3. ATW : A todo list to change your life

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Some of us think that moving from one life to another is easy, some of us think that change in general is a nightmare… 

And for myself, now I just know that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Here is my personnal recipe for a new life, just in case…

Recipe for one person, preparation 4 years.

1. Ask yourself what are your personnal values, needs and limits

Discovering your personnal values can be a huge surprise. Therefore, using them to check if the life you’ve designed for yourself suits you, your needs, limits and philosophy can give you a shock. Knowing your values and philosophy allows you to analyze any new situation, behavior, emotion with a simple and very personnal key, it also helps you to take your decisions.

Even if I couldn’t put words on it, it seems that the path  for my new life and the new principles (“credo”) I wanted for my new projects was pretty clear for me. I’ve asked a coach to help me close the process anyway and I’ve discovered  that my personnal values are “discovery”, “creativity” and “sharing”. After such a long journey into yourself, your life, your decisions made in the past, your successes, your losses (…), trust me, it’s really reassuring to know that you’re taking the right path and this time, unconsciously taking the right decisions to align your life, your values and your projects. But starting with this coaching could have been a better method.

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2. Find your new activity. The activity you’ll be willing to spend a tireless energy for…

I’m not writting this article to lie to you and you’d better know before changing that change takes all of your energy. You’ll be asking yourself a thousand questions, you’ll be going through a thousand administrative challenges, you’ll have to face a thousand unexpected things and you’ll have to fight a thousand fears (yours or the fears of the others)… That said, you’d better look for a new activity that is worth it !

For me it was cooking and the idea of discovering the world through the prism of food but there are still many ideas out there, waiting to be explored (Before starting to think about cooking, I’ve dreamed of working with wood, any energy saving projects, the opening of a bar/tearoom with creative workshops and any DIY, and a lot of other ideas…).

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3. Go back to school (if necessary)

Going back to school means learning something new and also means taking the time to explore the new activity that seems to be your next life before starting to work on the big transformations.

My decision to go back to school was clearly for at least two reasons : I needed to learn how to cook and I’m a bit too lazy to do it on my own + I needed to be sure that this new activity was something real for me and not just another whim. I needed to start groping for what I wanted to do with it, what was the place I wanted in this new world… During my 3 years at the “Institut Roger Lambion”, I’ve changed my mind a thousand time on what I wanted to do with my final project but I’ve confirmed that cooking would be at the center of my new life. Cooking is my new life themes. And this blog has also confirmed that talking about it and sharing my discoveries was also part of my new life.

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4. Make sure you’re surrounded only by positive people

Let’s be honest, the new studies + the work + maintaining a social life + the Blog + the preparation of the new project (+ your family + your diet or + whatever combo that would be yours)… It’s too much ! I’ve actually almost stopped a few times. This is exactly why you need to be surrounded by positive people. Not the “always pitying you” kind or the “huge fan” kind but the “really nice and kind” kind. The kind of persons who never judge, who can support you no matter what you do, who can punch you in the face if you’re trespassing your OWN limit (and not theirs) or cuddle you and give you a boost of energy if you’ve failed somewhere.

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5. Pass your diploma, never give up

Finishing school is a good occasion to prove that you can do it. It’s proving to yourself that after you’re done with school any new challenge is just another task on a todo list and not a huge nightmare that you’re afraid of starting because you’re afraid of failing. And in the society where we live, it’s also a good occasion to gain credibility in your new field of activity.

For me, it was also a good opportunity to reassure the ones who love me, prove them that i’m following a real path and not just another passing fancy. It’s not always necessary in order to reach your final goal and final objective but it’s emotionnaly necessary. If you’ve promised yourself to get that diploma, you have to respect your own moral contract. You can’t lie to yourself or worse cheat yourself when you’re starting such a changing process.

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6. Dream big and don’t reject any of your dreams… you never know.

Life knows when you deserve a little help. And actually more than “life” (which is a philosophical concept), your attitude makes things move when you need it. The ideas come and go and suddenly, as if magic existed, you find THE idea and you go for this one instead of another one. The most important is to be kind to yourself while dreaming, know that it’s ok to ramble a bit in your mind, allow yourself to dream big, too big and too far or too complicated, too expensive or too ambitious…

10 years ago, while traveling in eastern Europe with a friend, I said “In 10 years, we’ll be opening a guesthouse together”. 7 years ago, while looking for a new challenge and just before finding my job in Brussels I said to myself “I’d love to do a round the world trip to open my mind and understand how it works elsewhere”. And 4 years ago, while looking for something new to challenge myself, I thought “I have to learn how to cook, this is the one thing in my life. Food and eating are the things that helps my brain to communicate with my body and my heart. Cooking is the thing that helps me communicate with anyone while traveling even if we don’t speak the same language. Having diner is the thing that I do with the ones I love (friends, family, lover…) and even at work, the decisive moment where you find your place in the group and where the others decide if you’re part of it or not is lunch. And there is so much to discover”… And finally, in a month, I’ll leave Belgium to discover the world through the prism of food in a one year around the world trip, with a final objective whih is a concept around tourism, sharing and world cuisine. 

In the end, Always keep your dreams somewhere in your mind, you never know when life will give you the opportunity to explore them.

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7. Start your new life with a short term project that fits with your final project

The principle of having a happening might not be for everyone but in the end, the fact that you start your new life with a small and short term dream makes the move a bit more exciting than paperwork and admisnistrative meetings and a bit less scary.

I’ve chosen a one year around the world trip as a way to start my new life. I actually use my transition period to make one of my dream come true and mix: a way to keep going with my cooking training + a year to relax a bit after my 4 years of change and pressure + a way to find new small and personnal challenges for myself while finishing my final project definition.

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 8. Leave your old life step by step

This is the exact moment where you mustn’t give up, you mustn’t forget anything, you have to be super organized and you’d better have a notebook where you’ve written all the reasons why you’ve made that choice (you’ll probably need to read it from time to time when you’re scared). When you leave, you finally only see the bright side of everything. People are “over nice” to you (they know they won’t see you for a little while), work is not who you are anymore and becomes a place where you’re happy to see your colleagues (it’s kind of a reassuring place actually where everything is the same everyday), home and all the things stored there, are as many memories shared with the ones you love and the ones you’ve loved in one place, it looks like you, it’s full of your personnality… You therefore have to remind yourself that people who counts will always be there no matter what happens, work hasn’t always been a safe place as it doesn’t fit with your ambition, personnal values and with what you want to do with your life, and memories are in your head and in the realtionships that you grow, not in the things that are in your attic.

To help me remember everything, I use a lot of todo lists and I read back my favorite moments of “the power of now” by Eckart Tolle.

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9. And after all of that… Just GO and do it !

Be safe, live, enjoy every bit of if and come back here to tell me how it was.

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Update 11/06/2015 : First, start saving money. Stop wasting your money in things that you wouldn’t want or need in your future life. Explore the closer countries for the holidays, go shopping with a list of what you need and don’t buy anything else, let your hair grow slowly and naturaly and stop wasting 70 € every month, stop smocking, quit your gym if you don’t go there at least once a week, ask for a smaller phone bundle and use more SMS, data, wifi, sell your car if you can and start using the public transportation… find all the small budget cut that you can do and do them knowing that it’s the money that can make your dream come true.


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