At the age of 24, I worked as a product developer for a fashion company in Germany. My job was underpaid and I was overworked. I lived from paycheck to paycheck, had no savings but the big dream to travel the world.
2 years later my dream came true and I traveled the world for the next 2 years. I spent my 27th birthday in Maui, Hawaii and my 28th in New Delhi, India.
It didn´t happen by accident. I made it happen!
And so can you make your dreams come true and reach your goals.
DESIGN THE LIFE YOU LOVE
You have dreams and goals, but they seem impossible to reach?
Trust me, most of the things which seem to be impossible are realizable.
It involves some planning, dedication, and discipline.
I want to give you here 5 strategies I´ve learned over time and wish I knew earlier because they are truly helpful in turning dreams into reality.
1. MAKE A 5 YEAR PLAN
You might have heard the question before “Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?” At least in Germany, this question is very often asked in job interviews.
For a long time, I didn´t get it and thought: “How should I know how life 5 years from now will be for me?”
I somehow only thought about my career path when it came to this question, and not about anything else.
This simple question, however, can be applied to all areas of our lives.
To make it easier I reframe this question for you to ask yourself “What do I want for myself in 5 years from now?” in terms of:
- CAREER / BUSINESS
- RELATIONSHIPS / FAMILY
- SIGNIFICANT OTHER / MARRIAGE
- RECREATION / FUN
- PERSONAL GROWTH
- FAITH / SPIRITUALITY
- VOLUNTEERING / SERVICE
These were the categories I´ve chosen to focus on for myself as well.
You can use the same categories or of course also choose different ones. It´s up to you what you want to focus on in your life for the next 5 years and in which areas you want to grow.
After defining the overarching categories of your personal 5-year plan, start to go more into detail within each category.
What exactly do you want in terms of health, wealth, relationships, family, career, spirituality, personal growth to happen within the next 5 years?
2. ENVISION YOUR FUTURE
By envision your future I mean to think about and to visualize for yourself what you want to: have, become and achieve in your future. Within the next 5 years.
Our thoughts influence our feelings and our feelings influence our actions.
We form our lives by our behavior and by our habits. We can consciously form our habits to bring us towards our goals.
Read the post how to form new habits so you can make use of this simple, yet effective tool to bring yourself quicker towards your goals.
It can be very helpful to envision the positive and the negative outcome of your today’s behavior and habits to see which behavior leads to what kind of outcome.
Example 1 HEALTH:
Your goal might be to implement a healthy diet into your daily life. More precisely to eliminate sugar from your diet, because you heard about the negative effects of refined sugar. The reality, however, can be that you are used to drinking 1 cup of coffee every day with 3 cubes of sugar and love to eat after lunch a chocolate brownie.
Now you can start envisioning your future. 5 years from now what happens to you, to your health & body when you continue this habit?
On the other hand, what happens to you and your health when you eliminate sugar from your coffee completely and start eating an apple per day instead of the chocolate brownie for the next 5 years?
It´s a little change of your habit you would do every day, but in the long term would have an effect on your health in a more negative or in a more positive way.
Example 2 RELATIONSHIP:
Your goal might be to have a healthy, good relationship with your spouse. The reality can be that you hardly see each other and hardly communicate because you both work full time and have little free time together.
Now you can envision your future 5 years from now. What happens to you and your relationship when you continue this habit?
On the other hand, what happens to you and your relationship when you make time for each other every single day and make room for conversations and shared activities?
Whatever your current situation and the desired outcome might be you can apply this strategy to all your goals.
As you know now what you want as an outcome and how your current situation is, it´s time to make a clear strategic plan for how you are going to reach your goal.
Herefore break up all your big goals into small pieces. This way it´s less overwhelming and much easier to actually realize your goals.
Take one goal at a time and start with the end in mind and go backward.
The desired outcome is reached let´s say in 5 years, what is the goal in 2.5 years from now, in 1 year, 6 months, 3months from now.
Break this huge goal down into bigger chunks and then into small actionable steps from 5 years to now. What can you do today to come closer to your goal?
It doesn´t have to be an overwhelming huge step.
Being consistent and making it a new habit of walking every day even tiny little steps towards your goal is the key to realizing your goals.
3. START JOURNALING
You can´t change your habits overnight, no one can for sure.
However, what you can do is measuring your tiny little steps and in bigger scale your whole progress towards your goal with the help of journaling.
As your big goals are broken down into small pieces, journaling is the best way to keep track of how you go!
Using a habit tracker to keep track of your goals is a very effective tool.
Feel free to download the 12 months habit tracker I created for you here.
All habits can be transformed and replaced by another habit.
It´s no fun, it´s real work, but in the end, it´s worth it.
Probably you´ve heard before that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I would say it depends not only on the time you spend on new habits but also on how much you are eager to achieve this new habit and how energy consuming this new habit is.
For example, if you are a heavy smoker and want to quit smoking or love cheese and want to become a vegan (both were true for me). This will take up more energy from you than let’s say eating a cube of sugar less per day.
To go back to my examples above, you could eat 1 cube less of sugar, in the beginning, than 2 cubes less of sugar and so on. Until you don´t put any sugar into your coffee and transformed your old habit with the new one.
For example 2 you could schedule in the beginning a day and time with your spouse once per week to spend some quality time together. Then increase it over time until you reach your new habit and therefore your goal.
4. TEAM UP TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER
Strategy 4 is all about accountability!
Team up with a friend, colleague, family member who has the same / or similar goal as you have to support each other.
Make a bold statement to this person about what your goal is and how you are going to reach it.
For example, once I´m doing it I love to do sports, but I have a really hard time to get started. Especially when I´m doing sport like swimming or running on my own. The only thing what worked for me was when I teamed up with a friend.
We went for a couple of times swimming at 6 am in the morning in cold winter in Northern Germany. It was frosty and dark outside. I would have never done this on my own. Although I love swimming and I felt really good afterward it was the accountability I established towards my friend what got me going.
Your friend doesn´t necessarily have to be there with you. You could also remind each other with a short message. “5.30 Hey I`m up and going to the swimming pool in 20 minutes” and once you´re done “ I`ve finished my rounds and loved it.” or something like that.
Hereby it´s important that you both take it seriously and stick to it. Stick to help each other staying on track of your goals.
5. SCHEDULE CHECK UP´S
As already mentioned above it´s very helpful to break down your bigger goals into small pieces. Besides breaking your goals into small chunks it´s also important to set yourself a time schedule for your smaller steps.
Schedule check up´s every week for every 6 months for your goal. (depending on your goal)
With this strategy, you can evaluate the progress of your goal and new habit.
Ask yourself: What did work and what didn´t? How am I doing in terms of reaching my goals? Do I have to adjust or change something about my plan?
Here again, I can highly recommend using journaling. Your notebook and your pen may become one of your best friends when it comes to designing your dream life. It was at least the case for me.
Once you find out that you are still on track for 6 month – well done, continue and go a step further.
Once you find out that you left the path this check-up will give you the space to readjust and to see where you need to focus more.
There are 5 easy strategies I want to share with you which can help you design the life you love and reach your goals with ease.
1. MAKE A 5 YEAR PLAN
How does your ideal life look like 5 years from now?
2. ENVISION YOUR FUTURE
Create a vision board to envision your best possible life.
3. START JOURNALING
What steps do you need to take each and every day to reach your goals?
Create supportive habits and track them in a habit tracker.
4. HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Ask a friend, family member or colleague to be your accountability partner. Keeping you accountable for moving towards your goals every day.
5. SCHEDULE REGULAR CHECK UP´S
Schedule in regular check up’s with your accountability partner and with yourself to see how you are moving towards your goals and if you need to adjust your strategy.
With these 5 simple yet effective strategies, you can start designing the life you love!
What are your favorite strategies to design the life you love? I would love to hear about it!
As a bonus to this article, I created a cheat sheet for you as printable. It is absolutely free, just click yes please below to receive it instantly!