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Each of us have a vision of an ideal life. For some, that vision is so crystal clear they can see and feel it as if it’s coming true even now. For others, the vision is so blurry it’s like when you would look through your grandpa’s glasses as a child.
Neither is right nor wrong. I want to put that out there because I think we often make ourselves feel like there’s a good and bad with contrasting points. Having clarity can be better because it creates more hope but even people who have great clarity have most likely spent years cultivating it.
Whether you fall into the super clear or quite blurry phase, there’s a few conversation points or questions worth considering before we get into the steps I have found to be super helpful for establishing a written out ideal life vision.
My Ideal Life Meaning
What is an “ideal life” anyways?
I used to think my ideal life meant having things – living in a dream house, driving a vehicle I loved, and being able to buy anything I wanted.
I would set goals for myself of things to accomplish or acquire and work really hard to get there. Then when I did hit my “ideal” goal, within a month or two I’d feel like I needed something different.
Suddenly the line moved. What I had achieved – the thing that had for years been my ultimate goal – was no longer enough.
At first it would feel like I was on cloud nine… and then that would fade and life felt emptier than I had thought it would. How weird….
I’d set a new “ideal life” goal and go again. The same thing would happen though.
After several years of living this way, I came to realize that each of my “ideal life” scenarios were missing something… ideals.
We all have an ideal future, big picture “this is me living my best life”. But what is it based on? Real life or societal “goals” and the highlight reels we see on social media?
For so long, mine were based on societal norms – graduate college, get married, get a good job, buy a house, live in luxury, have the newest phone… you know the list.
And as great as these things were, they had no foundations. Nothing at its core to support and shape my “why”.
Why does having all those things matter? Because the reality is that unless I can make those things mean something, living what many would consider to be an ideal lifestyle would be meaningless.
That’s when I realized that your “ideal life” and your “ideal lifestyle” are two different things.
IDEAL LIFE VS IDEAL LIFESTYLE
Is an ideal life and an ideal lifestyle the same thing or something different? Personally, I believe they are two different things that fit together. Like perfect puzzle pieces
Your ideal life being the big picture of what you want in life, supported by your values and mission in life… Your deeper “why”.
Your ideal lifestyle being the daily habits, economics, and supporting pieces to your big picture desires. It’s the puzzle pieces that make up the big picture.
Your ideal life is measured by your purpose and mission – at its core, it doesn’t matter what country you live in, what car you drive, how many instagram followers you have and whether or not you drink a green smoothie everyday – that’s lifestyle.
Our lifestyles often change over the years. When we move houses, have children, change jobs, start a new relationship or become single again, and so many other little and big things, it changes our lifestyle. However, our big picture ideal life – our life purpose – that doesn’t change.
There are endless possibilities for what kind of lifestyle you live on your way to your ultimate ideal life and your lifestyle is what people will judge your success on. Only you will know whether you lived your ideal life – your values and mission – in the end though.
What does your ideal life look like?
So how do you marry together living out your ideal life and your ideal lifestyle when the dream is comfort and luxury???
You pair your lifestyle desires with your greater purpose in life.
For me personally, I ensure my ideal life is one in which my greater purpose guides my lifestyle and my lifestyle supports my greater purpose. Remember, they fit together like a perfect puzzle.
Each piece alone leaves an emptiness but together they paint a beautiful picture.
Of course, not everyone’s ideal life is paired with an luxurious lifestyle but I think it’s an important thing to note because it is a big topic. Some people may pair their ideal life with a very simple and minimalist lifestyle.
Realizing the two are separate and getting clear about both your ideal life and lifestyle will really help you.
5 STEPS TO FIGURING OUT YOUR IDEAL LIFE AND LIFESTYLE
In case you skimmed this article or skipped straight to the steps, I think it’s important to note from the beginning that I don’t believe this is a one time process.
It’s an ever evolving unfolding of the path that is in front of you. I also don’t believe these steps have to be in order but rather that we each encounter all of them at some point on our journey of life.
1) SELF DISCOVERY
I’m a big proponent for self discovery. It’s the foundation of soooo many things. Especially in the world of personal growth. For instance, how can we know what areas of life we need growth in if we aren’t self aware? How can we be confident in who we are if we don’t know who that is? How can we create a life we love or become our best selves if we aren’t sure what that looks like? You get the picture.
If you want to begin to create your ideal life and/or lifestyle, you’ve got to know who you are and what you want in life.
My favorite ways to dive into self discovery include journal prompts, coaching discussions, and the Enneagram.
2) CREATE A STRONG "WHY"
Society talks a lot about having motivation to do big things in life. We wait for our motivation to strike through creative ideas and passionate moments. Rarely though, do we create a purpose motivated “why”.
Creating a strong “why” has been a big topic recently and there’s lots of ways to go about it but my personal favorite is to use the 7 Levels of Why tool. I first heard about this from Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins.
You simply ask yourself “why do I want to______?” Then whatever your answer is, you ask why again. “Why is (answer 1) important to me?”…. So on and so forth until you are seven levels deep.
Then to discover your core values, I like the method that Gino Wickman talks about in his book Traction (which is actually a business book but the principle still applies).
To come up with your core values, write down the names of three people who exhibit characteristics and traits you admire. For each person, make a list of those characteristics and traits you like.
Once you have the list, narrow it down, combine, cross out the least important ones, etc. Do this until you have three to seven.
Then when you have your why and your values, you can begin to create a mission statement around that. Everything you do in life can be filtered through the lens of your values and mission.
3) WRITE DOWN YOUR IDEAL LIFESTYLE
Once you’ve got some clarity on what your greater purpose is and what your values are, it’s time to acknowledge your ideal lifestyle. Don’t put any limits on yourself here.
Grab your favorite journal and slide into your comfiest spot. Then, begin to write out what your idea lifestyle is 5 years from now.
Write down what your ideal day would look like from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep. What is your ideal living space? Wardrobe? Vacations? Etc.
This will give you a good idea of what your ideal lifestyle is.
4) BE OPEN TO PIVOTS
My ideal lifestyle has changed multiple times. Not because I am undecided or easily persuaded but because I gain deeper clarity or have experiences that bring about awareness.
“We gain clarity not through thinking but through action” is a paraphrase of something I heard Marie Forleo say. The amount of times this has proven true in my life is uncountable.
Sometimes we think we want something in life and then we experience it and discover a deeper sense of awareness. Some things we do once or create for the sake of doing or creating it but don’t need it to be part of our daily life.
I pursue the creation and achievement of some things knowing it won’t be forever but I will regret not doing it – even if nothing life altering comes from it.
Something that really helped me was being open to the fact that some things are forever and some are for seasons. A lot of things I used to think I wanted to be forever, turned out to only be for a season and it was better that way.
When this happens, be open to pivoting or bringing about greater clarity to your ideals.
5) GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
This whole journey is a process. You may not get total clarity on the first try. You may find yourself pivoting everyday in some seasons of deep growth. There may even be moments where you question everything and end up with a completely different vision for your ideal life and lifestyle.
Or, you might find you have total clarity and stick with it forever.
None of it is right or wrong. It’s your journey. Just live it to your best.
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ABOUT ALLISON SUE
I’m a personal growth blogger, a nerd when it comes to books, and a lover of all things journals. When I’m not with you online, you’ll find me with my family, traveling somewhere, or watching Chinese shows on Netflix with my husband. Empowering you with tools to navigate to a life you feel confident about is always on my mind. I’d love to be on your confidence hype squad!
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