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Lifestyle design. It’s a hot word amongst lifestyle blogs and social media influencers. But what IS lifestyle design, and who is it for?
In this post, we’ll take a look at what it means to design your lifestyle, and how to put your dream into action.
What is Lifestyle Design?
Lifestyle design, put simply, is about pinpointing your dream life and making choices to bring that dream into reality.
Most of us do this without putting a trendy keyword to it. It’s just… identifying your life goals, and working toward them! Simple as that.
Lifestyle design sounds fancy and sophisticated, though. So I’m gonna use it. 😜
Whatever you wish to call it, if anything at all, you can take the concept of lifestyle design and build your ultimate dream life using tools we’ll talk about later in this post.
But first, let’s get something straight:
Is Lifestyle Design Just for Rich / White / Cishet / Neurotypical / Able-Bodied People?
Anyone can design the life they want.
Obviously, we don’t all have access to the same resources.
Some lifestyle designs may be more easily attainable than others, due to privilege. That’s an unfortunate reality of the world we live in.
But we can all make the most of what we have in order to live a life that is closest to what we want.
It’s about identifying our needs and wants in different areas of life, and doing what we can to bring that dream to fruition.
An unfortunate pattern I see with a lot of lifestyle design blogs and influencers, is that it seems that they are only talking to middle-to-upper class, often cisgender and heterosexual, able-bodied white men and women.
That can feel really isolating for people who don’t fit those categories.
Shopping at dollar stores since I was a kid, I would always feel a little disheartened when I’d come across lifestyle blogs that didn’t leave room for people in poverty.
The lack of awareness for neurodivergent people, and people dealing with mental illnesses, or other barriers, leaves a lot of people like me feeling like we just aren’t meant to have an idyllic life.
I call bullshit.
Lifestyle design is for everyone.
Because all that lifestyle design means is discovering your ideal life, and doing what you can to get there!
What Are the Different Areas of Lifestyle Design?
Life is a big ol’ thing. You know? There are a lot of different areas in life.
So, when trying to design your lifestyle, it can easily become overwhelming if we don’t split things up.
Let’s look at some of the main categories of life, to help you compartmentalize your goals and avoid overwhelm.
Lifestyle Design: Career
If you’re anything like me, this is the most stressful part of building a lifestyle design plan.
There’s passion, and there’s practicality.
What do you love doing?
Cool, can you actually make a living from that?
When designing your dream life, your career is an area that’s going to affect all the rest.
You have to be able to afford your basic necessities, plus the rest of the type of life you want.
So, what can you pursue as a career in order to reach your lifestyle goals?
Lifestyle Design: Education
Linked with the career category is education.
What type of education do you need in order to follow your career path?
Beyond that, are there things you want to learn anyway, just because they interest you?
Education is a lifelong journey for most of us.
That journey is going to look very different for everyone, depending on our goals and our resources.
But there will always be opportunities to learn and expand our minds.
How do you want to expand yours?
Lifestyle Design: Home
Ah, yes. Home. Where the heart is.
Where do you want to live?
Figuring out what you want your home life to look like is one of the most important parts of lifestyle design. (Especially if you’re an introvert like me who spends more than 75% of your time at home!)
What sort of home do you want? What style? How big? Owned, or rented?
Do these preferences only apply to the short-term (say, the next five years), or are you thinking about settling down long-term?
And what will you be doing at home? How often do you want to be there?
Lifestyle Design: Relationships / Social Life
What good is a dream life if we have no one to share it with?
I don’t mean romantically–though romantic relationships may be a priority for you, and that’s cool!
It’s important to really think about what you want your relationships in life to look like.
How big do you want your circle of friends to be? Do you want to be in a group, or do you prefer one-on-one friendships?
How do you envision your workplace relationships? Strictly professional? Casual and close?
What about your family life? How close do you want to be with your relatives?
And if romantic relationships are important to you, what’s your ideal situation, there? One partner (or two or three–I see you, polyamorous friends) that you dedicate to spending the rest of your life with?
Or are you looking for more short-term, casual relationships? Do you want activity partners to go out with, or is it more important to have someone to come home to? Or both?
Identifying the types of relationships you want to have in your life, even for an introvert, is a key element of lifestyle design.
Lifestyle Design: Experiences
These are things like travel, going to events, or reaching particular personal achievements.
Where do you want to go? What do you want to see, hear, feel? What experiences are you looking for in life?
If you died without taking a cross-country roadtrip, would you regret it?
Pssst! If travel is a big part of your dream life, but you don’t have the resources to go places, check out this post on how to quench your thirst for travel from home!
Assembling a “bucket list” of things you want to do before you die will add a little spice to your lifestyle design plan.
Lifestyle Design: Crafting Your YOU!
Lifestyle design isn’t just about tangible things. It can also be very abstract.
Who do you want to BE?
Good lifestyle designs aren’t just about how you want to experience the world, but how you want the world to experience you.
For more on discovering who you are (and who you want to be), check out this post!
How to Live By Your Design
We’ve covered the different areas of life, now let’s take a look at how you can take the concept of lifestyle design and build your dream life.
Introspect, Introspect, Introspect!
As with anything involving self-discovery and goal building, introspection is key!
Set aside time to really think about what you want in life, and write it down.
Check out this post of questions you can ask yourself to help you identify your ideal lifestyle design!
Also, try the following mental exercise:
A Day In My (Future) Life
- Write out (or type up) a story, exploring a day in your future dream life.
- Focus on every category of lifestyle design. Note where you’re waking up, and when. What does your morning routine look like? When do you leave for work, and what do you do for work? Do you come home to a family every night? Do you go out with friends or coworkers after work? How does the day end?
- To get a clearer, more specific view of your dream life, try writing out what you’re doing on different days of the week. What does your weekend look like? What about Monday? Or, you can write about different periods of your life. What do you do every summer? Where do you go on vacation? What projects do you work on every weeknight?
Using this exercise and visualizing the life you think you want might help you realize that it’s not actually your ideal life.
Adjust, and try the exercise again! Keep tweaking it until you find the life plan that feels right for you.
Reassess Your Lifestyle Design Plan Regularly
Have your needs changed? Do you no longer want what you once thought you wanted?
Do you have resources available to you that you didn’t have before?
Have you lost access to resources that will impact your current plan for your life?
Reassessing your lifestyle design plan regularly is important, because life is a journey, and sometimes we change direction.
You can do this whenever the need arises, of course, but I like to set quarterly check-ins for myself, to ask myself how I’m doing, what I need, and if any changes are necessary.
Don’t Just Think – Do!
You can have one of the most imaginative, wondrous lifestyle designs out there, but it won’t be worth anything if it only exists as scribbles in your notebook.
Once you’ve identified what you want out of life, it’s time to go for it!
Take note of what parts of your life are already in line with your dream.
Are you already in school, studying what you want to study? Great!
Do you already have a job that’s on your chosen career path? Awesome!
Are you in a relationship that you hope to take with you into the rest of your life? Sweet!
Now, assess what parts of your life need to change in order to align with your lifestyle design.
Maybe you actually need a different major, or you want to switch career paths.
Maybe you, uh, actually don’t want the same things your partner wants, and it may be time for you to go your separate ways (hey, it happens).
Identify the areas of life that aren’t living up to your goals, and figure out the next steps.
You don’t have to have an entire 10-year-plan in order to take the next step. Having a general idea of where you want the future to go is wonderful, but it can be overwhelming and leave you frozen in your tracks.
Just write down the next step.
What’s the next thing you need to do in order to attain the home life you want?
It might be anything from painting your bedroom wall a different color, to opening a savings account so you can start putting aside money for your future house.
ADHD Tip: If, like me, you get overwhelmed by seemingly simple tasks, break it down even more! If you want to paint your room, break that task down into smaller steps, like choosing a color, going to the store, buying the paint, moving the furniture, etc. etc.
Surround Yourself With Supporters
Be around people who will bring you up, and cheer you on in your goals.
Some people project their fear, bitterness, and pain onto others, and criticize those who share their dreams.
Be mindful of who you share your goals with, and make sure you have people in your life who support you and want to see you succeed. If no one in your family or friend group is cheerfully supportive of you, try seeking out online groups for people with similar goals.
In general, it’s a good idea to be around people who have similar lifestyle design ideas as you. You can cheer each other on, share your experiences, and inspire each other. You might even seek a mentor to help guide you on your way.
Own Your Life
Don’t let anyone tell you what kind of life you’re going to have.
On this vast, fast planet, we don’t all get to live the #Influencer dream life. (Not all of us even want that.)
But we can all take steps to create the life we want. We may not get everything we want, but if we sit around and let life pass us by, we won’t get anything.
Take control of your life, to the extent that you can. Use the resources you have to craft a beautiful, wondrous life.
Make your dreams come true.
Looking for inspiration for things you might enjoy adding to your life plan? Here’s a list of 13 different things to try!
And before you get all pumped up about your dream life, here’s a post on how to stick with it once the excitement of a new thing wears off.
What’s YOUR lifestyle design plan? Share your dreams in the comments below!