What is your dream lifestyle? By "dream lifestyle" I mean what do you see yourself becoming? What places do you see yourself going? What do you see yourself doing that will bring meaning to your life? If you haven’t defined your dream lifestyle, you can’t possibly ever bemoan not having it. This post will help you define what type of lifestyle you want and then help you make a plan to achieve it.
Begin With Envisioning Your Ideal Day
I recently had lunch with one of my mentors who wisely advised me to ask myself one question when thinking about what I want to do next in my life. That question was “what does my ideal day look like?”. Once I had my ideal day in view, I could decide much easier what type of lifestyle I wanted to create and ultimately what type of work I would want to pursue next.
I listed out all of the aspects of my ideal day.
Sample Elements of My Ideal Day
My ideal day consists of time for certain elements rather than specific tasks.
The Elements Of My Ideal Day
- Time for Prayer & Meditation (Reading the Bible and Journaling my Thoughts)
- Time With My Son (Watching a movie or playing in the pool or even running errands together)
- Time to create something using my gifts (write a poem, a blog post, work on a project, design a space, etc)
- Time to be active (workout with Jeff, walk the dog, take a dance class, swim in the pool)
- Time to catch up with friends and family (phone calls, social media interactions, brunch)
- Time to serve others (counseling couples, hosting a small group, teaching at church)
- Time to build others up (write to my sponsored children, send encouragements to friends, pray for others)
- Time to do something fun (going someplace new, dinner, movie)
- Time to plan for the future (dreams, places to go, cost analyses, track for achievement)
- Time for relaxation (Massage, bath)
- Time to read
Compare Your Current Reality
After you have your ideal day mapped out, compare that to what your current day consists of. If there is a vast discrepancy, it may mean your dream lifestyle will mandate a job change or it may reinforce that what you're doing is perfect because it affords you the time or the money to live a lifestyle that is meaningful to you.
In making the list of things I would like my ideal day to consist of, I realized that my current reality is not too far off from my ideal day. This was a good thing because it showed me that my current work is work that I want to be doing. Blogging, being a home-maker and volunteering at my church is what I do for work.
You don't see my ideal day consisting of jetting off to NYC to meet with VPs of companies, (which is what I used to do for work). This may be on your ideal day list but I prefer being at home. This helped me to realize I am doing the work I want to be doing right now.
This is a crucial step to determining your dream lifestyle because you may not be in the job you want right now, but it will help you think about what type of job you might want next.
Perhaps you're in school and don't know what you want to do when you graduate but you see yourself doing certain things in your ideal day. Listing the elements of your ideal day will help you determine what type of job will allow for those things and you can set that on your list of lifestyle goals and apply accordingly.
"The rules of reality can be bent, it just requires thinking in different terms."Tim Ferriss
Write Down What You Want
Tim Ferris, productivity guru extraordinaire, outlines the perfect process for achieving your dream lifestyle in his book, The 4 Hour Work Week. He asks what you want to have, be and do in the next 6 months as well as in the next year.
This method resonated with me because it so closely aligned with three of the four core pillars of Honey and Figs, "BE, GO & DO". I'm always thinking about what I want to be or overcome, where I want to go and what I want to do so applying similar questions to crafting a dream lifestyle was perfect.
The only thing missing was "Plan" but Tim goes so far as to offer "Dreamline worksheets" for listing out your goals and calculating how to achieve them. You can read more on his method for living your dream lifestyle and access his worksheets at his blog post here.
Something amazing happens when you actually take the time to ask yourself what it is that you want, instead of assuming you can't have things or do things or become something because you think you can't. You start shifting your mindset toward becoming or having or doing that thing
- Write down 3 things you want to be in the next 6 months. (you may want to be more patient, be a successful blogger, be a more present parent, be a better friend, be fluent in a new language, be a dancer, be able to cook, be an event planner, etc)
- Write down 3 things you want to have in the next 6 months. (you may want to have a dream car, have a housekeeper, have peace, have a husband, have a friend to confide in, have a chef cook for you, etc.)
- Write down 3 things you want to do in the next 6 months. (visit a new country, sell a new product, create a piece of art, write a book, visit a museum, attend a play, etc)
Count the Cost of Your Dream Lifestyle
Next you need to count the cost of what you want to be, have and do. In my case, one of the things I love doing is designing spaces. So I listed "remodel my living room and kitchen floors" as one thing I want to do in the next year. The first step I took was measuring the square footage, choosing the materials, calculating the cost of materials and getting a quote for the price of installation. Once I knew what that cost was I divided the amount 12 months to see how much I needed to set aside each month to do that remodel in the next year.
Before this exercise, I may have just believed I could never afford to remodel my floors.
That's a simple example, but what if one of your dreams is to be a writer? How do you count the cost of that dream? Start by defining what "being a writer" would mean to you. Does that mean in six months you would have written a screenplay? Written an article and gotten it published? Written a book?
Then break down what you would need to do to get there in that timeframe. Create an outline, Write X amount of pages per day, find an agent, etc.
Whatever you have in your heart to be or have or do, count the cost of it.
Plan It Out
Now that you know what you want to be, do and have in the next 6-12 months along with what it is going to cost you to get there, it's time to plan a way to make it happen.
If what you want to have costs more than what you can save in 6-12 months on your current income, ask yourself what you can sell on Craigslist or Ebay or Facebook, ask for a raise or take a second job to get there faster.
Figure out the necessary steps to be or do what you have listed and determine when you are going to take those steps. Then set aside time on your calendar for you to do them.
Ask For It
I do not believe that there is some magic prayer formula to use to ask God for things, nor do I believe that God is a genie in a bottle waiting for us to pray so he can grant our wishes. However, I do believe God is a loving Father who delights in giving good gifts to his children and like any good father, He sometimes says "yes" when we ask. I believe He does this sometimes to build our faith in Him, to make things personal, to help us see that He is real, and sometimes just because He wants to.
It's been my experience over and over again in my life that when I determine what it is that I want and then humbly ask God for it, He often goes above and beyond what I could ask or think to provide it. I have had some pretty crazy requests over the years too, like asking God that Michael Jordan would give me tickets to one of his basketball games when I was 12 years old and having that very thing happen when I was 26, including an introduction to him by his sister in the locker room after the game and getting to stay the night in his Mom's house. But that's a story for another post.
Just this month I was struggling with what car to get to replace my Range Rover Evoque (which was leftover from my ad sales salary days) as its lease was expiring in June. At first I didn't even think I could afford to get any car, so I thought I would have to settle for becoming a one car family. Then I committed to the idea that I needed a car and would get a used car within a certain set budget amount, even though I had no idea where that budget was going to come from.
I asked God to provide that particular amount I had budgeted for me to get a car. Soon after, I discovered that some of the money I had been setting aside in my 401k for the last 17 years had been in a Roth IRA and had already been taxed, so it was available for immediate use. It was the exact amount I had asked for.
Once I realized I had the money, I started a search for any used car within that budget. I was looking at everything from Kias to Fords to Jeeps to Volvos (none of which were particularly interesting to me) but I didn't believe I could have what I truly wanted, so I was prepared to settle for whatever car I could find.
What I truly wanted was a Range Rover. I love the Land Rover brand and have been driving various models since 2004 but I had been looking at used Rovers online and all of them were either super high miles, too much of a mechanical risk, or out of my budget. I believed I had to set aside my wants for that car because of my new life-as-a-home-maker situation.
I was really struggling with deciding what car to buy so I asked my financial planner for advice and he told me to "set some parameters for what you are willing to pay and get what you want".
Something happened in my brain when I felt like I had permission to look for what I wanted. I got super specific, I wanted a white Range Rover Sport with white or tan interior under 60,000 miles for less than my budget.
I didn't have the guts to ask God for what I wanted so I simply asked for his help on what car to buy. All of the Jeeps and Fords I looked at were going to cost close to my entire budget after tax and license and I didn't want to spend the entire budget.
I simply prayed "Lord I don't want to spend my entire budget on a car. Please show me a car that I would love for under my budget out the door. Lord I pray that you would lead me by your Spirit to the car I will love and afford, amen."
That day I did a search for "White Range Rovers with less than 60,000 miles under my budget in my zip code". Incredibly, one listing came up!
First you have to realize how rare this was because in doing a nationwide search there were only two white ones with less than 60,000 miles and one of them was within 30 miles of my zip code, the other was on the east coast.
I immediately emailed the seller that I was interested but did not hear back. So I emailed again. And again. And again. I even had my husband email. 3 days later still no response.
So I did another search. One more came up in my zip code! This one was just listed by a dealer on trade in and didn't even have any pictures yet. I called and scheduled a time to go see it.
I got to the dealership and my salesman was off that day so he arranged for me to see his colleague, who promptly informed me the car had been sold the night before.
I couldn't believe it so I asked him to double check his system. Sure enough, it was not sold. He claimed it was not on the lot however, that it was sent out for servicing. Which I also did not believe but at this point I was so irritated with his poor salesmanship that I just left, thinking it was not the car for me.
By now, Memorial weekend was in full swing and I was starting to feel like I might have to go back to the Jeep dealer after all. Then I got a text from my original salesman who confirmed the car was in fact on the lot and I could come and test drive it the next day.
Long story longer, I drove away that day in a White Range Rover Sport with 55,000 miles on it for 47% under my budget. God gave me my heart's desire for less than the price of a Ford or a Jeep!
Why am I telling you this long random car story? To tell you that God will give you the car of your dreams if you ask him? Maybe He will, but that's not why I'm telling you this.
I tell you this story because when Jesus does something amazing for you, you want to tell everybody. When Jesus healed the blind man or the leper, they didn't go around telling people Jesus promised to heal everyone else of blindness and leprosy too, they just wanted to tell everyone what Jesus had done for them. It was a testimony of their personal experience with Jesus.
Jesus did this incredible thing for me and I couldn't not share my joy with you. Never be afraid to ask God for what you want, even if it seems silly. He just might surprise you.
In short, you can live your dream lifestyle. You just have to take the time to map it out.
- Envision your ideal day
- Compare your ideal day with your current reality
- Write down what you want
- Count the cost
- Make a plan
- Ask for it
Life is more meaningful when we take the time to do, have and become what we dream of.
Happy Dream Lifestyle!
READ NEXT: HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM LIFE
Welcome to Honey & Figs! I'm Lisa. I love helping people with practical ways to live more abundant lives based on my own experience. You can click here to find out more about me.