As we all come to discover, designing our own life takes both active and passive visualization. Kick-starting our journey forward is essential for each new chapter of life; while we all experience hardships, we cope in varying ways. Some decide to take small steps in their intended direction while others always feel the need to leap—they make big life decisions following a big change (leaving a job, leaving a long-term relationship, and beyond). You’ve heard the phrase “different strokes for different folks” (a classic), but how do you identify what kind of “folk” you are? Okay, so that’s grammatically inaccurate, but you understand what we mean. How do you create your lifestyle in a way that feeds your hopes and dreams? That sustains you? That helps you to cope with life changes? That points you in the right direction forward? Well, my friends…
Do the Homework
Albert Einstein touted the benefits of staying curious—*don’t stop* practicing curiosity past childhood. Whether in relation to a potential job or after speaking with a friend on current events, treat everything like a research paper. Use your resources (our local library, your computer, the books in your home, personal experiences from loved ones, etc.) to come to your own conclusions and make informed decisions. Acknowledge the importance of your own emotions, but be mindful that emotions are not facts. Be voracious in your studies; check company reviews before accepting a job interview, look up valid statistics before forming opinions on organizations, speak with friends before drawing conclusions about their intentions. At the risk of sounding kitschy; life comes with homework… do your assignments.
Surround Yourself with Brightness & Color
Let’s get physical, sweet humans. When we’re feeling down, we tend to cling to any semblance of darkness—this means sad movies, yes, but we’re also talking about dark rooms, furniture, etc. Get moving and get to brightening. This isn’t for everyone—some are far happier in darker spaces, but those people know who they are. If you’re not sure, we recommend making the change. Paint your walls in brighter tones, add colorful décor into every room of your house, and throw open *all* of the shutters. This is essentially the “force yourself to smile and you’ll feel just slightly better” exercise… for your home! (Side note: don’t let anyone tell you that you *need* to smile).
Commit to Collaborate
How good is a movie if the main character doesn’t form meaningful relationships along the way? While you’re the captain of your ship, there’s no shame in creating a crew as needed. Now that I’ve decided to stop mixing metaphors: make personal connections! Just like staying curious, it’s essential to remain open to learning from others. Additionally, reciprocity is a lovely thing; remain open to teaching/helping others in ways that work for you. Most importantly, it’s okay to ask for help.
Get to Know Yourself on the Deepest Levels
Sometimes, the most beneficial help that we can receive will come from a professional. The journey to create your lifestyle requires learning about yourself… one of the best ways to do that? Personal therapy. I have yet to meet someone that *wouldn’t* benefit from seeing the right mental health professional. It’s amazing to witness the stigma surrounding mental health slowly waning—finding the right therapist and putting in the work can improve nearly every area of your life.
Explore with Your Right Brain
From delving deeper in personal therapy, you might find yourself connecting with your emotions—maybe some you didn’t even know you felt! Figuring out the “why” surrounding our mindsets can kick-start the “what’s next.” It’s time to find out what you truly want out of life; what are your long-term goals? Maybe the career path of your dreams has been right under your nose; right-brain thinking will clear the clutter and get down to the heart of your desires.
And Filter with Your Left Brain
As with all things, *balance* is the key to harmony. After processing your true feelings, it’s time to get a bit more logical. Now that you have your goals, how are you going to achieve them? Filter your wants through a number of litmus tests: what’s your accessibility to this goal? What level of education/groundwork is required? How much time, money, and brain-power are you willing to commit to get there? Be loving, but realistic with yourself. No matter the outcome, treat yourself kindly—you deserve it.