How do you know when its time for a lifestyle redesign?
t’s common to overlook the importance of doing a lifestyle redesign. Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and grind of making a living. We are bombarded by things we have to do such taking care of our kids, paying the car loan and handling the mortgage. Often we find ourselves rushing from home to the office and back again. We become trapped in a perpetual cycle of the hustle and struggle to keep up with the race. Our drive to make ends meet distract us from really enjoying our lives. Many times we are unaware that we need a lifestyle redesign and most times we are not sure what that is.
This post shares my story of being caught in a meaningless rat race. It provides a quick look at my lifestyle redesign to create more joy and meaning in my life. You will receive a checklist of 20 tips to figure out when a lifestyle redesign is right for you.
My Rat Race
Four years ago, I enjoyed the “cushion of corporate life”. This included the pension plan, health benefits and paid vacations. It also included all the accompanying demands of my time that comes with corporate responsibilities.
Every morning I would wake up having slept for 3 to 4 hours. I’d work out in my room, get dressed, slip on my highest pumps, , and race my car over to my office. Once there, I’d hurry to meetings, stress over sales figures, stay till the office was a ghost town, then rush to the gym, yoga or whatever else I did after work. When I got home at night I would finally work on something else that was more aligned to what I loved. I would stay up till 2 o’ clock the next morning and then repeat the cycle the next day.
I was a ticking time bomb in heels ready to implode at any moment. Back then, I was grit and bones but mostly bones. On the surface however, I was “enjoying” corporate life and the perks that came with it. The truth is, I was exhausted, beaten and running on fumes.
Moving to China was a goal of mine for a while. I delayed the move for 3 years. I didn’t talk about it much but I worked my ass off to build up the cash I needed to leave my rock. I hustled big time. I set a goal and mapped out exactly what I needed to do to get there.
Many of us hustle when it’s necessary even if we call it by another name. I have always been a hustler and I don’t see any shame in this. If we desire something, we can always find a way to earn it. I met some amazing people while doing side jobs such as slinging gambling machines around town, moonlighting as a bartender or selling books in my free time. I did these side jobs all while keeping a steady corporate job. For me, hustling was and still is a necessary evil. It will get us where we need to go but it will not keep us there. Hustling like this is a means to an end but it is not sustainable.
Something will eventually give. I have had 2 major stress-induced blackouts, both times at the office while working for different companies. In both instances, I either believed someone poisoned me or became so incoherent that I lost control of my speech. Something always gives.
Surviving the Rat Race
Many of us find ways to make it through this rat race. These are things we do to keep ourselves from blowing the lid or, in my case, from blacking out. These things keep our heads above water so we can keep all the balls in the air at the same time. For some, its working out, afterwork sessions at the bar that run too long, clubbing or anything that helps us blow off steam. We find creative coping mechanisms to survive lest we explode like a pressure cooker.
For me, I was addicted to raving out! To balance my fatigue, frustration and constant high stressed state I would go on weekend benders. This was necessary to release dopamine to neutralise my frenzied mental state. Perhaps this may have severed a few thousand neurones in my brain. Raving out, as counter productive as it sounds, was my antidote to my own self imposed rat-race.
However, to lead in my own life I had to make a drastic change. It meant cutting a lot of things out my life that held me back. Most of these were false beliefs about WHO I should be, WHAT I should be doing and WHAT was expected of me. Moving to Shanghai was me hitting the RESET button. I decided it was time to rebuild, recreate and redesign my life in order to create more joy and meaning.
Lifestyle Redesign Saved Me
Had I not mentally prepared, Shanghai would have gutted me from the inside out. I have seen it suck people in and ruin them – IF they let it.
Shanghai can be a ruthless place if you’re not careful. There is every kind of vice, club, red parlour, gimmick, con-man and then some all here just waiting for you. This is a city that runs on image – in Chinese this is called Mian Zi 面子 (It means one must keep his image or reputation in tact, he must not “lose face”). Getting sucked into its vicious cycle of 12 hour work days, consumerism and pace pace pace to maintain a certain lifestyle is a daily challenge. If you’re not careful, it is easy to get lost in what you do and lose the meaning.
Symptoms Of When It’s Time for a Lifestyle Redesign
To thrive here, I literally redesigned my life from the ground up. Sure, things can and might FAIL, but I don’t think about that. I still have bills to pay, have the occasional shit fit when things blow up in my face, lose steam every now and again and fight off the random pang of home sickness. I try to keep my train wrecks to a minimum. I focus on counting my blessings and making my life a worthwhile experience. I avoid getting sucked into another vicious rat race in order to keep a sense of meaning in what I do.
So how do you know when its time to quit the rat race or redesign your life? When is the right time to rebuild your life for a better you? When is the right time to declutter, reorganise and BE who you want to be, DO the things you want to do and STICK WITH IT?
I wrote a list of all the symptoms that I felt, lived and breathed in the last few years before moving to China (2013-2015). These are helpful signs to help you figure out if it’s the right time for you to redesign your life. If you have checked more than 8 points on my checklist, it is time to put the gears in motion and set about redesigning your life.
Today, I still check perhaps 3 of these, they are:
- I haven’t yet lived up to my fullest potential
- I know I can do much more to contribute something to the world
- Money alone does not make me happy
How many will you check?
Leave me a comment and let me know!
Thank You For Reading
As always if you’ve taken the time to read this, thank you for reading. If you’ve experienced any kind of lifestyle overhaul/redesign or decluttering of your life to improve your situation due to mental, physical, emotional or substance abuse or any other type of self inflicted abuse we can get ourselves into then private message me or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I too have experienced them all one way or the other and there’s no shame in that. Your story can help others.
Remember…you got this! Slay that negative BS when you see it coming…even if it comes from within.
Get our Free Lifestyle Redesign Checklist
This free Lifestyle Redesign Checklist will help you put your life into perspective and get you thinking about creating more joy and meaning in your life. It is broken up into four key areas of your life: satisfaction, vision, passion and initiative. Figure out which area of your life needs a turn around immediately!