Designing Your Day (and Your Life)


My favorite exercise – designing your Ideal Day

By Lori Howard

This is excerpted from my free report: Five Days to Goals That Inspire You (longer available online), and inspired from many sources (including, in no particular order, Barbara Sher, Paul McKenna, Jennifer Louden, Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Martha Beck).

Start by imagining your Ideal Day. Set aside an hour and allow yourself to daydream. Imagine what one ideal day in your ideal life would be like. Picture yourself 5-10 years down the road – and imagine your day from the moment you wake to the moment you fall asleep. Picture it in vivid Technicolor detail – with colors, sounds, smells, and touch. Examine at every detail – where you are, what the room looks like (if you are inside), what it feels like, what it smells like, who is with you (if anyone), and what you are doing. Take note of every meal you eat, every person you speak with. Write it all down.

I promise you will find this to be rejuvenating, refreshing, and fun. It’s total fantasy – your fantasy for your life. And if you think you have more than one ideal life, pick one. Choose the one that appeals to you the most in this moment (You can always do this exercise again later – with a different Ideal Day. In fact, I encourage you to do so!) If you find yourself uncertain about some parts of your day – that’s fine. Simply move on to the next moment.

It is very important that you do not evaluate or judge yourself, or your ideas. If things don’t make logical sense, that’s fine too. This is a fantasy after all. Put on some music that inspires and relaxes you – make some tea or pour yourself glass of wine – and dream. Sit in your favorite chair, pick up your favorite pen, and write it all down.

When you are done, stand up, smile, stretch, and take a deep breath. Congratulations! You have taken the first significant step to setting goals that will work for you! Now, put this aside for the rest of the day.

Work Ideal Day (6/19/11)

It's 05:00... I know it's early but I'd like to get a run before having to sit down and start typing away. I think I'll treat myself nicely and only run 10 miles today.... we'll just have to see how the legs treat me particularly since I haven't ran that long in a while. I made it back home around 8:15... 3 hours for 10 miles is not as good as s it could be but for it to be the first run since the surgery, I won't complain too much.

Workout 1 for the day is taken care of and now I can shower and concentrate on working. I have 2 big projects I'm working on. I'm working with the programmer on my special collaboration/distribution system and I'm also working on a contract to move a site into WordPress using Thesis.

The conversation with the programmer goes fairly well, we're almost ready to demo the project to our first clients in a couple weeks.

The WordPress project is a little more complicated. The design is a nightmare to translate and I'm about to say screw it but the stubborn part in me tells me to give it 4 more hours and then take a break; if need be I can always ask for an extension.

I take a break for lunch, I had promised a friend that we'd have lunch in the city today. Make sure you take the correct train and that you take the laptop to work on the train there. It is amazing how much a little change of scenery can help with your designer's block. I think I finally figured out how to do that design and right in time for lunch 🙂

My friend and I decide to hit Fisherman's Wharf for a good bowl of clam chowder, I know it's not New England but it'll have to do until I can get myself back to Boston, and a long-overdue talk. We both got so busy that we always have to push meeting and getting reacquainted with each other but no more. I keep thinking that I'm not getting any younger (another one of those relative terms like good, bad, pretty and ugly) to start chasing my dreams.

We talk for a long time. We talk about Christianity, we talk about family and friends. We talk about our respective fathers and how he still hates his and how much I miss mine. We talk about Max and his new sibling and about the travels I will embark on in the next few months.

I'm working on getting all these work-related project settled in because I'm traveling. I finally made up my mind about going to Chile December and January... I am doing Ironman 70.3 Pucón! It took me a while to decide on this one but it was the right thing to do. I get to see what's left of my family and I get to race another 70.3 race 😀

At some point I decided that the baggage was worth the trip and the emotional toll it's going to take out of me. Mom's right when she points out that I owe it to my aunts... they are not getting any younger and I'm one of the last family members still alive.