“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 “ideal day” 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 🙂
1. The reality check
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 😉
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 😦
|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 – school – shops – 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.|
- 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: Occasionally you might not get immediately the desired results until you’ve found the best way to do it. 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 😉
You can read Anna’s original post at http://anna.theworkexperiment.com/what-do-you-want-do-the-ideal-day-test/
Enjoy this challenge 🙂