You have 100% control over where your life goes.
Even though it may feel like life is something that is happening to you, your life is built on the beliefs you hold and the choices you make.
The actions you take are a small pebble, thrown into a pond, that ripples out to be the lifestyle you are living.
You are all living the lifestyle of our creation, right now, and you have the ability to create a new life.
Since first reading Timothy Ferriss' book 'The 4 Hour Workweek' and reading about his definition of the term 'Lifestyle Design' I finally felt like I had a phrase that described what I've been relentlessly working towards for years.
Although there are many people who will nit-pick about what the phrase means and about the fact that Timothy Ferriss does work more than 4 hours per week, I can tell you first hand that it is possible for you to design, create and experience the life of your dreams... If you are truly committed.
How do I know?
Well, I've gone through the process myself and am currently helping others along this path, too.
In this post, you will learn about the 4 main phases of lifestyle design and understand what steps you will need to take in order to design the life you want to live.
So, how do you change your lifestyle? How do you design the life you want?
It begins with this,
Adjust Your Thermostat
If you spend all of your time learning only the logic, nuts and bolts side of life, you’ll be missing a big part.
You’ve got to get your subconscious mind working on your lifestyle design.
According to Maxwell Maltz, the mind is like a thermostat on a wall. You set your thermostat to a certain temperature and when the room goes beyond that temperature it turns on to bring the room back to your preset design.
What do you set the thermostat of your mind to? The next stage of your lifestyle design and there are four phases you need to pre-determine,
The 4 Phases Of Lifestyle Design
- Get clear about the life you want to live
- Negotiate a new working agreement
- Begin a side business you love and begin enjoying life, now
- Level the Ups and Downs for Smooth Sailing
Phase 1 - Get clear about the life you want to live
Just as a marksman must first zero in on their target before shooting, you must decide what you are after if you want to give yourself an honest chance to achieve it.
Now this doesn't just mean that you need to figure out how much money you want to make, although that is a part of it, but this step is more about visualizing what you want your life to be like.
Here are some questions that you can answer to help you in this process.
Where do you ultimately want to live? Would you like to rent or own your home? What would you do with your days? How often would you like to travel? What kind of vehicle(s) do you want? What leisurly activities would you take part in?
Now when I first embarked in the lifestyle design process my answers to these questions were different than they are today, so re-visiting these ideas on a regular basis and as you accomplish goals is important. But right now, you want to get a starting point.
For me, here are my answers to these questions above.
I enjoy being able to live freely and move about regularly with little tying me down, so renting furnished houses and apartments works best for now. I would like to buy a piece of land with a home and garden area at some point, but still not sure where, so saving up for a down payment while traveling to and experiencing new areas is important.
No alarm clocks for this guy!
It is important for me to wake up when I wake up... No alarm clocks for this guy! No commute either.
I need to have the time freedom to get outdoors every morning and do something active, whether it is SUP Surfing, hiking, biking, etc. and usually follow that up with breakfast out with my wife. I work on personal and client projects through the middle of the day, taking time out to meditate, prepare healthy organic meals for lunch and dinner, followed with more work in the evenings and then enjoying a movie or some reading time at night.
I like visiting new places every 3-6 months and spending at least a month and a half in the new place to really 'get a feel for it'.
No vehicle needed at this point since I move so much and aim for pedestrian friendly communities, but when I get land, an older 4 wheel drive truck or Jeep makes the most sense. Something that is more mechanical in nature without all the electronics associated with newer vehicles.
Hiking, biking, stand up paddle boarding and surfing are my favorite activities. Horseback riding, zip lining, whale watching, sailing adventures are things I would like to do more of.
Ok, great... My 'dream lifestyle' is roughed out... So now the goal is to come up with an idea of how much this would cost. Really it depends on where I'm at because this lifestyle in Mexico is significantly less than this same lifestyle in Hawaii... But with $8,000 - $12,000 per month, I'm confident that I would have ample funds to live this lifestyle just about anywhere.
Take those numbers and divide them by the average 30 days in a month and I now know that my target daily income is $265 - $400/day.
Perfect... Not only do I have a clear picture of the kind of life I want to live, I have an estimate of how much it will cost and I know how much I need to earn daily to make that a reality.
Okay, now it’s time to implant this perfect life in your subconscious mind!
Lifestyle Design begins with this exercise...
Go get a pen and a piece of paper. A REAL pen and REAL paper. No typing this one. Don’t use a pencil either, it’s better to not be able to erase what you are going to write.
Next, write out in extreme detail what your perfect day looks like. I mean EXTREME detail.
Write out every detail from when you wake up in the morning until you fall asleep at night.
Keep your designed lifestyle within the parameters of your life.
If you have kids, integrate them into your perfect day. If you have a partner, integrate your partner into your perfect day.
This is your opportunity to truly design your life the way you want it! Write it out. Every detail. How do your surroundings look, feel, smell, sound? Be specific.
This video explains the process... But you can read it below!
Starting with the beginning of your day…
What does the bed feel like that you’re waking up in?
How is the lighting? Natural light or blackout curtains?
What does your house look like as you walk out in the morning? Open floor plan?
What does the kitchen look like? Granite, quartz, or another kind of countertop?
What is your morning routine? Do you workout? Do you meditate? Read or journal? Are you up an hour before your family?
Do you drink coffee? Bulletproof? Aeropress? Tea? What kind?
Are you at the dining room table? Or on the deck? Or the patio?
What does it look like? What’s the view? Are you overlooking a beautiful valley with peace and quiet? Or are you walking to yoga from your condo downtown?
Do you finish your morning ritual then get an hour of work done and then spend time with your kids?
What does your work day look like? Are you working from your home office? Or from a coffee shop?
What do you eat for lunch? Are you meeting friends or a new client? Are you eating at home?
What does your afternoon look like? Do you go for a long walk? Take a nap? Do you live a block from the beach and walk there during the day?
What do you have for dinner? Where? Who cooked it? Who are you with? What are you drinking with it?
What does your evening look like? Do you sit and watch TV? Read a book by a fire? Meet friends for a drink?
Close it up with going to bed that night.
Nothing is off the table. This is your opportunity to truly design your life the way you want it!
If you don’t know exactly how to write it out that’s fine, just keep the pen moving. Write. Write. Write. You don’t have to ever let anyone read it. I recommend you don’t have anyone read it because it’s really just for you.
It’s your perfect day.
It’s your choice to make your day what you truly want. Then, imprint it into your own subconscious by going through this exercise...
You can destroy the pages as soon as you’re finished, if you want. You can keep a separate journal and continue to do this practice daily, or monthly to see how it grows and evolves.
Don't Stop at One Version
This isn’t something you should do just once. And if you mess your day up, don’t give up! It’s not set in stone.
The goal of the exercise is to tune into the intangible potential of your subconscious mind, which has the power to create your reality.
You have to focus yourself on a target, but that target can always change. If you do it once and nail it, great!
If you revisit it every week, great! Just like everything; it is important to get it going.
Writing out your perfect day will subconsciously implant in you a guide to evaluate all decisions by, an extreme follow through that does not get deterred or knocked off track, and the initiative to start what it is that you truly want.
It becomes your guiding light, your north star.
It brings energy towards where you’re going.
Write it all the way out. Spend some time. Take as much time as you need to dream. It’s important to dream!
If you are wanting more examples of this process... Here is one from Frank Kern.
This video below is from Frank's "Core Influence" talk which has become infamous in the internet marketing world.
You will hear how Frank Kern was living a life he didn't love... He felt 'stuck' in Macon, Georgia and dreamt of a better life.
He allowed himself to dream... Down to the minute details... And sure enough? It ended up coming true.
Check out Frank Kern's famous Core Influence Talk here:
Here’s the thing, you are downloading this perfect dream life into your subconscious mind. It is absolutely a goal achieving mechanism! It’s always running in the background.
Every night while you’re sleeping and every day, all day.
Phase 2 - Negotiate a new working agreement
Once you are clear on the lifestyle you are wanting to design, the focus shifts to earning enough income in a manner that offers you the time freedom you want, in order to live the life you want.
The first place to look is with your current job. Is there a chance that you can telecommute? Can you do your job remotely, allowing you to keep your income while getting more time freedom? The 'trick' here is to be OUTSTANDING at your current job.
Make yourself an integral part of the business and then go for the remote working agreement.
For me, I was able to keep 20 hours per week of work from my last job as a contractor when I decided to move from the San Francisco are up to the base of a snowboard resort in the Lake Tahoe area in 2009. I was ready to quit if needed, but let my boss know that I was confident I could accomplish all of my day-to-day duties remotely if he wanted to keep me on the team.
Now, if your current job is something that you cannot do remotely, for example you are a chef in a restaurant or you work retail... Not to worry.
Either way, if you get a remote working agreement or not, you still need to start generating additional income on the side with a low overhead business of your own that offers location independence.
From affiliate marketing to information product marketing or consulting and providing services, the opportunities are endless how you can begin generating additional income on the side.
The 'trick' is to stay focused on a niche that you enjoy, so that you are able to transition your income from 'a job' to 'a passion'. Work really isn't work when you are doing something you love...
In addition to the remote working agreement and generating side income, you will need to start consuming personal development material on a regular basis. This will keep you motivated and keep you growing as a person, so you can continue to add value to your side business, your clients' business. Read my post about the shortcuts to rapid personal development for more ideas here.
Phase 3 - Begin a side business you love and begin enjoying life, now
The thought of 'Working 40 years for the same company, then retiring' is archaic and this philosophy will fail you greatly if you buy into it.
Well, the odds are that you will be replaced by either 1) a robot 2) software 3) a recent college grad who is cheaper or 4) an outsourcer from a foreign country.
So the answer is two fold...
#1 - Continue growing YOUR business at all times and at all costs. You are the only one you can count on, so invest in your continued personal development and continue applying yourself to your business so it can pay you dividneds on your efforts.
#2 - Begin taking mini retirements NOW! Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone and why would anyone want to trade their 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's for the hope of getting to travel in their 60's?
These mini retirements don't need to be lavish or expensive and if you have your side business generating income and/or a remote working agreement, you are able to turn them into 'working holidays' where you get to continue to grow your income and your business and to enjoy different areas, countries, climates, cultures, experiences, etc.
Our first working holidays were to live at the base of ski resorts in Tahoe with ski-in acommodations for a few seasons in a row. We didn't stop working, but we did take breaks on those beautiful powder-filled weekday-mornings to enjoy the best conditions of the year while most everyone else was stuck in their cubicle farms in the cities.
Recently, we got tired of the cold weather so we have decided to rent furnished beach houses south of the border and enjoy practicing surfing when the weather and conditions are perfect while still continuing to build our businesses and grow our income.
Phase 4 - Level the Ups and Downs for Smooth Sailing
As you grow your own business and side income, it is important to remember that you will have good weeks and bad weeks... Good months and bad months.
You need to be ready to balance out the ups and downs to maintain your desired lifestyle, long term.
One common mistake people make is to quit their jobs way too soon. This not only collapses reliable income, it also adds a great deal of stress and anxiety that can keep you from doing your best work.
This can lead to a disheartening cycle of having to look for another job, taking up more time and life-energy, and essentially starting the process all over again.
If you have been living comfortably off of your side income for a matter of months, have paid off all your debt and have created a reserve of 6 months of income, you should be able to comfortably transition into the role of full time, self employed entrepreneur.
Could you do it sooner? Sure. There is no set rule, here and there are plenty of stories of people who get laid off and with their backs against a wall, they replace their income and reach new heights in a matter of months.
For myself, this process took years... But I've been enjoying the process, traveling the world and I still feel like I'm just beginning.
When you start to open up to the freedom associated with lifestyle design, you start to realize there are so many magical places on this Earth worth visiting (most of which have internet access, now!) and there are so many amazing experiences to be enjoyed, that it would be rude not to continue to push forward in life and business in such a manner that allows you to truly enjoy life to its fullest.
Always crunching ideas and possibilities to align you with the goals of your life.
Impressing on your subconscious mind the vision you want to create is how you actually create your new reality.
This is how you design the life you want. This is how you design your lifestyle.
Know this, your perfect day will change throughout the stages of your life.
You’ll also find that your perfect day gets tweaked as your business and income grows.
It will change as your family, relationships, and life circumstances change.
It’s important to mention, this exercise is not to make you feel that you’re in a position of lack. Showing gratitude for what you have is really, really powerful.
Establishing a practice of gratefulness, such as a gratitude journal, can be very helpful. This perfect day exercise is designed not to bring discontentment for where you are, but to bring excitement and passion for where you’re going.
Of course, you have to do the work. But you also have to have the vision. You have to create your lifestyle design otherwise someone else will create it for you.
When your subconscious does the work of aligning your life with possibilities, then you will see the lifestyle you’ve designed become reality.
This will give you a strong “why.” Your “why” is what gives you the strength and motivation when everything in you does not want to persevere.
I want you to live the life of your dreams. I know, in order for you to get there, you have to get specific about what it looks and feels like for you.
At first, it takes a lot of work for little reward.
But then, there comes a tipping point. After that it becomes less work for greater reward. I’m living it. I’m sharing it. I’m doing everything I can to help you experience it too.
Now get to work on your perfect day and your very own lifestyle design.