When’s the last time you really sat down and asked yourself if you’re living the life you want to live? I know that’s a strange question but it’s an important one. Many folks today are living a life that’s not meant for them. They’re out there achieving goals that they never really wanted to achieve in the first place. They’re grumpy and unhappy but don’t know why.
I know why.
You’re living someone else’s dream life – not your own. Now before you go thinking that I’m spinning some more of that “love yourself” and “live your truth” junk – I’m not. I don’t believe in false positivity and I certainly don’t believe in walking around believing that your opinion is the only truth out there.
What I’m talking about is getting to know who you are and then living a life that’s aligned with your own true goals. Not the goals you think you’re supposed to achieve because you’re X age or because someone somewhere told you to.
Chasing the wrong thing only leads to a dead end.
A few years ago, I was chasing the blogger dream. You know the one where every blogger is supposed to be making six figures a year and retiring her husband? If not, consider yourself lucky. I feel head over into this trap. I chased that six-figure income like it was my job…oh wait, I did make it my job.
Only, I struggled to make that six-figures and worse? I about destroyed my family and everything we hold dear in the process. Now, at the end of my life, which do you think was really going to matter more – being a bazillionaire blogger/online empress or being a loving wife and mother?
Yeah. I definitely want to be remembered for being loving, not how much money I made.
But you see, I had read all the blogs. I had taken the courses. I had gone to the conferences. I listened to the podcasts and read the books. I was hustling. I was making money. I was doing it!
However, my family was deteriorating because of it. And that, my friend, is what happens when you start living a life and chasing a dream that isn’t really yours…
Why this matters..
I’m not trying to tell you that you can’t go after big things or that you can’t have money goals. I’m just trying to help you put these things into the bigger context. At the end of your life, what do you really hope to have achieved? Write your own eulogy. I know that’s morbid, but I did this. And let me tell you. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more final than death. You don’t get a second chance. So think long and hard about the life you’re leaving behind. What do you want it to stand for? Think about the people in your life. What will they remember about you? Sure they’ll probably remember a few embarrassing stories or nuanced things about you but what about the overall picture?
You have to get clear on this one thing.
The Infamous “5 Year Exercise”
In my book, Getting Good with Money I walk folks through the infamous “5-year Exercise” where we envision your life – 5 years from now. And no, I’m talking about making a Five Year Plan or setting Five Year Goals. We’re talking about getting deep – where do you want to be five years from now?
Here’s how to do this exercise:
The 5-Year Check-In:
- Write down today’s date, 5 years in the future.
- Write down how old you’ll be on this date five years from now.
- Write down your spouse’s and your children’s ages as well.
- Take a moment to think about a typical day five years from now. What does your day look like? For example, if you have a newborn baby, you’re changing five million diapers and not getting any sleep. But five years from now? That babe is either a preschooler or kindergartner. They’re wiping their own bottom and hopefully sleeping through the night. So your day-to-day life is going to look different five years from now. Write it out.
- What do you hope to achieve by this age and season in life?
Seems simple right? But here’s the catch. You need to sit with this. Dig deep. Take a week to do this exercise if you have to. You need to consider what will matter to you five years from now. And what is something you can do TODAY to help make the five-year-in-the-future-you closer to achieving your dream day?
So friend – take stock in your own life right now. The goals you’re currently chasing? Are they really goals you want to achieve? Is there something different that you’d rather be working on? If so, you need to reevaluate your priorities and set the record straight. Go through the five-year exercise and determine what goals you need to set.
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