AnnaMarie Houlis
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Journalist & travel blogger

Tired of your current life, feeling stuck or wishing for more? It may be time to sit down and ruminate on what you want for yourself so that you can make an honest effort to design the lifestyle of your choice. It's called lifestyle design — and here's everything you need to know about it.

1. What is lifestyle design?

Lifestyle design refers to designing a lifestyle that suits your wants and needs. It often means stepping outside of your comfort zone so that you can push yourself to do more or have a different kind of life that's, perhaps, not necessarily aligned with the status quo. Most people explore lifestyle design in order to find more meaning and purpose in their lives, though others choose to explore lifestyle design in order to make more money or have more flexibility in their lives.

So, what is an ideal lifestyle? That depends wholly on what you want for yourself. For some people, an ideal lifestyle might refer to having a steady nine-to-five job from which they can head home to spend time with their families. For others, it might mean being an early bird, getting outside before heading into the office in the mornings, and being able to make the most of their weekends because they earn enough money that they can get away often. For others, an ideal lifestyle might mean having a remote job that allows them to live and travel anywhere, whenever they want, or to be home with their families while still earning an income.

An ideal lifestyle is subjective. But it's important that you know what your ideal lifestyle looks like, as that's the first step to creating that life for yourself.

2. What is the history of lifestyle design?

Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Work Week, first coined the phrase, "lifestyle design" on his blog. Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and one of Fortune’s "40 under 40." Plus, the Observer and other media have called him “the Oprah of audio,” due to the influence of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, which is the first business/interview podcast to exceed 100 million downloads; it has since exceeded 400 million downloads. 

And for good reason. According to his blog's bio, "[Ferriss] is an early-stage technology investor/advisor (Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba and 50+ others) and the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers."

He's basically come up with this whole idea of lifestyle design. He puts it best this way:

"Somewhere between college graduation and your second job, a chorus enters your internal dialogue: be realistic and stop pretending. Life isn’t like the movies.

If you’re five years old and say you want to be an astronaut, your parents tell you that you can be anything you want to be. It’s harmless, like telling a child that Santa Claus exists. If you pass 25 and announce you want to float in space or sail around the world, the response is different: be realistic, become a lawyer or an accountant or a doctor, have babies, and raise them to repeat the cycle. Put all of your disposable income in a 401(k) and do your best to enjoy your “too-weak” vacation.

Lifestyle Design offers more interesting options and reverses this repression."

3. What is a lifestyle designer?

A lifestyle designer is, in short, someone who takes the time to shake up their lives. They don't fall victim to the status quo but, rather, they design their own life — a life that is suitable and fulfilling for them.

4. How can I design my ideal life?

How do you plan your dream life? Designing your ideal life takes time and effort, but here are three tips for designing the life that you want to live.

1. Think about what fulfills you, and consider how to monetize what fulfills you.

If you're working a nine-to-five job that you hate, quitting can be easier said than done. But, like Ferriss, you can find other options that'll actually earn you more and fulfill you more. All you have to do is put in the effort and plan how to monetize your passions. After all, they say that if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.

2. Surround yourself with support.

Be sure to surround yourself with a supportive network of people who also believe in you and your lofty goals. Surrounding yourself with people who cannot fathom your dreams will only bring you down, but surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are on a similar path as you or who want the same things for you can help you to believe in yourself. And, when you believe in yourself, you have a better shot of achieving the life that you want.

If you don't know these people in life, pick up books like Ferriss' 4-Hour Work Week, which are proof that you're not alone. 

3. Stay motivated with small goals.

Keep yourself motivated. The fact of the matter is that you're not going to pick up and design a new lifestyle overnight. Quitting your job, starting a family, moving to a new city or country, starting a business or whatever it is that you want to do will inevitably take some time. It's important that you set small goals for yourself to keep yourself motivated and excited along your journey to achieving the ultimate lifestyle for you.

5. What are some resources for lifestyle design?

If you're interested in exploring lifestyle design and creating a better life for yourself, here are some resources to get you going:

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.