Turn envy into action: Stop living vicariously through others and start building your own happier and healthier lifestyle

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Are you the type of person who lives vicariously through others? Perhaps it’s through a friend’s Facebook page, or a colleague who talks about spending all that quality time with her kids. We’ve all coveted the lifestyles of others at one point or another, whether it’s those of celebrities on TV, or closer to home, those of our friends, family or colleagues.

As we touched on in our last few posts, “lifestyle branding”, in the context of personal branding, is a big part of our “outer brands” (how we outwardly convey our personal brands to the world). It’s what our lifestyle says about us, including our social activities, interests, travels, past-times, and home and work environments.  And we can sometimes feel that our lifestyle can fall short in comparison to others.

Instead of living through others or trying to replicate their lifestyle, why not make this the year where you start creating some semblance of the lifestyle you desire?  As Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else.”  A happy and healthy lifestyle is one that is authentic, realistic and maintainable.

Ask yourself, just what is it that draws you into their lives? And how can you incorporate even a bit of this into your own lifestyle, both authentically and realistically? For example,

  • If it’s a longing for travel to interesting places, how can you achieve this? You don’t have to have the same budget as your globe-trotting Facebook friend who just jetted off to Fiji. Look to places of interest locally. Are there interesting new exhibits in town, or unique historical sites that you’ve been meaning to visit? What about a day trip to the seaside or countryside, or a sneaky weekend get-away on a last minute package? Research and PLAN THEM. Otherwise another year will fly by with more of the same.
  • If you’d like to inject a bit more culture into your life, it might be time to commit to a little research. Search your local Time Out magazine or culture section of the newspaper to see what’s out there. You don’t have to break the bank here either; a little extra research and you may discover ticket deals and free events on offer. Do you have any friends or a significant other with mutual interests you can organize a night out with? Take the initiative and coordinate with them until you get a few things in the diary. If you have the budget, consider investing in a cultural concierge.
  • Is it quality time with others that’s lacking? Then focusing your effort on improving time management may be a priority for the New Year. If your job doesn’t afford you very much work-life balance, is it time to make some changes this year, either in your existing job or perhaps by revisiting the type of career you are in? Other actions to consider could include anything from chatting with friends about how they manage their work-life balance to having an initial conversation with a career coach. Many therapists are also skilled at helping clients resolve work-life balance issues. The most important thing here is to take action in one way or another!
  • What makes others so interesting and compelling to you? Is it a sport or activity they support or participate in? Or their participation in a fundraising event, or a charity run? Then it’s time to start being more interesting yourself! Do an inventory: what things interest you in life? What gets you angry or passionate? These may reveal causes to invest in. What about hobbies or sport you can try out this year? Perhaps this calls for visiting that Dojo that’s always piqued your interest on the way home, or joining that yoga class you’ve been meaning to try.
  • Is it those who seem to be surrounded by opportunities, positivity and lucky breaks that get your goat? Then perhaps it’s time to practice a bit more altruism in your life. Like Karma, putting out positive energy may bring more positivity and opportunity into your life. Try doing something selfless and help others in ways in which you expect nothing in return. This of course relates to volunteering, mentoring and charity work in the point above, but selflessness can also be practiced in small ways on a daily basis. When is the last time you wrote a positive online review for that small business you visit all time? Or complimented a hard working employee to their manager?

Ultimately, it’s best to refrain from comparing your life to others too much. After all, every human’s life is unique and we can’t legitimately compare ourselves to each other with a fair metric by any means. But if you can use inspiration to build a happier and healthier lifestyle without getting too hooked on the comparisons, then go for it!



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