Share Tweet Are You Doing Things To Appease Others? How I Made Changes In My Life….For The Better! I’ve not always been a believer of challenging the status quo however in the past 3 years i’ve grown to become my own person; develop my own thoughts and feelings towards things which directly impact my life. 3 years ago I was a young adult who used to listen to his baby boomer parents and take advice on which garden path I should take to fulfil my future aspirations. Truth be told this was completely the wrong strategy for myself and probably 90% of those born in my generation. To highlight this further you only need to look at the fantastic book Share or die which documents the life/stories of those born in my generation, possibly your generation and how their move into corporate western world has been full of uncertainty and ambiguity. I would hazard a guess that their path in life was advised to them by a parent, family member or guidance counsellor. Not all of them ended in a struggle, quite the opposite but all ended up taking a path completely away from the degree they received; the lifestyle they were promised when going through the education system. This is not a dig at the education system nor is it a post dedicated to that it’s more of a challenge for you to take control of your own destiny however dramatic that sounds. The book and developments in my life led me to change the way I operate. Reading and alternative perspective opens your eyes and removes the blinkers which you commonly have; whether these are generated through friends/family or merely routine. Are you doing things in life which are done to merely appease others? Are you sticking with a specific approach just because you are told it’s the right strategy for you? I decided to seek the inner Generation Y within me and make some changes in my life and how I lead it. Make lifestyle changes which match what you want in life whether your parents think it’s the right decision or not. How I have stopped listening to others: Diet: I’ve made huge changes to my diet, what I eat and what I class as healthy or unhealthy. These changes were brought on so I could become more confident in myself, how I looked and how I felt. I used to pick up colds very easily. By eating clean, eating healthy and maintaining daily exercise I have completely changed how I looked and ultimately how I feel. I was never overweight but at the same time was never confident in my appearance and never felt healthy. These changes have completely changed this outlook. By wanting to make the changes in my life, eating the foods I wanted to eat and exercising the way I wanted to exercise I have made a positive impact on my life. Taking part in a 10k walk for Marie Curie Cancer aid. Educate those with less knowledge than you. If your partner wants to eat a specific meal then educate on an alternative, get creative and inspire those around you. If this doesn’t work then cook separate meals. We are different humans and not all programmed to eat the same foods. Understand health and diet and you be more positive in everything you do. Drinking: Drinking was a huge part of the culture at University and continued once I graduated. I would never call myself a big drinker but every weekend I would partake in some type of social event which involved drinking. My partner and I, aligned with our changes in diet began to question this lifestyle and whether this was something we wanted forever? Neither of us were particularly big drinkers so we made the conscious decision to limit our drinking. Sure at birthdays and organised night’s out we would drink but we wanted our weekends to become more than drink and hangovers. Our strategy was to limit these types of nights out to monthly/bi monthly occurrences or choose not to drink on one of them if it happened to be twice in a month. We also never buy alcohol from the supermarket, never drink when we go out for meals and only drink on special occasions. I would say this and diet were the most significant changes we made. Weekends have been spent seeing family, alternative activities with friends, spending time together and generally leading a more fulfilled life. The financial burden of regular drinking should also not be forgotten. Drinking every weekend was costing and that money has been channeled into other areas. For example: Our three week east coast road trip this summer has been afforded through saving money by restricting drinking (amongst other things). Our life is becoming more exciting even though people proclaim those who don’t drink as ‘boring’. Drinking especially in the UK is seen as the norm and you are looked at strangely when you mention you don’t drink. People largely drink to fit in with the crowd and because it’s an easy way to let loose and socialise. But is this what you aspire to or are you sticking with this merely because your friends/family see this as their life goal? Career Decisions: ‘I couldn’t work from home’ If I had a dollar every time somebody said that to me then I would be a rich man. When taking my current job role this is all I heard from my friends. Some even warned me not to take the role. 12 months on and I would say I’ve had the most successful working year of my life. Targets have been hit, this blog has grown and I have had one of the most rewarding years I could have hoped for. Career decisions like life decisions should not be influenced by others in such a negative way. I’m all for someone offering a perspective however the final decision should ultimately come down to you and what YOU want to achieve in your career. My motives were questioned as to whether I should leave my previous role without rounding off my CV with more experience. Advice like this is largely given by a generation of the past and not the present. The job market, economy and the way employee’s operate has completely changed. Take advice but always go with your own feeling. Careers and work aren’t just about money they are about fulfillment and happiness. Don’t do something because others tell you it’s right. Make your own decisions. Financial decisions: As a Gen Y we’ve seen collapses of economies, peoples lives thrown into uncertainty and a society built on credit, credit and more credit. It’s not sustainable. I’ve therefore began to remove direct debits or regular monthly payments in my life which can be paid via an alternative method. Car insurance for example has been saved for and paid in a lump sum. Those months were a little quieter on the social scene that’s for sure. I’ve also began seeking alternatives for other purchases for example i currently have a private lease car which ones it expires in December will be replaced by a 2nd hand vehicle and the money to pay for it will be saved/used elsewhere. Mobile phone contract will not be renewed and alternatives will be chosen. I’m looking to structure a more cash rich lifestyle; using the money to reduce more long term payments (mortgages) and be in a safe/solid position would there be any uncertainties in the future. Lifestyle: Although all of the above contribute to my lifestyle changes nor and in the future there are still others which I am looking to impact further. Even with the positive changes I have made I still feel I work too much. It’s not uncommon for me to turn on the computer at 6am and not turn off until 7-8pm. I also find myself doing 2-3 hours work per weekend. Sure I like it but there becomes a time where it’s a burden and the burn out is starting to occur. Starting September I have plans to reduce the amount of hours I work and begin to work more efficiently. A focus on working smarter instead of longer and only working on things which match my long term goals. Due to the hours I have been working I have noticed a reduction of passion/excitement for things I work on. I would attribute this to burn out. After speaking with Ian Nuttall (Sitegeek.com) he is feeling the same pressure. This led us both to agree to an ‘Internet fast’ sometime after September which would be a week long fast of the internet outside of office hours. This involves everything. Wifi/3G will be turned off on our phones, computers not to be used; a whole change in the way we typically operate on an evening/weekend. We are hoping our internet fast will be a success and can be something we can do periodically when suffering burn out. The time when fasting will be channeled into educating ourselves via reading, writing, spending time with the loved ones and trying things we wouldn’t usually have the hours available for. We are also hoping the time away will be a welcome break which reignites our productivity flame. If you’re interested in getting involved then drop me an email. Further lifestyle changes I am looking to make are continuing to read more on subjects close to my passions, education myself by learning a language (Spanish?), cooking a new meal or trying something new every week. I want to develop a lifestyle I am always enthused about as opposed to settling for the lifestyle I am told I should have. Making the changes: The cynics in this world will say all this is unattainable in some circumstances. I’m not saying follow my lifestyle and use it as a benchmark but at least realise that changes can be made to your current lifestyle if you want them to happen. My time reading recently has given me 6/7 ideas for this blog which I wouldn’t have had without taking that time to educate myself. Sometimes overworking the mind in the wrong areas is detrimental to your overall goals. There’s no right or wrong path. You should venture down the lane which best matches your aspirations. I’m not a lifestyle blogger who tells you to ‘quit your job and travel the WORLD!’, i’m more of a realist in that these type of changes don’t have to be dramatic. Even the small changes to your health, lifestyle, diet and daily routine can make a huge difference in how you ultimately lead your life. Be level headed, resourceful about where you want to be in life on both a professional and personal level. If things at your work are beating you up then look for alternatives. Don’t be hasty but making a conscious decision to find an alternative and set out what you want to achieve. Your overall success in life defines you. Not your career success but how you exceed in everything you do. Sure life is about compromise sometimes and you may have to do things you don’t want to do but then most of our life defining decisions are in our own hands it’s just down to you to grasp the type of lifestyle you want to lead.