3 Tips To Help You Start Building The Life You Want

3 Tips To Help You Start Building The Life You Want

Have you recently been feeling overwhelmed with life? 

Almost as if you’re not quite living the life you planned for yourself. Is this feeling made worse when you compare yourself to how others live their life? Maybe you’re on Instagram and all your friends seem to have new jobs, new cars, new homes and are making all these financial strides and it feels like you’re being left in the dust?

Well, I’m here to tell you this - fear not!

You’re definitely not alone. In fact, many studies have been done to show how social comparison in online spaces and depressive symptoms are interlinked. It’s completely normal to feel like you’re being left in the dust and to some extent, it’s healthy. Feeling like you’ve been left behind gives you the kick-in-the-butt that’s needed to offset a healthy competitive desire to want better for yourself. However, it’s important not to let it consume you and remember that you’re building your life for you - not for anyone else.

At the core, building the life you want is simply a balance between constantly wanting better for yourself, constructing tangible methods/targets to get there, and holding yourself accountable. 

Today, we’ve put together 3 tips to help kickstart your thinking when it comes to building the life you want. 

  1. Clarity! Clarity! Clarity!

Clarity is king. 

You need to know exactly what you’re working towards and why.  

Customizing your goals helps you to better align your focus. It helps you to create targets that are specific to you and your ideal life.

For instance, if you’re a mid-career Lawyer in Kenya or a mid-career Associate at a consulting firm you might probably ask yourself, what steps should I be taking, given my role and my current context to get to where I need to go? What do I need to do in this current role to get a promotion at my law firm or consulting firm? What does my career trajectory look like and how does that affect my saving potential? Will this saving potential assist me to diversify streams of income? What are other lawyers/consultants doing to grow their wealth and elevate their lives?  What is the standard timeline and how can I implement this into a monthly/annual target?

If you’re a mid-career Lawyer/Consultant in Kenya and you're trying to align your financial targets and life goals with a newly-viral American rapper, it’s not going to work. I’m not saying don’t shoot for the stars, I’m saying when you shoot, make sure you’re using the right gun. Asking the right questions helps you establish a clear, tangible, and context-specific path towards building your ideal life.

  1. Don’t be overly ambitious - set small and reachable goals.

People underestimate the value of breaking things down.

There’s a difference between saying,

‘I want to be the CFO of a multinational company by the age of 35’ vs. ‘I am going to do these three things each month that will work towards being the CFO of ‘X’ multinational before my 35th birthday.’

There’s a difference in saying, ‘I’m going to save KES. 120,000 by the end of the year’ vs. ‘I’m going to save KES. 10,000 each month for 12 months, so that I can save KES. 120,000 by the end of 2021’. 

You see in both cases, the former sounds grandiose, lacks both structure and direction, whereas the latter breaks things down into achievable targets. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is power in thinking small and working large. Breaking down your goals into small attainable targets helps carve out a step-by-step path as you work towards your greater targets - it also makes your greater goals sound MUCH more achievable. 

Much like Rome, your dream life isn’t built in a day. It takes time, concerted effort, and many small moments that eventually contribute to an ideal and sustainable life.

  1. It’s okay to say no. In fact- it’s encouraged!

At the end of the day, your life is about you!

(Said every African parent ever).

But seriously speaking, your life really is about you.  

A 2018 US study found that 40% of American millennials overspend to keep up with friends. Have you ever done a tally of how much money you’ve spent as a result of something a friend suggested? Perhaps an impromptu girls trip? A table and bottle service at the club? I’m not asking you to start counting but I’m sure it adds up.

Say you work as a Business Executive in the public health sector. Perhaps, you’ve been trying to save towards a Health Management course to secure a promotion and better pay within the year, as a means towards increasing your saving potential and moving to a better neighborhood. You checked and the Health Management course is KES,200,000 (USD$2000) and it’s been hard to save that kind of money in a year on your current paycheck. 

On the flip side of things, say you also have about 5 close girlfriends and each of them usually wants to do something grand for her birthday. Maybe a weekend getaway trip to Amboseli/Nanyuki at a nice Airbnb with good drinks, good food, and a two-tier birthday cake. Let’s go further and assume that each weekend birthday trip costs about KES. 15,000 (USD $150). If we multiply that cost by 5 trips in the year, it adds up to KES. 75,000 ( USD $750). 

That’s 38% of the Health Management course fee. 

By simply letting your girlfriends know you can’t make the trips but can instead do in-town dinner, you’re able to redirect a lot of your financial leakage towards your career goals. In fact, you might find that by saying no to some impromptu girls trips for a year or two and instead implementing some supplementary saving techniques, you’re not only able to afford your Health Management course but as a result of it you are promoted and now earn enough money to comfortably afford both the girls trips and more. 

A lot of people don’t realize how stifling FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) spending can be. Spending money out of peer pressure can cause unnecessary financial wastage that contributes to avoidable obstacles. 

There you go! Hopefully, these 3 tips are useful as you start working towards building the life you want. Good luck!

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