Your Chaos Break: How to Make a Lifestyle Change

During your Chaos Break, one of the things you want to consider is the type of Lifestyle you want. For many of us, we enjoy our current lifestyle, but would like to make a few tweaks.

Others of us want to change things completely – we want a new job, a new perspective, and feel as if moving to a different place would be the answer.

snowy landscape of a farmhouse as a place to take a chaos break

Take a Chaos Break before you Pack Your Bags

Don’t grab that suitcase out of storage quite yet. It is human nature to go to extremes when considering taking a chaos break from our lives. Often this desire comes from the stress of our current situation.

Before your Chaos Break leads you to move to an isolated cabin on a mountaintop in the Alps, consider this: you may take a suitcase filled with fresh ideas with you, but your worries and concerns will still stow away and follow. And in some cases, as Joshua Hook points out, you may be missing out by leaving them behind.

Instead, find a way for all that chaos to work for you, instead of against you. Think about what it is that is creating the issues. From there, you may be able to use your Chaos Break to find ways to work around it. If it is an ongoing issue, then you may want to consider a serious lifestyle change.

a blacksmith standing at a forge

How to Plan a Lifestyle Change

Putting Your Dream Lifestyle on Paper

During your Chaos Break, the first thing you need to do is to determine just exactly what it is you want your Lifestyle to look like. If you have read Escape the Chaos – Learn to Dream, you may already be well on your way to figuring that out. (If you haven’t, it helps to read it before you move further.)

With your notebook and pen handy, begin to focus on your dream list. What exactly do you want your Lifestyle to be? Find a starting point.

Just know you may have more than one thing you would like to do (buy a small farm and sell your blacksmithing products). Go ahead and write down all the things you would like to incorporate in your new lifestyle.

Start your Chaos Break by making a list of your natural talents and passions. Under each item, add notations of specifics. For example, if one of your natural talents is being creative, list the ways you love to be creative. For some of us, we consider ourselves creative, but our hands get tangled, and the thread gets knotted if we try crochet or knitting.

However, we can design and build a chicken coop, complete with a run, nest boxes and feeding bins with our eyes closed.

Keep in mind, all the things on your list don’t have to agree with each other. For this exercise, we are simply trying to determine our direction.

notebooks and a pen on a green bench with a coffee mug that says 'hope'

Take Your List to the Next Level

Take a look at your list. How many of those things are similar, and can work together? Which ones would be poles apart? (For instance, becoming the next big Wall Street Investment guru vs living in that remote cabin in the Alps with no internet.)

Using a number system, make notations on which things appeal to you the most, starting with the number 1 as the most appealing.

a basket of Indian blanket flowers in a green field

Is It Unrealistic?

It is my opinion that any Lifestyle choice you make can be realistic. The caveat is your willingness and natural abilities to do the work it will take to meet that goal. For some of us, becoming a physician to help others may be a strong desire, but isn’t a realistic option. We like the helping part but have no real interest or natural aptitude to pass the chemistry and anatomy coursework.

For the list you make during your Chaos Break, it is okay to be unrealistic. The specific (becoming a physician) may not be possible, but the aspect of helping others is. And it is those more general categories that can help us determine how to plan out our Lifestyle.

a desk with a notebook, pen, and blue mug of hot coffee

Your Lifestyle Definition

To help with an example to use during your Chaos Break, we are going to look at shifting to a Simple Life.

Write the direction you want to go at the top of a piece of paper. Next, write down a simple definition of what your preferred lifestyle would entail.

For a Simple Life your definition may be something like this:

“To live a life that focuses less on keeping a job that is required for an expensive lifestyle, and more on time spent with my family, friends and community. To reduce stress through spending more time on things I enjoy doing, rather than commuting, running errands and constant travel to and from after school activities. To pursue my passions more fully, with the hope of incorporating it into an income producing business.”

As you use your Chaos Break to think through and spend time dreaming about your desired lifestyle, be prepared to adjust your definition from time to time. The purpose of the definition is to have something in place to refer to as you move forward and can be adjusted as needed.

an older woman sitting on a bench with a young child

Get Specific

The next step is to list different ideals that would fit into your new Lifestyle. If a Simple Life is your goal, your list may look something like this:

  • Create my own business
  • Become a homemaker and/or a stay-at-home mom
  • Spend more time with family
  • Be more financially responsible / frugal
  • Grow food for my family
  • Find time to pursue my creative passions
  • Volunteer (would love to work on getting a city playground installed)
  • Run for a local office to encourage change within the community

Take another look at your first list. Which of the items can be added to this one? Let’s go back to becoming a physician. Although it may not be realistic to go to medical school, consider ways you can still help others. You could add thinigs such as ‘Volunteer at a local hospital’ or ‘Give John and Suzie (your neighbors with a small child) a break – offer to babysit’.

Just because becoming a physician isn’t realistic for you, it doesn’t mean you can’t still help others!

your lifestyle plan ebook

Use Your Chaos Break to Your Advantage – Taking your Lifestyle Change Seriously

Now that you have used your Chaos Break to giving further thought to changing your Lifestyle, it is time to get serious. Is this something that you think is just a whim? Or are you ready to go forward?

Before you toss that notebook in the trash because you don’t believe a true Lifestyle change is possible, it may be time to dive into the details and see if it can be done.

One of the best ways to help you see those details is through creating an extensive Lifestyle Plan. Doing this may seem excessive in the beginning. However, to live a life that is enjoyable, relatively stress free and financially sound takes focus.

Your Lifestyle Plan eBook cover

Part of your Chaos Break is to determine where you are and where you want to go in life. And this requires planning. If you were starting a new business, the first thing you would have to create is a Business Plan. This information would be used to help your business grow, keep control of your finances, obtain loans, and more. If you are creating a new lifestyle, the same basics apply.

With that in mind, I have an eBook that may work well for you. Your Lifestyle Plan has taken a traditional Business Plan and adapted it to the ‘business’ of your Life. Just like designing a Business Plan, a Lifestyle Plan takes time, thought, and dedication to complete.

But by having one, you will be able to create the life you were meant to have, stay on track, and see at a glance where you need to go next, or how to get back on track if you lose your way.

Designing your own Lifestyle plan offers several benefits that more than outweigh the investment of time: Your Lifestyle Plan eBook was created to help you design a plan for your own life. No one else needs to see it unless you choose.

It is a way to help you examine what you need or want from life and find a clear path on how to achieve it. There are several elements to a Lifestyle Plan. These include:

  1. Vision Statement
  2. Mission Statement
  3. Overview
  4. Growth Strategy
  5. Proficiency
  6. Communication
  7. Financials

a woman and man standing in a pasture with their cows

As all the information is completed, your Lifestyle Plan should tell a story of the motivation and vision behind the desire to implement your new lifestyle. It can also help you determine if making a Lifestyle change is right for you.

Over 15 years ago, I took my own advice and shifted my lifestyle from living in a city to a 60-acre farm – complete with cows, chickens, and so much more. It was the best decision I could make. And you can do it, too!

Are you ready to look deeper into making a Lifestyle change? It may be time to take your chaos Break time and do some planning to become the person you were meant to be!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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