Repurpose Your Life: How to Reinvent Yourself to Add Meaning and Purpose

By Lorie Rosenberg

Repurpose - refinished furnitureHave you ever taken an old piece of furniture that's been handed down to you or that you found at a garage sale or antique shop, and you stained it, painted it or reworked it in some way so that you could use it for a particular purpose in your home? I know I have. I've never been able to afford to get everything I want brand new. And I really wouldn't want to.

Because what's amazing is that once you put the effort into making it better, more beautiful, or even more functional, it becomes a more cherished item because of the effort you put into it. You had a part in making it what it is. This act is what I call repurposing. For me it's taking something, seeing the value in it, adding your special personal touch, and adapting it to fit your particular need...for a purpose you have in mind.

For a while, the trend has been to buy new...to have the latest and greatest. We've become the disposable generation. If it doesn't work for you anymore, get rid of it. And for a lot of items, it can actually be more expensive to get it fixed than it is to just go out and buy it new. Which perpetuates this idea that you need to replace every item.

But I think this trend is changing (maybe not for technology), but many people nowadays are beginning to value antiques and collectibles. Instead of buying new furniture, they go on Craigslist or Ebay and find furniture that other people have decided to get rid of. They are visiting antique stores and buying vintage items that are well known for their particular style or time period.

People are realizing that what some consider junk, others might view as a real treasure. They are now more interested in the history of an item, where it came from and how it meets a particular need. Now it's not all about being the newest fad or must-have item. It's about the value that item brings to their lives.

Just like the example above, you can take repurposing one step farther. If you can repurpose items in your home, why not use this concept and do the same thing with your life?

Some of you may be satisfied with yourself...just the way you are. And that's terrific! But for others, you may not be happy with your job, your financial situation, your social life, your home life...or maybe with yourself personally. So what can you do to repurpose yourself and move in a direction that is more congruent with your goals and values? How can you overcome the obstacles that have been holding you back from realizing the life you truly want?

Are You Happy Right Now?

Before you determine where you want to go, you need to understand how you're feeling right now. Are you happy with where you are currently? Are you doing what you want to do at work, or do you dread going to the office every Monday morning? Do you feel that you're accomplishing your life's goals, or are you experiencing setbacks that are preventing you from achieving everything you know that you're capable of?

If you're not as happy as you think you should be or could be, then it's time to discover what it is you really want to do.

What Do You Really Want to Do?

There are some people, who from a very young age, know exactly what they want to do. I think these people are very fortunate, because they understand themselves very well and know what it is that fulfills them. But most people really don't understand what it is that makes them tick. They simply coast through life going from one job to another hoping they're making the right choices, with little idea of what they really want out of life.

Determining your true path in life takes a lot of soul searching and it may not be that apparent to you. Think about your life situation. If you didn't have to worry about money, what would make you happy? And being on permanent vacation is not a legitimate answer. Think about what it is you enjoy doing and how you might incorporate some aspect of this "dream" life into your current situation. Do you have some special gifts or talents that you would like to incorporate into what you're doing? Is there a way to start moving your life in a new direction that is more in line with what you like to do?

What is Keeping You From Taking Action?

Next, identify the obstacles or challenges that are getting in the way of the life you want to live. Are you trapped in your current situation? Would you have to take a pay cut? Do you need more education? Do you feel this is way beyond your capabilities? Are you afraid of change?

There may be a number of reasons for you to remain in your current situation, but you won't learn anything new in a static state. Adversity is what we have to face on a daily basis. Most of the successful people you see in our society have had to overcome their own challenges to get where they are today. They came from poor backgrounds, they experienced rejection after rejection, but still persevered because they knew what they wanted to do with their lives. And so can you...you just need to take action...any action that will move you closer to achieving your goals.

What Actions Do You Need to Take Right Now?

Once you've determined your goals and objectives, it's important to develop an action plan to help you get there. It's a good idea to break down your goals into manageable steps with reasonable time frames. The worst thing you can do is to create goals where the likelihood of your accomplishing them is slim to none. This will hold you back even more than before. It's so much better to create more reasonable goals that are easier to accomplish. That way your success will propel you forward until you get to where you want to go.

How Will You Keep on Track?

With any goal, you want to write it down on a piece of paper or tack it to your refrigerator. Put it in a visible spot so you can see it every day. And reward yourself when you've made progress on your goals.

To keep on track, it's a good idea to incorporate your goal into your schedule every single day...even if it's for a short period of time. Be consistent when you work on it and the length of time you commit to it.

It takes 21 to 30 days to create a lasting habit. The more you're consistent in working on the steps each day, the less likely you are of quitting.

Who Will Help You Along the Way?

It's good to determine which people will encourage you to succeed at your goals and not sabotage your efforts. Just like you, most people don't like change, even if it's for the better. There may be people in your life that don't want you to change...they may be jealous or envious of your accomplishments and will say or do things to dissuade you from continuing with your goals. Unfortunately, you may have to stay away from these people so they don't hold you back from achieving real results. Rather, you need to keep by your side those people who support your efforts, encourage you to do your best, and who celebrate your achievements!

How Will You Know When You Have Arrived?

Success is a very personal thing...and it's different for everyone. Think about what success means to you so that you know when you've achieved it. Is success making more money? Is success doing something meaningful? Is success having wonderful family and friends? Whatever your goals, determine what success looks like so you know when you have arrived.

Creating a Repurposed Life!

Repurposing your life involves taking a serious look at the one you have, adding some goals and objectives, developing a plan to mold it into the life you've always imagined, and developing strategies to integrate it successfully into your current environment.

You may have to get rid of some old baggage and preconceived notions you've been carrying around for years. But just like that old piece of furniture you've refinished and made into a work of art, you'll feel that same sense of pride and joy as you see a new life unfold before you...one you've worked hard to create!