My wife and I set out to make 2015 the year in which we would take control of our lives, or as I call it: design our lives.

Recently, I was talking with some friends and was telling them that designing a life meant that I was going to take control of my time, my money, my motivations, etc. It feels very right to me to say these things, but was quickly confronted with this critical thought: “You sound like a control freak.”

But I’m not. 

Designing the life that I want, as I see it, is a way to achieve freedom. I define freedom as the ability to have the power to decide what I want to do with my time. By having a clearer vision of how I want to live my life, I have a stronger criteria for choosing how I want to spend my time and money.

I’m not a control freak, was my response. I just want to make the activities that I don’t enjoy a routine, so I can leave room for spontaneity.

My wife and I are working on one thing at a time. The first challenge was grocery shopping. And it worked. We only talk about groceries and what’s for dinner for about 15 minutes on the weekend. Then we quickly go to the store and get what we need. We save ourselves at least an hour on the weekend and many minutes of decision making during the week. In addition, we have stayed within our grocery budget for three weeks straight. Success!

This example is trivial, but the learning for me was that being more mindful of the resources that we have at hand can generate a huge impact in the way you live and the results you achieve in your personal and professional life. We spend most of our days thinking of things that don’t add value, such as: where did I put my phone charger? Well if you always put it in the same place, then you know where to go look for it, and you have an extra 20 minutes at the bar with your friends.

Also, I learned that these changes must be done one at a time, but consistently. If you try to re-organize your whole life in a week, chances are that you’re going to fail. Most people can’t tolerate to be out of their comfort zone for long, so when you make a routine, make sure it’s realistic and then get comfortable with it. When you’re done, find another aspect of your daily life you want to change and do the same. Soon enough, that life you thought was unattainable will be within reach.