5 Ideas to Create a Life You Love
We here at Accidental Information are all about inspiring people to embrace their passions to create the life they love. But how can you create a life you love in a more planful way?
Especially in the corporate world, we are fed so many ways to develop goals—like we’re all supposed to think the same and come up with a plan using the same prescriptive format.
Despite all the job interview questions that would suggest otherwise, we don’t all need to have a 5-year plan. Each of us is wired differently. So our approach to prioritizing our lives should be different, too.
So what are some of these approaches? We’re glad you asked.
Drawing from our interviews with those who are following their passion, coupled with our own experiences and research, below are five of some of the best ideas we’ve seen for setting goals, making decisions, and developing habits that can help you live life with greater intention.
1. State Your Intentions
We loved our conversation with LinkedIn’s Pat Wadors, Senior Vice President of the Global Talent Organization at LinkedIn. Pat’s passion is watching others grow and supporting them in navigating their professional journeys.
Pat knows that in order to best support others, she needs to make her own personal development a priority. That’s why she creates an Annual Intention Document. It helps keep her on track and focused on her purpose.
For example, her 2016 Intention Document included taking more risks. As an introvert, this meant pushing herself well outside of her comfort zone to participate in more speaking requests, engaging in more conversations with strangers, speaking up through her new blog, and just being more intentional in how she belongs.
Consider starting on your own Intention Document for 2017 to help keep you focused on your goals. But, in doing so, heed Pat’s warning, “Belong where you want to belong—you don’t have to belong to everything.”
Which brings us to our next tip…
2. Live More Spaciously
Do you ever feel like your day is so jam-packed that you don’t have a moment to yourself? It’s easy in today’s age to let technology, social obligations, and unrealistic to-do lists dictate how we spend our time.
But you can’t live an intentional life if you’re constantly living in a reactive mode—responding to the latest crisis, trying to live up to others’ expectations, and putting out fires.
In her New York Times bestseller Daring Greatly, Dr. Brené Brown says, “We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.”
But this busyness trap can also be a numbing strategy that withdraws us from ourselves. It can prevent us from recognizing and spending our time and energy on what matters most to us.
Take time to smell the roses—literally. Start a meditation practice. Consider yoga. Amble in nature. Journal. Breathe. Ponder. Consider. Be.
By creating more space in your life, you’ll be more in touch with yourself and have a greater sense of what brings you joy—and what doesn’t.
3. Set a Goal to Create a Journey
During our conversation with Anna Harris—who transitioned from a career in IT and finance to become an interior designer and now owns Anna Harris designs—she explained her personal approach to planning.
“I’ve been more opportunistic than planful,” she said. “I have a five-year plan, but it’s painted in very broad strokes…I like a meandering path.”
If that rings true for you as well, you may like what executive coach and entrepreneur Stever Robbins, author of Get-it-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More has to say about goal setting. Stever suggests that instead of setting life goals, consider setting a life direction.
You can figure out what would create a fun, meaningful, compelling journey by asking yourself:
- How do I want to spend my time?
- What daily activities make me want to leap out of bed?
- What do I want to learn?
- Who do I want to hang out with? Talk with? Collaborate with?
Once you answer these questions, you can then set your goal. It can really be any goal—just choose one that will start you on the path to the journey you desire. The goal simply acts as a compass to point you in the right direction towards living your journey.
4. Pair Up Your Habits
Let’s face it, we all have good intentions. But all the intentions in the world don’t always get us to the gym, prevent us from watching less reality TV, or help us put our electronic devices—and ourselves—to bed earlier. Habits can be hard to form, and yet they’re important to establish if we want to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
In her latest book, Better than Before, happiness and habit expert Gretchen Rubin provides a whole host of tips on how to create better habits to help us get what we want out of life. One of those tips is the strategy of pairing, which is the process of coupling two activities together—one that you want to do, and one that you don’t want to do.
For example, want to get yourself on your home exercise bike that’s doing nothing but collecting dust? Pair watching TV with exercising so you can only watch certain shows while you’re riding your exercise bike. Make a pact to only read for pleasure while flying. Do quick sprints of chores during commercials. Catch up with friends while walking. Don’t let yourself take a shower until you exercise. Want your daily coffee? You can have it, once you take your vitamins.
Get the picture?
You can use the strategy of pairing to reinforce habits large and small. Get creative and think about how you can use the strategy of pairing to help you stay on top of your own goals.
5. Focus on the Essential
“The author talks about how we are faced with so many more decisions today than we’ve ever been faced with in the past,” Rocky said. “And that creates decision fatigue. The more decisions we have to make, the lower the integrity of each of the decisions—it’s proportional.”
The book’s author, Greg McKeown, says that applying a more selective criteria for what is essential allows us to regain control of our own choices—and frees us up to channel our time, energy, and effort toward the goals and activities that really matter.
For Rocky, the principles in the book have helped guide him in making sure the projects his company takes on are essential. And by default, it’s eliminated a lot of the non-essential things.
If Rocky’s passion for Essentialism has made your ears perk up, we have an essential piece of advice: go out and buy the book—we did.
There’s no one-size-fits-all model for setting and sticking with goals. The key is to find an approach that resonates for you and give it a go.
Want to add to the conversation? Leave a comment and let us know what helps you set—and keep—goals.