As every year rolls around, we make resolutions and promise to become the best versions of ourselves. 2020 was a curveball no one saw coming and while many of us were forced to adapt with this new situation, we were also forced to put all our life plans and resolutions for that year on hold. Feeling like your life is on autopilot, is something we have all thought about at least once since the pandemic. While social media could be an escape for some, it could also make us feel as though we are not really living the ‘good life’ that we see influencers live.
I personally have spent a lot of sleepless nights asking myself the looming question- ‘What do I really want from life?’. With some of my friends in a stable job and the rest in a happy relationship or going on solo trips around the world, I couldn't help but feel my ‘life plan’ faltering. After watching a few inspirational TedTalks and reading a few blogs, these tips definitely helped me get a fresher perspective on leading a better life that would help my personal growth. This guide, with tips from life coaches and ‘successful’ people, could definitely motivate, if not help you live the life that you really want -
Make up your mind
Whoever said ‘the world is your oyster’ clearly knew about the plethora of choices that we are currently given. In a time where you can be anyone and do anything, making up your mind about one definite thing could be tough. Where do you want to be in 10 years? what does a happy life mean to you?
Everyone should have an honest conversation with themselves about what would make them happy. Whether its finally going to university to get that degree or applying for your dream job, making up about what you want will make the journey to get there much more clearer.
While working towards what you want might work for some, making up your mind about what you DON’T want also works for others. Let’s be honest, a lot of things make us happy. If we end up chasing dreams of things that make us happy, it is unlikely we would stick to one thing. So, think about the kind of life that you don't want to live and work towards achieving the opposite of it. For instance, I was sure about not wanting to move to a city so when I had to make a decision about the university I was supposed to go to, I made sure to shortlist the one’s that were away from the city and closer to the mountains.
After you have a rough idea of what you want (or what you don't want), it’s time to get the planner out and write out your goals.
Pen down your goals
When we think about the kind of life we want to live, we automatically think about material things like about living in a posh penthouse or having the fanciest car. While penning down your goals, it’s important to steer clear from such ‘goals’ and focus on more qualitative aspects like having a healthy lifestyle, improving your mental health, maintaining a good work life balance. Such goals would not only help you in fostering a healthy lifestyle but it would also help you move towards your ‘life’s purpose’.
Writing down my goals has always been a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Many life coach’s advice to start small and think about smaller goals that you would like to achieve. These goals could be anything that you feel would make you a more traditionally ‘happy person’. Whether it getting 8+hours of sleep everyday or sticking to a skin care routine, these smaller goals will help you get organised and even mentally ready for you to tackle your bigger life goals.
Once you have a rough outline on what you want to work towards, it is time to find some inspiration.
Find people you are jealous of
I had once read somewhere ‘There is no bigger motivation in the world than doing better than the person you’re jealous of’. While that sounds a bit aggressive, it could even work if you thought of people you’re envious of. The saying ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ holds true for a lot of scenarios, especially for other people’s life. We have all been guilty for being envious of a person’s job, house, relationship or even their personality. While some may say that this isn't a habit you should be proud of, I feel that it could be a pretty strong motivator for you to get what you want.
Inspiration can be found everywhere and there is no harm in seeking inspiration from people you look upto. Nat Eliason, a life coach, in his blog talks about you could ask yourself questions like -
- What is it about what they’re doing that makes you envious of them?
- How are they impacting people?
- Do you see yourself doing what they do ?
According to him, answering these questions could hold the key on what you secretly want to do in your life.
Find a cause that you’re passionate about
As children we are always taught, every action we take would culminate in something great, which is why we should always choose to do something for the ‘greater good’. Mark Manson, life coach, on his blog talks about how picking a cause that you feel greatly for could help motivate you to excel in that field. Another plus point while choosing a cause is that there are so many problems to fix around us. Whether you want to save pandas or help women fight domestic abuse, there are plenty of causes to dedicate your life towards.
He adds, “Find a problem you care about and start solving it. Obviously, you’re not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment. And importance equals purpose”. So, find a goal that aligns with your personal values as well as has a greater impact on those around you and you will soon notice a difference in the quality of life that you live.
It’s never too late (or early) to find your purpose
People are obsessed with putting an ‘expiry date’ on things that you can and cannot do in your life. For instance, if you aern’t married by 30, in some cultures you’re considered ‘too old’ to be eligible for marriage whereas on the other hand if you move out from your parents house before having a secure job, you are considered ‘too young’ to be out in the world by yourself. People in general will always put labels and sometimes, we become too conscious of the label that someone would put on us.
Mark Manson in his blog talks about how finding something you're passionate about will automatically give you a sense of purpose in life. He says, ‘So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself?’and most of time, if you do end up asking yourself this question, you'd surprise yourself with an answer.
Mansi Kothari, a mother of 2 21 year olds, tells Bingedaily how inspirations struck her in the middle of the night and as a 50 year old she decided to work towards her purpose. “I was in college when I was pregnant with my children and I was under a lot of pressure to settled own to maintain a household. I had to give up my studies and put my husbands and children's needs before mine. I don’t have any regrets about taking care of them but my own needs took a backseat. When my children went to university, I had no one to look after anymore. After a lot of contemplating, I decided that I wanted to complete my Master’s in psychology. I was afraid of what people would say and how everyone in the class would be my children's age but I refused to let what other’s thought of me discourage me. I put on a brave face, attended college everyday and 2 years later, I got my masters degree. I am now training to be a teacher and I've never felt happier. Seeing me work towards my purpose and my dream, my children told me that I was their inspiration to always follow their dreams and that is the best thing any mother could ever hear”
So, this is all the inspiration you need to go and do that ONE thing that you've always wanted to do. Don't let what others think discourage you from owning your life’s purpose and path.
Live each day like it's your last
As dramatic it may sound, but living like tomorrow is the last day you're alive will truly make you live your life to the fullest. When I say live like there's no tomorrow, I don't mean do all the drugs in the world and party all night (as fun as it may sound). I mean that if you truly had one day to live, would you be happy with the life you've lived till now? If your answer to that question is yes, then congratulations you're among the 0.01% of the population who is satisfied with their life. However, if your answer is no like most of us, then the question would just force you to evaluate the path you're on right now.
As dark as it may sound, but death is truly the one thing that forces us to have reality check on our life. “Ultimately, death is the only thing that gives us perspective on the value of our lives. Because it’s only by imagining your non-existence that you can get a sense of what is most important about your existence. What is your legacy going to be? What are the stories people are going to tell when you’re gone? What is your obituary going to say? Is there anything to say at all? If not, what would you like it to say? How can you start working towards that today?” says Mark Manson.
Thinking about the life you really want could be exciting for some but anxiety inducing for others. The though of anticipating the unknown as well as planning for it may seem like a Sisyphean task but it doesn't have to be. The only person who truly nows how to live the life that you've always dreamt of , is YOU. The key to all your problems is within you and while searching for it may be tough at times, it is never impossible.
Even if these tips and tricks don't help you come up with a sure shot way of getting the life you want, it would have at least got you thinking about a starting point and in life’s journey, you only really need a starting point to excel at it.