The second guiding principle of the Puzzle Box Paradigm is to know your lifestyle, which is comprised of your habits, routines, possessions, and attitude. To get a snapshot of your current lifestyle, close your eyes and replay everything that goes on in your life on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Think about all the products, services, and activities that you spend money on…
The Puzzle Box Paradigm:
- Dining out
- Personal development
- Home maintenance
Now, you might be reading this and saying to yourself, “Of course I know my lifestyle, silly!”
And if your wealth is steadily increasing and you’re living a joyful life, that’s awesome. You get it! You’ve nailed down this side of the puzzle box image for your life.
But if you’re making decent money and aren’t achieving those things, you should seriously consider making a change. There’s something about your current lifestyle that isn’t working. The rule is that you should never allow your lifestyle to be a hindrance to growing wealth.
So the purpose of this section is to have you create a statement that will define and reflect your lifestyle philosophy going forward. It should be something that is fairly short and impactful that you can easily carry around in your head. It will keep you grounded, and you’ll find yourself referring to it when making important decisions.
I’ll help you to create your lifestyle statement shortly. As you go through the process, you may find that you need to initially jot down a long list of thoughts. And that’s totally fine. But you’ll then want to circle back and summarize them into something concise.
Below is my lifestyle statement that I’ve followed for over 20 years. Naturally, it’s been tweaked slightly to reflect my growth and maturity, but it’s as natural to me as eating, sleeping, and breathing.
“I will endeavor to live a modest, healthful, positive, and balanced lifestyle. From an income perspective, I will seek to live below my means. Whatever is left over after covering my essential living expenses and meeting my retirement savings goals shall be used for fun and recreation. I will not make any major purchases without first analyzing how it will impact my finances. Each year, I will reassess my lifestyle and make adjustments as necessary. But my overriding objective will be to ensure that I am increasing my wealth in accordance with the aggressive goals I’ve set.”
As you can see, my statement is pretty short. Of course, behind it are many more specific goals and milestones. But having a big picture philosophy for my life that I truly believe in makes coming up with the details beneath it very easy.
Now, other than your lifestyle statement being brief, there is one other requirement. Since this web site is focused on helping you to become more prosperous, you should address the role that wealth and money will play in your life going forward.
The areas that are typically used when assessing one’s lifestyle include the following:
When developing your statement, you don’t have to touch on all of the above categories. Go with the areas that you care and feel most strongly about. To help you with this exercise, I’ve provided a Lifestyle Assessment Questionnaire below. Complete it by being as honest with yourself as possible.
Lifestyle Assessment Questionnaire
The questionnaire below provides a set of questions for six major lifestyle categories. They include physical fitness, stress, intellectual/creative, relationships, spiritual, and financial. Complete the questionnaire to help formulate a lifestyle philosophy statement for the future.
– Do you exercise at least 3 days per week for at least 30 minutes?
– Do you eat 3 healthy means per day?
– Do you consume large amounts of fatty or sugary foods?
– Do you smoke or drink alcohol excessively?
– Do you care about your outer appearance and grooming?
– Do you visit the dentist/doctor for periodic checkups?
– Do you get at least 7 hours of sleep per day?
– Do you get overly stressed from work or relationships?
– Do you have techniques for coping with mental and emotional stress?
– Do you have enough hobbies/ interests to keep you intellectually fulfilled?
– Do you have ways to express your creative or artistic side?
– Do you have talents or entrepreneurial ideas that you wish you could pursue?
– Are you satisfied with your job or career choice?
– Are you satisfied with the relationship you have with your spouse, boy/girl friend, or children?
– Do you have a set of close friends that you trust?
– Do you spend enough quality time with your family?
– Do you get a sufficient amount of love and support from your loved ones?
– Do you have a safe, healthy, and satisfying sex life?
– Do you often experience “inner peace” and live a positive life?
– Do you avoid negative energy people?
– Do you believe that life is meant to be enjoyed and not just endured?
– Are you responsible when it comes to managing money?
– Do you have a problem with debt?
– Are you unable to control impulse buying?
– Do you make enough money to support your current spending behavior?
– Do you plan out your savings to cover major events and purchases in your life?
Naturally, your objective is to have as many positive answers as possible to the lifestyle questions above. But even if some answers aren’t to your liking, view them as opportunities to improve.
The next step is to write down your statement. Spell it out in a way that is meaningful and memorable. Make sure it reflects where you want to be in the future, not just where you are today. Also keep in mind that this puzzle box border shares a corner puzzle piece with the “Know Thy Personality” border. Consider that direct connection and its influence as you write the statement.
Finally, remember that you’re NOT trying to devise specific and measureable goals at this point. That’ll come later. This is a “big picture” statement that will be broad and overarching. For example, your response to the Physical Fitness questions may lead you to include a sentence that says, “I will lead a healthier life.”. Your answers to the Spiritual questions may lead you to say, “I will increase the amount of positive energy in my life and reduce the negative.” That’s about as specific as you need to get. You’ll know what those words mean to you.
Now, I’m not going to be one of those people who advises you to read your completed statement every morning. Of course, you should do that if it helps. Instead, I recommend that you think about your statement and live it every day. At some point, the words and meaning will seep into your personality and subconscious mind.
When that happens, you’ll think about it when you open your checkbook. You’ll think about when you pull out a credit card. You’ll think about it when you go to the mall, car dealership, restaurant, etc. You’ll begin to question if the activities you’re engaging in are in-line with your lifestyle philosophy.
Did you notice that I didn’t ask you to mention what kind of car you should drive? Or, how much you should spend on clothing and other stuff? That’s because if you stick to your lifestyle philosophy, you’ll instinctively know your self-imposed limitations.
It doesn’t mean you can’t buy nice things. I have a passion for fine wines, but I make the necessary tradeoffs to have fun and enjoy life without the need or desire to spend, spend, and over spend. My bigger long-term mission is clear. So seek a reasonable balance and you’ll find your bliss.
– Create your own Lifestyle Statement
– Complete the Lifestyle Assessment Questionnaire
– Read or think about your Lifestyle Statement daily
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