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There’s still time to create the life you want.

If a global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that as long as we’re still here, there’s still time. Time to reach for our hopes, our dreams and the life we actually want.

The steps are simple, but they’re not easy. Here’s how:

The Simple Steps to Create The Life You Want

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Get Your Financial House in Order

The first thing you need to do to start building the life you truly want, is understanding where you are financially. Money isn’t all there is to life, but it’s certainly an important aspect in measuring the quality of our lives. 

Some people are so overwhelmed by their financial situation that they simply ignore it. But simply ignoring something won’t make it go away. By taking an account of where you currently are, you can see how far you there’s left to go to get where you need to be. 

Is your current bank meeting your needs? These days there are banking apps that help you do everything from getting your direct deposits two days earlier to saving and building your credit.

How much debt do you have? What is your income and what are you spending? What have you saved for retirement? What’s your credit score? Have you saved an emergency fund? If so, how long will it last?

I think having money set aside for emergencies, or a sudden life change (like quitting your job) is one of the most important steps you can take towards financial freedom. I call it a “freedom fund” because having money aside can literally set you free.

Start building your cash reserves quickly by saving your money in a high interest savings account like this one at CIT Bank or BBVA. Both have interest rates above and beyond regular banks.

Finally, what is your net worth?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start putting together a plan to improve them.

There’s no way to get anywhere in the future if we don’t take stock of where we are right now. 

Then, Get Your Actual House In Order

In the controversial book,12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, author Jordan Peterson tells readers to “set your house in perfect order before you criticize someone else”. This advise may sound harsh, but there’s truth to it.

If you want to create the life you want, you have to start by being a good steward of the things you’ve been given to manage. 

Organizing your space can help decrease stress and increase energy. If you feel out of control, start clearing out your space. Then you can think clearly, and start planning your next move.

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Figure Out What You DON’T Want

There’s too much crap about finding a passion on the internet. Honestly, it’s overwhelming. Having a passion is great, but some of us simply do not have one. 

And that’s OK.

Life (and the logic of deduction) have taught me that it’s just as important to know what you don’t want when it comes to figuring out what you do want. If you’re having trouble pin pointing what will make you happy, start by taking the opposite route. What pisses you off? What will you not stand for? What won’t you do? 

Define Your Values

What do you care about, deeply? What do you stand for? These are questions I didn’t think were important to answer. But not knowing these can mean we’re blown by the wind at any given point.

I recently completed this simple card sorting exercise to try and pinpoint my values. It’s literally a checklist that helps you whittle down what really matters to you. After doing this exercise myself, my values include: Faith, Independence, Wealth, and Professional Accomplishment. Generosity wasn’t on the list, but I’m adding it in for good measure.

What are your values? Have you identified them? Better yet, have you taken the time to consider what’s truly important to you?

If you have yet to do so, do it now. There’s still time. 

Take One Tiny Step Towards Your Values. Everyday. 

Once you’ve identified a handful of values, start living them out. Everyday. When you make decisions, think about your values. If you value relationships, set a goal to reach out to (or encourage) one new person each day. 

That’s it. That’s how you start creating the life you want. Have you recently reinvented yourself? Tell me if you used one of these steps or went your own way. No matter how you got there, I’m just glad you did.

Photography by Paolo Garcia