Weekly Challenge: Building the Ideal Day One Hour at a Time

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want. Ben Stein

Over the past few months, I have been very intrigued with the notion of creating the “ideal day.” Life seems to be going through one of those phases where everything is “shifting.” My schedule and commitments continue to change and unfold. Like many of you, my life doesn’t really contain a formula for a “typical day.” It is constantly in flux.

But I became intrigued with the concept of building my own ideal day. If it were up to me (and a large portion of our days are up to us) what would my day look like? How would it start? What activities would I make sure to include? What steps would I take toward my goals? Who would I spend my time with? In essence: if I could build my life (which I can) what blocks would I choose to use as my foundation?

Interestingly, if we don’t ask ourselves these questions, we get whatever blocks are tossed in our path and make the most of them. When we take an active and aware interest in constructing our days, our weeks, our months, we truly become an active builder of our life.

I started by asking myself some basic questions:

1. What things should I be doing that I know I need to do – yet do not make time for? (For me, walking the dogs always seems to fall in this column!)

2. What grounds and centers me each day making me feel emotionally healthy and full for the hours ahead?

3. What makes me feel good and thus increases my capacity to make others feel good?

4. Who do I need to communicate with daily on a deep level in order to feel fulfilled? (My daughter always ranks high on this list!)

5. What are the little things I can do daily to find fulfillment? (I love to read the paper, clip articles to send to friends, write a card, journal a bit, do a puzzle.) While these alone may not seem like major components of a day, they are simple things that nourish the soul, allowing for important “rejuvenating” time.

6. What do I need to do at the end of the day to prepare emotionally and physically for the day ahead?

7. What is most important to me – physically, emotionally, spiritually, community-wise, worldly, etc.

This is basically taking the 3-step-action-list we use in the Change Your Life Challenge book and Make Today Matter program to the next level. We use our action steps and our before snapshot to design not just a “moment” in a day, but our entire day in an enriching and nourishing way.

Once I had written down my answers (I worked on this here and there for a week or so) I began to take each component that emerged as important and scheduled it into an ideal day. It is important to mention, that I didn’t get up the next day and start leading this perfectly, well-designed, ideal life. We have to be patient with ourselves, remembering that we are often entrenched in our routines. Evolving from the old into the new is a process for us, just as it is for the caterpillar to butterfly.

I did however; make sure to live this ideal day, start-to-finish for at least one day within the next two weeks after I had it fully designed. I longed to know what my “ideal day” would actually feel like This wonderful feeling became a strong motivator.

Then, I continued to make smaller shifts in my schedule, over a period of months, to move closer to living this ideal day more often than not.

Your Weekly Challenge:
Consider asking yourself the same questions I did. Spend a little time each day this week answering those questions. By Sunday, write out an example of what your ideal day looks like. Live that day at least once next week. Remember that feeling and use it as motivation to make changes over the months.

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