This article was co-authored by Giselle Baumet. Giselle Baumet is a Mindset & Wellness Coach and the Owner of Granola Babies based in Orange County, California. With more than 16 years of experience, she specializes in helping others, particularly parents, navigate through life’s challenges. Giselle earned a BS from Rhode Island College and a Lactation Educator Certification from The University of San Diego. She also holds a Women’s Life Coach Certification from The Academy of Creative Coaching, a Transpersonal Hypnotherapist and Somatic Healer Certification from The Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Institute, a Hypnosis and Childbirth Certification from The American Hypnosis Association, and a Positive Parenting Educator Certification from Positive Discipline.
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If you spend most of your free time watching Netflix, scrolling through social media feeds, or getting lost in video game worlds, you might be missing out on living for yourself. Living vicariously can leave you filled with regrets years down the road, but you can learn to change your habits and take charge of your own life. By disconnecting yourself from distracting media, figuring out what you really want, and taking steps to turn your goals into reality, you can create a life you wouldn’t trade with anyone else.
Part 1Part 1 of 3:Tuning Out Distractions Download Article
- 1Identify your triggers for living vicariously. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are common triggers for vicarious living. So are celebrity news, movies, video games, and books. Think about the kind of content you consume and whether it’s adding to your life – or simply replacing your life.
- If you spend a lot of time thinking about a particular friend, character, or celebrity, chances are good that you’re trying to live through them. For example, if you basically live to meet up with this one friend who shares stories about his adventures overseas, you could be living life vicariously through him.XResearch source
- Try to find other ways you are living life through someone else. Do you persistently scan your social media pages looking for certain people's updates? Are you distracted from work because you're chatting with your best friend about her crazy nights out, when you always stay in? Pay attention to what you spend the most time doing. Many of these activities will be your triggers.
- 2Cut back on your technology and social media consumption. If you spend a lot of time on your computer or phone, commit to reducing your screen time or you may even consider deleting social media apps on your smartphone and/or tablet. Another option is to delete your social media profiles entirely. If you don’t want to delete your accounts, then give yourself just a few minutes per day to check your accounts and browse the internet.
- Most parents know to limit screen time for their kids. XResearch source But, the truth is, adults receive a great deal of unhealthy influence from social media, too. Do a digital detox and significantly reduce or completely remove your access to media for several days to help you stop living vicariously.
- Also, avoid checking social media first thing in the morning. This may end up setting a negative tone for your whole day.
- 3Avoid entertainment that distracts you from your own life. TV and movies are fun, but when you spend more time thinking about made-up characters’ lives than your own, there’s a problem. If you’ve been neglecting your own life to immerse yourself in fictional stories, cut down on your entertainment consumption, or go cold turkey.XResearch source
- 4Avoid comparing yourself with others. Everyone’s path in life is unique, so there’s no point in comparing your own life to the lives of celebrities or even your friends. Too much comparison can make you feel inferior, increasing your desire to live vicariously through others. Instead, focus on your own potential to transform your life.XResearch source
- Keep in mind that people’s social media profiles are carefully controlled by them to portray themselves the way they want people to see them. This means that they probably don’t provide a realistic portrayal of their lives.
- Remember—the ability to live for yourself comes from having self-love, acceptance of self, and a healthy level of self esteem. It doesn't come from comparing yourself to others.XExpert SourceGiselle Baumet
Mindset & Wellness CoachExpert Interview. 13 December 2021.
Part 2Part 2 of 3:Defining the Life You Want Download Article
- 1Look at what you spend the most time doing. If you can spot common themes, this can tell you how you really want to be spending your days. Figuring out how you actually want to start living your life can be jump started by looking at your vices. The things you do in your leisure time are typically the kinds of things you love, and possibly the kinds of things you can start doing.
- If you spend a lot of time watching a specific show or following someone on social media, then see if you can identify and rank the priorities of these other people or characters to see what you like about their lives. Family? Career? Travel? Fitness? Self-care?
- What kind of media or entertainment are you most likely to get lost in? Do you love action movies, or can you spend hours looking at travel pictures? The things you admire can give you clues for what direction to go in your own life.XResearch source
- 2Get inspired. Think back to the people and things you lived vicariously through. How can you shape your own life to resemble these people’s or characters’ lives? Use your admiration as fuel when you set your goals. For instance, if you love reading blogs by entrepreneurs, you could channel that interest into becoming an entrepreneur yourself.XResearch source
- Now, instead of wasting your time simply observing these people's lives, why don't you start using them to fuel your own dreams. Locate images of inspiring people, places, and phrases. Create a vision board with all these images attached. View it daily as motivation to accomplish your dreams. Remember that your life does not have to exactly replicate that of other people to be excellent. Use them as inspiration, but do not feel like a failure if your success looks different than theirs.
- 3Make a list of goals. Now that you know what inspires you, set some goals you’d like to achieve in your own life. Sit down when you’ve got a quiet moment and spend some time writing about what you’d like to accomplish.XResearch source
- For instance, if travel inspires you, you could set a goal to visit Machu Picchu and hike in the Andes. If you want to get fit, a good goal might be to run a six-minute mile.
- Write down every goal you think of. You can always revise your list later.
Part 3Part 3 of 3:Making It Happen Download Article
- 1Take stock of your life as it is right now. Evaluating where you are right now can help you figure out how to get to your goal. Be honest with yourself about your current habits, skills, and limitations.XResearch source
- Don’t be discouraged if you’re a long way from where you want to be. The people you admire had to work hard to create their lives, too.
- You may consider seeing a therapist. A therapist can help you to determine if you have any mental or emotional obstacles interfering with your goals
- 2Choose one or two goals to work on. Sit down with your list of goals and think about which ones are most important to you. Start with just one or two, and leave the rest for later. If you try to accomplish every goal on your list at once, you’ll get overwhelmed. XResearch source
- Consider choosing an initial goal that will positively impact multiple areas of your life. For instance, you might choose to improve your health first, because achieving everything else will be easier when you’re in good shape.
- 3Break your goals into steps. Your goal may seem overwhelmingly large, but every big task is made up of smaller action steps that are within your grasp. Imagine your main goal as a series of sub-goals, and make a list of the specific tasks you need to complete.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source
- For instance, if you want to become a blogger, you could break your goal down into the steps of creating your website, establishing a posting schedule, and promoting your blog.
- If you are having a hard time breaking down your goals, then you might consider seeing a life coach. A life coach can help you make your goals more attainable, keep you accountable, and track your progress.
- You might also try announcing your goals, such as on social media. Announcing to others that you are pursuing goals is a good way of ensuring that you follow-through.
- 4Set a time-frame. A time-bound goal is more compelling than one without a set end date. Give yourself a deadline for each step of your plan.XResearch source
- Make sure your time-frame is realistic. For instance, it’s not possible to learn a new language in thirty days, but you might be able to reach a conversational level in six months.
- 5Commit to making progress every day. The key to achieving a goal is taking consistent small steps in the right direction. Set a realistic daily target and stick to it.XResearch source
- For example, if you’re writing a novel, your daily target might be to write 1000 words every day.
- Avoid trying to do too much at once. If you try to rush through your goal, you may just end up overwhelmed and frustrated.
- 6Track your progress. Use a journal, spreadsheet, or app to keep track of the work you do and the progress you make. Seeing how far you’ve come will boost your motivation levels when you get discouraged.XResearch source
- QuestionHow do I stop living my life for others?Giselle BaumetGiselle Baumet is a Mindset & Wellness Coach and the Owner of Granola Babies based in Orange County, California. With more than 16 years of experience, she specializes in helping others, particularly parents, navigate through life’s challenges. Giselle earned a BS from Rhode Island College and a Lactation Educator Certification from The University of San Diego. She also holds a Women’s Life Coach Certification from The Academy of Creative Coaching, a Transpersonal Hypnotherapist and Somatic Healer Certification from The Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Institute, a Hypnosis and Childbirth Certification from The American Hypnosis Association, and a Positive Parenting Educator Certification from Positive Discipline.
Mindset & Wellness CoachMindset & Wellness CoachExpert AnswerSpend some time meditating and practicing mindfulness. Through the process of living in the now and observing your own thoughts, you can increase your self-love and self-esteem, which allows you to genuinely live for yourself while also giving compassion and grace to others.
- ↑Giselle Baumet. Mindset & Wellness Coach. Expert Interview. 13 December 2021.