My top 3 steps to gaining freedom in your life
Do you sometimes feel like a caged bird, dreaming of being free to fly wherever you want to? Do you feel constrained or limited in some aspects of your life and want more freedom? I did.
Not that I consciously knew it at the time. But subconsciously I was moving myself away from limitations towards freedom.
In this article I explore what freedom means to me, how I have gained my personal freedom and I give you three steps to help you achieve freedom in your life.
If you had asked me three, five or even 10 years ago what was the value that was most important to me I would never have said freedom. However, after working out what my true values are and how they show up in my life, I have finally decided that freedom is indeed my highest value. When I look back at my life over the last 15 years, everything I have done has been to gain freedom in all areas of my life.
This was a subconscious decision as I had never thought about it, but now that I have more self-awareness I can see that I was always pushing myself towards gaining freedom without knowing it.
What does freedom mean?
When you Google 'what does freedom mean?' you get 1,330,000,000 results, so it’s not surprising that freedom means many things to different people.
The dictionary definition is the condition or right of being able or allowed to do, say, think, whatever you want to, without being controlled or limited.
For me, the key words here are “without being controlled or limited.” Being in full control of all aspects of my life is extremely important to me, but over the years I have also realised that being constrained or limited in what I can do, say or think is a complete no no for me.
Looking back, I can remember situations at work when I was stopped from doing something I knew was right, or I was told I had to keep silent about certain things and I did not feel good about it. It rubbed the wrong way for me and ultimately led me to leaving contracted employment and becoming self-employed. I am no longer constrained or limited in what I can do – I am in complete control and can decide on where I work, what I do and who I work with. This was a complete game changer for me and means I am so much happier and at peace with myself.
But please do not confuse what I am saying. I do not mean that to gain your freedom you need to shun everything you are currently doing or have in your life. It does not mean turning everything upside down for you to have what you want at the expense of all others. It is about being aware of what you want, making choices that fit with your values and taking appropriate action.
How do you gain freedom in life?
After much pondering, I concluded that this is what freedom means to me.
Having the space, time, and energy to live the life I want.
I wrote a list of where I have freedom in my life, and I am pleased to say I genuinely feel I have achieved freedom to live the life I want. Here is my list - it took all of three minutes, so I know it is genuine.
- Freedom at work - I work for myself and choose what I do, when and who for.
- Freedom financially – I am now debt free.
- Freedom to take time off when I want to – I decided having regular time off and away was very important to me.
- Freedom to love a new partner (after 14 years on my own I am now in a loving relationship).
- Freedom at home as my children have flown the nest.
- Freedom in my body as I am now strong, lean fit, healthy and pain free thank you Joe Wicks, The Body Coach.
- Freedom to wear what I love and what makes me feel good having lost 11kg, 40 cm and dropped two dress sizes. Read my article How to be body confident and pain free at 50 to find out how I did it.
So, how did I achieve this freedom?
I think there are three steps to achieving personal freedom.
1. Create awareness
What is it that you want to do/have or be? I do things now because I want to not because I should.
2. Give up what’s confining you
I gave up alcohol and eating too much. I gave up the stability of being employed with a monthly salary.
3. Plan for freedom
You must take action to gain your freedom. I set myself goals every year in the areas of my life I wanted freedom. I acted against all of them and reviewed them regularly to see how I was doing.
For example, I wanted to be debt free by the time I was 50. I put any extra money I had each month towards over paying my mortgage and when my youngest had left home I downsized and was mortgage free by the time I was 47. This was a huge achievement and gave me financial freedom but also allowed me to be more selective in the work I took on as the financial pressure had been lifted.
Gaining freedom in your life is not always easy but it is definitely worth it and hugely satisfying.
As American businessman, Jim Rohn, famously said “You are not a tree…. If you don’t like where you are then move”.
I hope this article is helpful and if it resonates with you, I would love to hear from you.