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Beyond Resolutions: Cultivating Sustainable Change through Life Design (Part IV of IV)

Welcome to the last segment of our "Beyond Resolutions" series. In the previous posts, we explored the groundwork of mindful living, setting realistic goals, and creating sustainable habits. To wrap up this series, we're going to look at a combination of principles that can help us develop an overall life framework that encourages continual growth and goal-focused progress.

Intentionality and "life design" aren't just buzzwords; they're transformative practices that can increase our ability to see and connect with purpose in each moment. Picture these tools as a compass alongside you in the maze of daily choices, shaping routine actions into meaningful rituals.

At its core, intentionality is about living in alignment with purpose, making choices that are synced with your values and lead toward a desired outcome. It's the conscious decision to be present in each moment and to steer our lives with clarity. Others have referred to this as the "Why" behind what they do. It's important to be able to pause and ask yourself: "Why am I pursuing this?" If you don't have a clear answer (or if you have an answer that doesn't resonate with your values), it may be harder to make lasting progress in that area.


Incorporating Life Design Principles into Change-Making:

Coined by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans in their book Designing Your Life (see below), these principles encourage us to treat our lives as a creative project. Life design involves approaching personal and professional development with the mindset of a designer, experimenting with different possibilities to create a life that resonates with who we want to become. To start this process, we have to identify our values and aspirations: What truly matters to us? What are our long-term dreams? Clearly defined goals that are values-driven lay the most solid foundation for aspirational living.

Next, we pick back up with our realistic objectives from part 2: Break down your big goals into smaller, manageable steps. Life design encourages prototyping, experimenting with different paths to see what works best for us. Remember to treat the process as an ongoing project, allowing room for adjustments and refinements along the way. Think: "tending to a garden," not: "firing a laser beam." Regular reflection about your efforts in this area can be a vital asset. Take time to review your progress, acknowledging successes and learning from identified challenges. Reflecting on our experiences helps you fine-tune your approach, ensuring that your actions align with your evolving understanding of what is most satisfying.

The Value of a Growth Mindset:

Life design principles emphasize embracing a growth mindset – the perspective that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. This mindset encourages resilience in the face of setbacks, viewing challenges not as obstacles but as opportunities for learning and growth.

Fostering a Supportive Environment:

As we mentioned in part 3 of this series, surrounding yourself with a supportive environment can be a major contributor to your lasting outcomes. Sharing your aspirations and progress with trusted others, in addition to "designing" your physical environment in a way that streamlines your ability to act in alignment with your goals can supercharge your success rate and confidence.

Celebrating Small Wins:

Life design encourages us to celebrate all our wins along the way. Acknowledge and appreciate the progress you make, no matter how minor. Small victories build momentum and help you see in real time that your intentional living yields tangible results. It also helps to rebalance the internal scales that we know tend to be more weighed down by observations of our weaknesses, areas where we feel insecure, or other self-critiques we encounter.


This "Beyond Resolutions" series has been aimed at highlighting just a few of the strategies and principles that tend to be more effective in helping us actually make change in our lives. We know how hard the change-making process can be - no matter what the issue is! We truly are creatures of habit, and that is a powerful piece of knowledge. By taking this knowledge and employing the practices we've reviewed in this series, we can turn our wiring for habit into a highway of transformation. If you or someone you know is struggling to make change in an area where additional support could be helpful, take a look at our team members to see if Redfish could be a place where meaningful change can start to happen in a meaningful way. The best part: we're here and ready to start helping you make change no matter what month it is!

(Burnett, B., & Evans, D. (2016). Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.)

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