Many go through their life just getting by. Not daring to hope for more in case of disappointment. They know that in a lot of ways, things could be worse.
Time goes by and they find the dreams they once had buried under their own inaction and excuses. Like ghosts, frustrated at what might have been, but not even part of reality any more.
Is this going to be you? Are you going to let your hopes inevitably fade into darkness? Or will you choose to pursue an amazing life that has you jumping out of bed in the morning?
Would you know what to change if you wanted an abundance of fulfilment and true happiness?
These are complicated questions. I mean, what is happiness anyway?
Personally, I think happiness comes from pursing something that gives you meaning but at the same time being content with what you have.
But how do you know what you want to pursue and what will give you that contentment?
The Perfect Average Day Exercise
One of the best methods I have found to achieve this is the ‘perfect average day’ exercise. I first heard of this exercise from fitness marketing expert Paul Mort and it changed the way I look at setting goals.
The exercise basically involves taking time to write out what a perfect average day would be for you if there were NO limitations on what you could achieve or do.
Note that I say average day. This is not the day that you are on vacation, sipping cocktails by the pool or the day go on a legendary bender with Charlie Sheen doing…well, you know what you are doing.
Those days are great and an essential part of your life (well maybe not the benders with Charlie Sheen) but it is not what you are focused on here. The day you want to spend your time describing is like a typical Monday. It is the day you could do 300 days of the year and not get bored and not die from the way you are living.
How To Do It
To complete the exercise well, my advice is to block off at least 1 hour (this is your life you’re talking about so give it the time it deserves), make a pot of coffee, sit with a pen and paper and map out your day. Describe every detail from the moment you wake up to the second you shut your eyes and drift off at night.
The more detail you can give the better.
So, what time do you awake? How do you feel? Who do you wake up next too? What do you smell? What is your house like? Where is your house?
And on and on from there…
Some more questions to help you out
What is your occupation?
How many hours a day do you work?
How does your body look?
Do you spend time with friends/family?
What hobbies do you pursue?
What other personal goals are you pursing?
What do you eat?
You can let your imagination go wild with as much detail as possible.
Note: you can go do this now and read the rest of the article when you are finished.
When you have completed the exercise you can now compare your ‘perfect average day’ to your current average day.
Then break down your goals from there.
5 Categories Of Life Goals
I believe to be at our best in life we should have goals in 5 categories:
From reading over your perfect day you will be able to see what goals you have in each category.
You may have decided that you are lean and muscular in your vision of the future so a body goal is formed.
The mind really is part of the body, but it is trained in such a different way that I am of the opinion that it should have its own category. Maybe you want to be calmer in confrontational interactions or become an expert in a certain field.
In your perfect day, did you spend more time with family? Meet up with friends more? Then you have your relationship goals.
In your master plan do you work 3 hours per day in the morning and still make enough money to support your family? How does your business have to change to reach this goal?
The last of my list is pleasure, but it is by no means the least important. This is a simple goal really. Do something for the fact that it gives you pleasure, nothing more. And do it often.
Now this of course may give you some big goals to aim for. These are your motivational goals. They get you up in the morning but they alone won’t get you to where you want to be.
Plan Actionable Steps
You need actionable goals. These are small steps that you can take each day to bring you closer to that big goal.
Your goals should always be something that you can control. So if your goal is to get your daughter to like you, that ain’t going to work. It should be a goal of being an encouraging, understanding and supportive Father, for example. As that is what you can control.
Let’s take the ‘I want to be lean and muscular’ goal.
To achieve this, you have to have an exercise regime and nutrition plan that is tailored to getting you lean and muscular over time (if you need help with this go here- shameful plug).
Let’s say you have a nutrition plan and exercises regime to follow…you now have two daily goals:
Follow your nutrition plan as close as possible
Go to the gym and follow your exercise program
In order to follow through with any goal you need to set a date and time to do it. So going to the gym now becomes like an appointment in your calendar. It only gets moved in emergencies.
You can then do the same for each of the goals you have. Breaking them down into small daily steps to be followed.
For example, at 7pm your phone and laptop are switched off and it is time for only you and your wife. Or for 30mins each day during your lunch break you will read a novel.
The key is to plan ahead and then all you have to do is stick to the plan. Life happens, of course, but with any goal or pursuit in life it is not all or nothing. Achieve what you set out to do 80% of the time and eventually your goal will creep up on you.
Write Your Goals Down
Personally I write my big goals followed by the smaller steps in a diary and take 5mins at some point each day to access the previous 24 hours. This keeps me on track and lets me know what steps I may need help with or need to alter to make more realistic for my current situation.
I should also add that our hopes, dreams and desires change over time so I advise that you do this exercises from scratch once every 6 months.
I hope that helps you get some clarity and inspiration on what you want out of your future and allows you to create steps to achieving it.
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