Have you ever woken up one morning and thought, “Whose life is this?!” or ‘How did I get here?!” You’re not alone. I have a neighbor who had a great plan for her life. She was going to marry her high school sweetheart, have the career of her dreams and have about three kids. Except… She didn’t actually want to get married or have kids. I mean, that’s what was expected of her. By everyone else.  

Well, she had a career. Kinda. It wasn’t really based on her dreams, but she had gone to school for it, so she had to do it. Right?  

She also dragged her high school sweetheart along with her. That wasn’t really his plan either. And the kids? Well, she had one and realized, “I don’t actually want more kids.” But everyone was THRILLED for her – she was living the dream! Someone else’s dream, that is.  

That’s when she had that moment where she woke up and realized, this wasn’t the life she wanted. She had ‘the life’, well, at least on paper. The problem is, it was someone else’s life she was living.   

So, what happened? Where did her ‘plan’ derail? How did she get here? My guess – she never really had a plan in the first place. I know that sounds crazy, I mean, she has an enviable life. But this wasn’t her plan – it was someone else’s plan for her. She never really thought about what she wanted, how she would achieve it or how she would live it. 

After some deep soul searching, my neighbor created a new dream – a new path for her life. She went back to school (at night, of course, because, after all, she was still working her not-so-dream job) and got the degree she actually wanted and now, has the career she wanted, being the kind of mom she wants to be. 

But why did it take her getting to the breaking point to figure out what she wanted? Again, because she didn’t have HER plan. Here’s the thing: Your plan has to be YOUR plan. Your plan has to reflect your passions, desires and ambitions.  

Don’t live someone else’s plan for you. Live your own life!  

First, really think about what you want. REALLY think about it. How do you envision your life? Then commit to the steps to get there. Want a new career? Want a raise? Want your kids to eat their veggies? There’s no plan too big or too small, but don’t just sit there!   

Second, practice saying “no” to someone else’s dream for your life. Sure, perhaps parents and friends want to help shape your path (and it comes from a place of love) but it’s ok to say no.  

Third, take a step in the right direction. Whether it is signing up for a class, or moving to a new town, or just telling people that you have made a decision…Take a step!  

Remember: If you build your life around the plan that your family or your partner or someone else has dictated to you, you will never be truly happy—at least in your own head and heart.