Reality Check

“Visualising your perfect day” has become one of the most popular getting-started techniques for anybody who wants to change their lives. Mental imagery and conscious daydreaming are great tools for finding out more about where we want to go, for deciding on a direction. We are also advised to take action, to take the first steps towards our dreams. But what are these steps, where do we start?

There’s always something to build on, or at least a whole lot of baggage we carry around with us. Whether our life could do with a thorough makeover or whether our dreams are already outside our front door waiting for us to let them in, we always start with whatever we’ve got right now. Yet – where are we, what needs change?

This is a variation of Anna’s recent post on The Work Experiment: What do you want? Do the โ€œideal dayโ€ test! Her article inspired me to use one and the same tool for imagining an ideal day as well as for checking the present position. Comparison of the two results points directly to what we can change, this moment – often enough it’s the small, seemingly insignificant changes that bring the most immediate benefit ๐Ÿ™‚

1. The reality check

what, how, where, when, with whom, why

the reality check bug

Basically, you jot down some questions about one single day in your life: What you are doing, when and how, where you are, who you’re with, for what reason. Take notes on how you feel about what, when, how, where, who, why. (Slight tension in your stomach is usually a good indicator that something’s awry – don’t kill it off by reasoning with it.) In case you don’t know where to start, make a list of what you’ve done yesterday from when you got up until you went to bed.

2. Your perfect day

Take the same questions or the list and change the answers into what you consider ideal, be it “realistic” or not – hey, we’re talking about dreams here, anything is possible ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. Compare and apply

  • Mark green or with a plus anything that you want to keep, which is close enough to your dreams, or good enough for the time being.
  • Mark red or with a minus whatever seems most distant from your dreams. This is stuff to consider at some later point, when you’ve gathered momentum and confidence by changing the small, easy things first.
  • From the unmarked rest, choose one item you can change today. Do it, repeat it tomorrow, the day after, and so on until you cease thinking about it. Whenever you feel ready, pick something new to change and stick with it until it has become a new habit.

The longest lasting change comes about gradually. Plus: getting-something-simple-right boosts your confidence and self-esteem. Getting-something-big-wrong won’t ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Example:

what Picking up the kids and getting the shopping done while rushing back from work. I feel stressed.
when After work, rush hour. I’m tired already.
where On the way: work โ€“ school โ€“ shops โ€“ home. Am I the only sane person here?
how In a hurry. How else? There’s no time.
with whom A car full of nagging children. (at least that’s what it sounds like) Yes, they are tired, too, and I’m sorry for them. But they do get on my nerves.
why Because I have to. I can’t do anything about it.

ย Possible solutions:

  • organize shopping so I don’t have to do it every day – take a solitary walk in the park instead, or occasionally take the children for a treat
  • go shopping without the children: in the evening, before picking them up, or car pool with other parents

If nothing else helps, here a quote by Maya Angelou:

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

By the way:ย  Occasionally you might not get immediately the desired results until you’ve found the best way to do it. ย Beating yourself up about your “mistakes” doesn’t help – instead experiment and call them “trial and error”, which is considered a scientific method for obtaining knowledge ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can read Anna’s original post at http://anna.theworkexperiment.com/what-do-you-want-do-the-ideal-day-test/

Enjoy this challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

Maria

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8 responses to “Reality Check

  1. I hope it worked for you and that you were able to de-stress and build clarity… It seems quite involved though useful. Thanks for sharing it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually, this is just an example I thought many men and women can relate to. I wrote it with one of my best friends (who has got 3 kids) in mind.
      I included a lot of detail in this example and also the previous ones in order to show the process. To me, self-inquiry is a helpful tool when necessary, not a lifestyle. And Life is as easy and effortless as we trust it to be.
      Maybe I should make a separate post emphasising that exploring issues (of all sorts) with so much detail isn’t something to do every day and in every case. (The reality check itself for instance I wouldn’t do more often than once or twice a year.) I think that on one side there are too many people who spend too much time on “making an effort”, introspection and digging deep instead of simply living, but on the other side too many living a superficial life, not daring to stop and have a look at themselves.
      Thank you for making me aware of this omission ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wow, this is pretty handy here. ( : Niceness! I’m loving your blog!

    • Thank you, Ginger. It’s lovely of you to say so ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
      And I love your blog – I just came back from commenting on your latest post.
      Maria
      PS: Thank you for subscribing

  3. Great post, Maria! I also love the quote…

  4. An interesting read, thanks

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