At the beginning of every life change—a marriage, a baby, a career move—we imagine for ourselves a new version of The Good Life, a mental picture of a satisfying and fulfilling future.
In 2017, with a baby on the way and a business venture in its early stages, my picture of The Good Life changed dramatically. My marriage was important before, but suddenly, it became top priority. I had just founded Lasting, now the nation’s leading relationship counseling app, and from the data, I knew that two thirds of new parents experience a dip in marital satisfaction in the first three years of parenthood.
To preserve my values and keep my marriage healthy, my goals needed to change. My vision of The Good Life became one part rockstar spouse, one part connected father, and one part CEO who helps other couples.
But living it out was harder than it seemed. I learned from experience that far too often, the dream in our minds isn’t realized in our everyday, and we’re left scrolling through Instagram wishing our lives were as glamorous and adventure-filled as the strangers in the squares.
So, how can we work toward our goals, and actually live in (not just dream about) our ideal future?
Start by defining what The Good Life means for you (and if applicable, your partner and family). Schedule a date night or an afternoon at a coffee shop and answer these four questions:
What would I like others to say about me or my family?
What story do I want to tell about myself or my family later on in life? What types of things would make me truly happy and fulfilled?
By what do I want to be remembered?
Then, create traditions and rituals in line with your dream future that you can implement now.
Lasting found from a survey of 225,000 married people that only a third of couples were intentional about creating traditions and rituals. But your family traditions are imperative to living out your version of The Good Life, because they provide structure for both the present and the future. They’re action steps to realize your dream.
In my case, being a spouse, father, and CEO were difficult to balance, so I was forced to integrate traditions that reinforced my dreams, such as Family Saturdays, where my wife Becca and I would completely unplug and do all of our favorite New York City activities—walks, parks, picnics, and restaurants.
I also stopped bringing my phone to bed, because it was distracting me from connecting with Becca—the very thing I wanted to prioritize. Now, every night, I charge my phone in my living room. Out of sight, out of mind.
Create some traditions and daily habits that reinforce the life you want to live right now. So often, when we’re trying to attain a goal or reach our dreams (legitimately good things), the pitfall becomes racing toward the future instead of appreciating the present moment.
My advice for living the dream? Be intentional about the future and keep giving thanks for the present.
To learn more about attaining The Good Life and setting healthy rituals, download Lasting today and check out the Family Culture series. Lasting helps couples who feel stuck move forward together through guided counseling programs, practical exercises, and detailed assessments, all backed by data and seasoned marriage therapists.