I've written my book, primarily for my children, and it includes a chapter about Life Design, goal-setting, thinking about your life in weeks, and various other techniques. I believe these to be the essential elements of lifestyle.
Living on autopilot
We used to talk about the “fast-paced” world, but that was before we entered the age of AI. Things are only moving faster now. We’re all connected yet distant; everyone is just a click away, but it’s not always easy to push the button. Oftentimes, we find ourselves running on autopilots. Having established routines is actually a good thing, but only if the autopilot’s course is set in the right direction. How can we avoid derailing?
Enter life design.
Life(style) Design is the intentional process of crafting a life that aligns with our values, passions, and dreams. It involves making intentional choices and identifying our passions and purpose while embracing flexibility and adaptability. By designing our lives, we can create a life that brings us joy, meaning, and fulfillment.
The Power of Intentional Choices
One of the key principles of life design is making intentional choices. All too often, we let external factors dictate the course of our lives - societal expectations, peer pressure, or even our own fears and doubts. But when we take the time to reflect on what truly matters to us and make choices that align with our values and goals, we regain control over our lives.
Life design encourages us to ask ourselves: What kind of life do I want to live? What brings me joy and fulfillment? By answering these questions and making intentional choices, we can create a life that is authentic and true to ourselves.
Design your life with this free worksheet
Instead of serving you a five-thousand-word piece on Why, I’ve put together a simple Google Docs worksheet that will provide the How and help you get started. You can access it at the end of this post.
How to start designing your life
Set aside some quiet time when you can be alone and think in silence. Turn off any distractions, and get into your dreaming mode.
The most minimalist version merely entails taking the Google Doc, making a copy, and then editing it with your thoughts.
The optimal version is to watch the three linked YouTube videos (total watch time ~31 minutes) and then use the worksheet to record your plans.
Design-think your life
Total Leadership way for annual planning
Alternatively, you might use the shorter (more selfish?) version of simply looking into your Health, Wealth, and Self-development.
Once our 5-year vision and the annual goals are set, it’s time to dig into the next 90 days. If you’re too lazy to do anything else, skip the rest and simply start here at the bottom. Do this and change your life. I've written about this in my book, and here's an excerpt:
90-day Tom Mendoza goals
The days are long, but the years are short. That’s the quote I first heard from Gretchen Rubin. Ponder on that quote for a moment.
Done? Okay, let’s move on.
Tom Mendoza is the retired Vice Chairman and a legend of NetApp. Look up the lecture he gave at West Point. That’s the one that changed my goal-setting life.
The premise is simple: set yourself 3 personal and 3 professional goals you’d like to achieve within the next ninety days. Write them down, set aside. Let them marinate for a day or so, then review again with some objective distance. Judge them as per the SMART method.
Then revisit weekly/monthly or whatever you’ll find works for you. I do them each calendar quarter; so for example, at the time of this writing, I have an Evernote note titled July-August-September / Tom Mendoza 90-day goals. Yeah, I really call them like that! They have a reminder set for September 30th, 2020, so they’ll pop up on all my devices, and I’ll also get an email. That day is the deadline when I’ll review my success rate against these goals and set the new ones for the next 90-day period.
At first, this requires some getting-used-to and some discipline. I even had to set myself a calendar reminders to check my current goals weekly. With years, this turned into a habit, so now I tend to look at them multiple times a week. It’s easy to decide where you’ll invest your time if you know where you’d like to go. At least for me, it keeps me honest and accountable. Disciplined. And Discipline equals freedom, as Jocko Willink says.
Keep your Life Design worksheet visible
Lastly, copy/paste your Life Design worksheet somewhere you can notice it every day. I keep it in my Evernote’s Reminders, separately for the 5-year option, the current year's plan, and the ongoing 90-day goals. They have relevant reminders for the reviews, and I refer to them at least once a week. This helps me prioritize time and tasks so that I can stay on track.
Review and adjust
If you’re not yet used to it, put some reminders into your calendar. It’s easy to set a 10-minute slot once per week to review the 90-day goals and to check in with the annual plan once a month. After a while, you’ll notice this comes naturally.
Reviews are a super important part of this process, as they help us stay focused, adjust our course (or our goals!), and help us find meaning — especially in times of stress.
Embracing Flexibility and Adaptability
Life is unpredictable, and unexpected challenges and changes are bound to occur. By being open to new possibilities and willing to adjust our plans when necessary, we can navigate the twists and turns of life more effectively.
Life design teaches us to view setbacks and failures as learning opportunities and catalysts for growth. When we approach life with a growth mindset, we become more resilient and better equipped to handle whatever comes our way.
Design to thrive
Life design is a powerful tool that empowers us to take control of our lives, create meaningful experiences, and pursue our dreams. By making intentional choices, designing a life around our passions and purpose, and embracing flexibility, we can craft a life that brings us joy, fulfillment, and a deep sense of purpose.
So let's embrace the concept of life design and start creating the life we truly desire - a life that reflects who we are and allows us to thrive.
Design your life with this free worksheet you can download here :
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