5 Simple Steps to Designing a Life You Love

Quick question: how do you feel when you think about your future?

Inspired? Mediocre? Totally freaked out?

Back when I was in university I could barely think past the semester, let alone about what I actually wanted to do my life when I graduated.

I’ve always been a “live-in-the-moment” type of girl. Thinking too far in advance felt unnatural, intimidating and frightening – something “real adults” did, not twenty-somethings who still had years to figure out real world stuff.

As school winded down I was terrified to leave. Even though I had a job lined up, I had no idea where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be.

Instead of taking control of my life, I let life happen to me.

I bounced around from job to job, thinking each new opportunity would hold the answers. When they didn’t, I went traveling, hoping each new country I visited would somehow reveal to me what I was actually supposed to do with my life. They didn’t.

And while, yes, my work and traveling experiences were amazing and valuable and totally awesome, they didn’t give me the direction I was hoping they would.

It wasn’t until I took ownership over my life and began to actually think about what I wanted my future to look like that I began to realize just how important it is to have a vision.

Why?

Creating a vision forces us to get real with ourselves, to identify what our core values are and to think about what we want our mission and legacy to be in this world. When we know where we want to go we can start coming up with a plan to get there.

Crafting a vision also works on our brain’s manifestation powerhouse: the subconscious mind. While we create our vision using our conscious mind, our subconscious mind is responsible for manifesting our desires. The more emotion and excitement we put into our vision, the stronger its influence on our subconscious mind. The stronger the subconscious influence, the faster things will manifest.

Finally, visions help motivate and guide us. When we know where we want to go, we can make tough decisions with ease. We feel inspired by what we’re doing and motivated to keep working hard because we know what we’re doing is helping us get to where we want to go. Without a vision it’s easy to get lost in the world, to feel anxious, and even depressed about the future.

Let’s Get Visual: How to Write a Vibrant Life Vision

Step 1: Find an inspiring spot.

It’s important to write your vision in a space that inspires you. Do not write your vision in your office, on campus or a place where you tend to do a lot of work. You need to be able to get really creative and to dream really big. This can be hard when you’ve got deadlines, bills and work drama hanging around. Instead, go somewhere beautiful. Take a hike up a mountain, head to the beach or visit a beautiful park, museum or chic coffee shop – anywhere that inspires you. This will allow you to tap into your creativity and to really let your imagination run wild.

Step 2: Create a clarity circle.

Now that you’re feeling inspired, it’s time to get clear. Before you dive into writing your vision take a few minutes to explore what you want and what you don’t want. One of the best ways to do this is by drawing a clarity circle. Take out a fresh piece of paper and draw a big circle on it. On the outside of the circle begin to write down all of the things you DO NOT want in your life. Then on the inside of the circle write down all of the things you DO want. These can be feelings, material items, jobs, places you’d like to live and travel, or health and financial goals. Basically, anything you want to have in your life, put it inside the circle. Once you’ve created your clarity circle take a good look at it. Do you notice any themes? What words jump out at you the most? What gets you the most excited?

Step 3: Write your Vibrant Vision.

Now that you’re inspired and clear, it’s time to write your vision. If you can, write your vision out by hand the first time. There’s something powerful about the written word and we often feel more connected to things we write personally versus typing.

When you’re ready lean out into the future. There’s a bit of a science in determining how far into the future to lean. You want to lean far enough that you can really dream big, but not so far that your vision feels unattainable. In his book, Double Double, visioning master Cameron Heroldrecommends three years. I recently put together a three-year vision and I feel totally psyched about it (hence this blog), but in the past I’ve done five- and ten-year visions too. Do whatever feels best for you.

Write down what you want to see in every area of your life. Where do you want to work? Who do you want to live with? How do you want to feel when you wake up in the morning? What do you want to wear? Do you drive a car? Get really specific, the more details, the better. Most importantly, don’t think about HOW you will make your vision happen at all. That insight will come later. If you get too caught up in hows and whatifs you’ll block your creativity and dull your vision down. Make this baby sparkle! When it’s done your vision should be two – five pages long and when you read it, it should generate an exciting and expansive feeling in your body.

Step 4: Backtrack, you goal-getter.

Now that you’ve got your vision, it’s time to create some juicy goals. Goal setting can be a little obsessive, but I like to keep it simple. One of the most beautiful things about crafting a vision is it really gets you clear on what and what not to focus your time and energy on. In my opinion the best way to set goals is to backtrack from your vision. For example, if your three-year vision has you living and working in Japan, one of your goals for this year could be to research the job and housing market or save a certain amount of money for the move. Another example, if your goal is to run a triathlon in three years, maybe your goal for this year is a 10-kilometre race. By creating goals that are in alignment with our vision, we know we are moving closer and closer to actually living our dream life. And it is oh so gratifying.

Step 5: Take action, today.

Now that you’ve got a solid vision and plotted some goals, it’s time to take the first few steps toward living your dream. Insight without action is worthless, so look at your goals and ask yourself, what is one thing I can do today that will move me closer – even just a little bit – to achieving this goal. Maybe it’s going for a run, taking some time out of your day to do some Google research, or opening up a savings account. Whatever it is, do it. When we see how our small actions align with our goals and our vision, getting things done starts to feel amazing. Our to-do list takes on a new meaning, motivation and momentum build, and we start to feel really excited about our lives.

Now that you’ve created a vision, plotted some goals and tasked yourself with an action step, it’s time to share.

There’s real power in sharing what you’re up to, so let me know in the comments below: what’s one action step you can take today to move you closer to your vision?

So proud of you!

With so much love,

Alex