You keep walking the lifestyle treadmill and never really getting anywhere.
For many, this has been quite a winter of discontent. We’ve had many conversations since we got back to Kauai with pale mainland escapees about wanting to permanently ditch the lifestyle treadmill they’re on. You guessed it, they want to pack up and move to a tropical island like we did. Do it, we say!
But then, it’s amazing. They start talking themselves right out of what might have turned out to be the best thing they ever did. They retreat toward the familiar, compartmentalizing dissatisfaction with rationalization. They begin to think their particular circumstances are too unique or unwieldy to allow for such an unconventional decision. They’re used to being on the lifestyle treadmill, and they just can’t push the “off” switch.
The following six items are big clues that someone is tethered to the lifestyle treadmill. And, as you’ll see, they’re quite simply dispensed with if you’re actually willing to do the work.
1. If your next paycheck disappeared, you’d be in a world of hurt.
This is the big one. People on the lifestyle treadmill are generally living at most, two paychecks out. Interrupt the cash flow and disaster ensues. Working on a Plan B to supplement, diversify and even replace income can leave you less vulnerable than someone whose income that comes from a single source.
2. You’re hyper-aware of what everyone in your office and personal group wears, and you feel pressured to spend more than you thin you can afford on clothing.
You’re spending to much time in a comparative mindset. To be fair, some workplaces are real snakepits of lifestyle oneupmanship. These narcissistic displays are seductive, and it’s easy to get sucked in. Awareness is only the first step. The next is identifying corrective measures, which could range from setting an exit deadline to location restructuring. If you’re working from home, no one sees your Rolex.
3. Ditto #2 above, substitute “drives” for “wears” and “a car” for “clothing.”
See response to #2 above, substitute “Mercedes” for “Rolex.”
4. You feel constrained by where you live.
This issue has a range on the complicating scale, too. Restricted by organizational boundaries such as covenants or homeowners association guidelines? Trapped by a hostile climate? Craving a less ostentatious daily life? Looking for more meaning? Define the specifics about where you live that you feel are constraining. Steps you can take should easily follow.
5. Even though you say you’d love to make a lifestyle change, you cite one or more of the following as an impediment:
- the kids and their life – school, sports, activities, friends
- your local commitments – community, volunteering, religious organizations
- not enough money
- care-taking – house, yard, possessions
These are not reasons until they’re part of a plan to deal with them. Until then, they’re excuses. Yes, everyone’s circumstances are different, and some are more complicated. But action is defined by circumstances, and strategies arise from specific contingencies.
6. You think and speak in terms of “someday” but it doesn’t come.
Yeah, we know. Someday isn’t a real day like yesterday, today or tomorrow. What are you working on today, right now, that will get you closer to your dream?