Have you ever snapped out of a daydream about what your life could be like to the cold reality of life as it is feeling just a little jaded? We tend to distinguishing between our ideal and actual selves (and the associated lifestyle factors of each) in a very cut-and-dry way. We have our dreams and we have the fact of our reality, often with no sense of a feasible link between the two.
Developing a Lifestyle Vision is one way of making the connections between life as we see it now and life as it could be in the future. This is achieved by fleshing out the detail of your so-called pipe-dream enough that you can start assessing what long-term goals you would need to set in place to align you with this hypotheitcal future. From there some tangible progress can be made by breaking down these goals in to more actionable items, then making the necessary adjustments to your day-to-day to get to work on them.
Having a lifestyle vision isn't a case of having a plan for your entire lifespan; it's much more concise, practical and manageable than that. What we're looking at here is a vision for the lifestyle you want to have in some near-future, say 3-5 years down the line. This is a realistic time to allow real change to take place in your life but not so far away that it feels like some abstract and unreachable horizon. Of course you can work in whatever timescale you want but I find this works well. If it feels too hazy then simply shorten it.
Another thing to note is that you don't need to have your vision too detailed. You're looking to develop a good idea of what you want - how you would like to spend your time, the things you might have in your life, the qualities of the person you would like to be - not an itinerary. The reason for this is that your lifestyle vision will develop and shift as you approach it, you might refine it further or change track entirely, adding things in that were completely unexpected when you first sat down to write it.
Having a hyper-focus on the specifics of your future self can also hold you back from achieving those outcomes. It can put too much of a focus inadvertently on the fact that you don't have that lifestyle now, and you run the risk of not being as adaptive or responsive to new things coming in to your life if you're overly fixated on a set outcome.
Useful cornerstones of a lifestyle vision are things like how you will generate an income, skills or personal traits that would contribute to your life and those around you, and how you might spend your leisure time. Asking yourself the right questions is key to the process. For example, if part of your lifestyle vision is to be an accountant ask yourself why. If it's because the job pays well, then ask yourself what you want more: to be an accountant, or to have a well-paid job? If it's simply that you want a well-paid job ask yourself what you need the money for. Drill down and you'll find yourself confronting some real questions; that is where the work is done.
As you go through this process you'll start to paint a picture of where you might like your life to start heading. You'll also have the opportunity to uncover biases and other grooves in the way you think. We all have justifications and assumptions around how things ought to be in our lives and what is possible in the future, but often these come from the expectations we feel others have of us which we might have internalized. It's important to ask yourself why you want the lifestyle that you're aiming for and why you are where you are now.
The fact that you're reading this that tells me you want something to change in your life. You want to pursue your own path. This can be the first step. Looking forward from here you can say this is the lifestyle I choose. It can be daunting. You might doubt yourself to begin with. You might come up with excuses for why you shouldn't bother. That's all part of this process, quite literally. You have to work through those blocks to align with this new lifestyle and this new you, allowing yourself to step in to that unknown and create something new.
Through my coaching I can help you to address those mental blocks, as well as to develop and refine the vision you've started to map out. We'll look at breaking down your vision in to various projects and then further in to specific short- and long-term goals (I'll also be writing more about this on the blog and through my newsletter so be sure to sign up on the home page).
Keeping on track with this process of realignment can be a struggle. If you feel that accountability and somebody to guide you in this process could be benificial you can book a free consultation with me to see if coaching might be a good fot for your situation. There are various practices which can help you maintain momentum and remain adaptive to change or setbacks which I coach my clients in building in to their lives.
Developing your lifestyle vision isn't just a conceptual exercise. It provides the foundations for making targeted and practical changes to your daily life that align with something greater. It's also a useful way to remove your perceptual blinkers and break in to new ways of navigating life with a fresh sense of what's possible.