of music and travel, and you want to design a lifestyle that embodies those things.

Perhaps you love deep sea fishing, and you want to design a lifestyle around that. Sit down, do some good, hard soul searching, and figure out exactly what you really want your time on this earth to look like. Even go so far as to decide what you hope others will say about you someday when you’re gone.

Do you want folks to appreciate all your awards and achievements, or do you want your death to be memorialized by people who talk about all your experiences and adventures, the way that you loved others, and just how darn helpful and kind you were?

3. Embrace change and just do it.

Once you’ve nailed down what you want your life to look like, it’s time to just do it.  Take action and start making the life of your dreams a reality. Change is scary, but this should be scary in a very good, exhilarating way.

“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” ~Tim Ferriss, from The 4-Hour Workweek

Start small if you need to and just make minor changes to your life’s blueprint at first. The point is to just start making things happen. As you gain momentum, you’ll begin to experience bigger and bigger changes and growth in your life, and, as a result, growth in your happiness.

Step out on faith, embrace that which you’re passionate about, and get started on your amazing journey designing a lifestyle that reflects you perfectly. You alone are the captain of this particular ship, my friend!

Photo by Mell P

Avatar of Angela Severance

About Angela Severance

Angela Severance is a Certified Holistic Life Coach, image consultant, writer, and Chief Happiness Officer at www.wonderdivas.com. She enjoys dance parties with her daughters, baking cupcakes, roller skating, learning, inspiring, and laughing. Join her at www.facebook.com/wonderdivas, and follow her @wonderdivas.

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  • Anonymous

    Great post Angela – simple and to the point. I especially related to the ‘start small’ point. All to often the wholesale change we are seeking can seem daunting and scary. Taking small steps towards our goals/dreams allows us to get there in a more manageable, and less scary way. Hats off to those who do decide to take the big leap though – however I’m of the ‘taking small steps’ school.

    Steve 

  • Anonymous

    Great post Angela – simple and to the point. I especially related to the ‘start small’ point. All to often the wholesale change we are seeking can seem daunting and scary. Taking small steps towards our goals/dreams allows us to get there in a more manageable, and less scary way. Hats off to those who do decide to take the big leap though – however I’m of the ‘taking small steps’ school.

    Steve 

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    Hello! This is Angela Severance, the author of this article. “Angela Gunn” did not write this article. Here is my bio. :) 

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Angela Severance is a Certified Holistic Life Coach, image
    consultant, writer, and Chief Happiness Officer at http://www.wonderdivas.com. 
    She enjoys dance parties with her daughters, baking cupcakes, roller
    skating, learning, inspiring, and laughing. Join her at http://www.facebook.com/wonderdivas, and follow her @wonderdivas.

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  • http://tonyadesigns.wordpress.com/ Tonya

    Thanks Angela! I’ve been trying to do all of that this year and there are moments of doubt, but I know I can’t go back to the life I was living with my career. 

  • http://www.thinkchooselive.org Chris Barba

    Wonderful piece Angela!

    I think, as weird as this sounds, that we are the designers of our life.  We control what we do.  We do not have to fit into structured norms or mirror the path of the majority.  The paint brush is in our hand and we can throw whatever colors we want on our blank canvas.  

    I think the realization of this life autonomy is HUGE.  Even as I am writing about it, I still feel like I haven’t reached that catharsis.  It’s a leap of faith (in yourself) to be the designer of your lifestyle.  

    Cheers! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahneanbruceDOTcom Sarah Nean Bruce

    “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot is one of my favorite all-time sayings… 
    at 37 i decided “to be what i might have been,” 
    i commenced re-inventing myself and now 
    “i am!”

  • Michael G

    While I do believe we can design a nice life for ourselves, I also believe in giving back to those that have helped us. For instance, perhaps you may not get to immediately live out your dream because you are taking care of a dying parent. This article embodies everything that I am rallying against, selfishness and self-centeredness.

  • Gabriel Mathews

    I’m glad this is the direction of this blog. good work.

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    Thanks Steve! I definitely agree that small steps toward one’s goals are much less scary than taking the big leap… and these small steps can be made each day! What I find helpful, as do many of my clients, is writing down 5 small steps that can be incorporated into your daily life NOW that contribute to your ideal lifestyle design. Write them on a small notecard and keep it with you. I find 5 small steps more effective than 5+ because it keeps you focused and much more apt to incorporate them into your life. There is a burst of accomplishment and motivation when you can “check” one off your list… and make room for a new “small step” on your list!

    Sending you positive energy! :)

    Angela
    http://www.wonderdivas.com

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    Hi Tonya! Congratulations and best wishes on your journey! “Doubt” is an annoying little bugger… and will make it’s unwelcome appearance at times regardless of where we are in our journey. Vision boards, affirmations, creative visualization, and meditation are a few tools that help me focus and stay confident when doubt creeps in. “Go to sleep with visions of what you love. Let your dream vision marinate overnight. Wake up with your positive, hopeful thoughts in place, ready to guide you through a day in which you step ever closer to the life you dream of.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
    :)
    Angela
    http://www.wonderdivas.com

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  • Jpr99589

    Good article, but did you mean ‘expanded’ not ‘compounded’? I hope so anyway!

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE this blog! :)  It makes me so happy! 

  • Sfogliatelle911

    Love this sight. If you need help feeling great, getting to your goals, creating your plan call Dr. Donna Martuge 914-52-1028. The best life coach in the country.

  • http://alidavies.com/ Ali Davies

    Love the points in this as I am big into lifestyle design. I escaped the corporate rat race 10 years ago to strike out on my own being self employed. Now I have a business that supports me in living and working on my own terms. It has made such a difference to the quality of life, relationships and feelings of fulfillment and freedom that lifestyle design has become a way of being.

    Like you, I highly recommend embracing lifestyle design. The rewards are high.

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    Thank you, Chris!

    Yes, the realization that we truly co-create and design our lives is HUGE… and so AWESOME! If you haven’t read “The Power of Intention” by Dr. Wayne Dyer, I recommend you check it out. It’s such an amazing and fun read. It changed my life and I re-read it every few months. :)

    Angela

    Angela Severance, CHLC
    http://www.wonderdivas.com

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    Yay, Ali! I LOVE hearing other’s personal stories of lifestyle design. Thank you for sharing! Congratulations to you. :)

    Angela

    Angela Severance, CHLC
    http://www.wonderdivas.com

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    :)

    “Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, Gabriel!

    “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
    :)
    Angela

    Angela Severance, CHLC
    http://www.wonderdivas.com

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    That’s so wonderful, Sarah. You go girl! Sending you positive energy!

    “Begin at once to live and count each separate day as a separate
    life.” –Seneca:)AngelaAngela Severance, CHLCwww.wonderdivas.com

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    I believe a happy lifestyle, a lifestyle that embodies your purpose and passion, MUST include service to others. I am sorry that you felt my article somehow expressed that “living your dream” and “service to others” are mutually exclusive. I believe our purpose, as humans, is to give. There is no greater joy. I didn’t elaborate on this in my article when I discussed my “aha moment,” but my ultimate lifestyle design involves moving to Belize with my two daughters (where the cost of living is low so I can give much  more of my income to others who need it more than I do) and travelling the world full-time with my daughters on Habitat For Humanity projects and other similar projects. “There are two components that are fundamental to enjoy life….continual learning and service.” – Tim Ferris (The 4-Hour Workweek)

    :)
    Angela

    Angela Severance, CHLC
    http://www.wonderdivas.com

  • http://www.wonderdivas.com Angela Severance

    Here are a few more thought-provoking and inspiring quotes – some are paraphrased – on lifestyle design from Tim Ferriss’ “4-Hour Workweek” (www.fourhourworkweek.com).

    1. Reality is negotiable.
    2. Each path begins with the same first step; replacing assumptions.
    3. Relative income is more important than absolute income.
    4. The opposite of happiness is boredom.
    5. Believe it or not, it is not only possible to accomplish more by doing less, it is mandatory.
    6. Find your inefficiencies to eliminate them and find your strengths so you can multiply them.
    7. Ask yourself, “Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?”
    8. Do not work harder when the solution is working smarter.
    9. The new mantra is this: Work wherever and whenever you want but get your work done.
    10. There are options. There are always options.
    11. There are two components that are fundamental to enjoy life and feel good about yourself; continual learning and service.
    12. Service is an attitude.
    13. Recapturing the excitement of childhood isn’t impossible. In fact, it’s required.
    14. Life is not a race. Do take it slower.Angela Severance, CHLCwww.wonderdivas.com

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726088352 Michelle Baba Raiford

    For me, this article lacks one important element. How does one make a living by following a path like this? I am not being facetious. It is a serious question. It seems that everyone who writes about following their own bliss has become a life coach. So essentially, you make a living telling other people how to live? If everyone gives up their boring day jobs, I fail to see how money is generated and how things get accomplished. Believe me, I am not some conservative capitalist. I just don’t believe that this kind of idyllic life is possible for everyone. 

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  • Alex

    Hi! I’m from the Philippines, I really really love what you posted here. The 7 items in finding your purpose really define everything. I’m already 41, a father of 3 lovely kids and would say I took a lot of risk in my career in following what I desire to do. Many people just don’t understand, for them work is all about making money and for me work is about doing what you are designed to do, enjoy it, really love it, do your best and earn from it. 

    I also love your last sentence – Step out on faith, embrace that which you’re passionate about, and get started on your amazing journey designing a lifestyle that reflects you perfectly. 

  • Meglewis88

    great blog and lovely website!!
    this blog is really relevant to me, as I am in the process of deciding what to do with my life after university.
    i dont have a vocation as such (after doing a PGCE, decided that ‘conventional’ wasn’t for me), so I guess that means I can embrace the variety of choices out there.
    I also fully agree that ‘small steps’ taken everyday help to create this higher ‘frequency’ of living doing what we love.
    However, I do believe that I need to earn a substantial income to be able to live in the UK.
    The idea of creating your own business keeps popping up, however I lack practical skills and knowledge in this area.
    I feel like my intention to design my life is there 100%, but, at 24, I feel I don’t have the life experience to make this a reality.
    I guess I will take the ‘small steps’ approach and see where it leads!

  • Sandy

    love this blog and your story, thank you for sharing !

  • Nico

    Just an amazing article… I’m a Belgian 32 years old guy. My son contracted a deadly disease at just six years old. It happens this year. Now that all these stuffs are behind me, I really want to change my life but I don’t know how to do it. Reading your article could just help me… I want to live a 2 persons life, just for him. I’m searching how to stop wasting time. Maybe you just put a block in this new life.
    Thanks for that

  • http://www.transpiral.org/ Yasmine Khater

    Hi Nico

    Sorry to hear about your son, I wish you the best of luck, I remember how i felt when my dad was diagnosed with cancer, it was really hard! But its been six years now this year and I learnt alot, I think the key is to focus on what you want to get and accept what life gives you and dont let the bad stuff bring you down.

    I wrote this post which perhaps can be of value of you.

    http://www.transpiral.org/6-business-lessons-from-losing-my-father/

    I hope you did what I did and just enjoy your last day and be grateful that you get to say goodbye to your son gradually.

    Much support

  • http://budgetbreakaway.co.uk/ Joe @ Budget Breakaway

    Great article! I have a real love for fitness and travel; it would be great to be immersed in them both (not that I have the time or flexibility yet).

    The working world certainly does a great job of suppressing you from ‘being what you might have been’. I find myself exploring the concept of lifestyle design a lot recently.

    I’d love it if you would stop by and read my latest post!
    http://budgetbreakaway.co.uk/if-you-had-the-money/

  • http://www.lawofattraction4life.com/ Wendy Tomlinson

    Love it, calling the shots, being little bit selfish and embracing change. Oh and I love the 4 hour work week.