“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Never before in human history has the ability to create a lifestyle based on personal preferences been available to so many people.
The evolution of technology, explosion of search capability, and division of labor in a free economy has created a world in which nearly any task or piece of information can be easily sourced.
The big question is not, “can I personalize my life?” Rather it is, “how do I want to personalize my life?”
How to Personalize Your Life in the Modern World
Step 1: Virtuous Circle
I create my own personalized lifestyle by asking these questions:
- What do I want?
- What do I have now?
- What changes can I make now?
A practice of consistently asking and answering these questions will take you on a never-ending upward spiral of creating a lifestyle that is uniquely and happily yours.
Step 2: Reflection
Answering these questions requires slowing down your mind and thinking about how you want to live your life. I have written a lot about the value of reflection in answering the bigger, more important questions of life: who I am and what is truly important to me at a spiritual level.
This is a much lighter exercise. Here are some questions to help you along with a few of my answers:
What you enjoy doing? Writing, exercising, entertaining, cooking, traveling
What you do not enjoy? House cleaning, yard work, fixing things that break
How do you want to live? Healthfully, comfortably, conveniently, with time, resources and opportunity to do more of what I enjoy and less of what I do not enjoy
The purpose of reflection is to create a vision of a lifestyle that closely represents what you want.
Step 3: Gap Assessment
The difference between the lifestyle you have and the one you want (the gap) is often obvious, but sometimes it’s not.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes you need help. I’ll give two examples when I needed help assessing the gap in my life as it is compared to how I wanted it to be.
Living a healthy life is important to me. Recently I asked an expert from Opex Fitness to assess my current level of physical fitness. He had experience and diagnostic tools to assess my true fitness in ways I could never do myself. Consulting an expert helped me learn there was a significant gap between where my fitness level actually was and where I thought it was.
Earlier in the year we bought a puppy and needed a backyard fence for him. My only experience is with “real” wood fences. You know, the ones you can see. My wife and I called in an expert from the Invisible Fence company. We learned we could secure the puppy in our yard faster and cheaper with an invisible fence. We also discovered a new technology to limit our pets’ access inside the house. Consulting an expert helped us learn there was a significant gap between what we thought was possible and what was actually possible.
Step 4: Take Action
Important change often requires time or money… or both. Once you know the change you want, it’s time to determine what changes can you make now, given the time and resources at your disposal.
Taking action on improving my physical fitness took a little money and a lot of time. I hired a personal trainer to revamp my exercise routines to strengthen my weaknesses and align my fitness goals with my life goals. I have also visited a physical therapist twice to measure my progress. Ultimately, it’s up to me to put in the time and do the work.
Adding the “inside fence” features took no time and very little money. Our inside fence keeps all our pets out of our master and guest bedrooms, limits the puppy to the first floor only, and creates a dog-free haven for our cats on the second floor. It’s great!
Step 5: Repeat
My vision for personalizing my life is to spend more and more time doing things I enjoy, with people I love, in places I want to be.
If it saves me time and I can afford it…
If it brings me joy and I can afford it…
If I find it unpleasant and I can somehow eliminate it…
Then I do it.
Next week, I will continue with the second post in this series, How to Create Your Dream Home with Personalization. For that, we begin with the question: Where do you want to live?
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