How to Craft Your Ideal Day… and Live It
Sometimes I write about what I know. And sometimes I write about what I need to learn. This post falls into the second category. I am failing at the task of living my best life. Since life is a series of days, one after another, I know that I need to fix my problems at the level of the day. If you too would like to craft your ideal day, and then live what you create, read on! We’ll do it together.
What’s Wrong with Your Day?
I used to be driven by schedules and deadlines. Most of them were self-imposed, the result of taking on too much and trying to be perfect at all of it. When I retired, I consciously chose to reject my old ways. I revelled in the chaos of the neutral zone that is part of any major life transition. I’m still revelling and still transitioning but, truth be told, the drifting is starting to get to me. It has been two years, for goodness sake!
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.Annie Dillard
What’s happening for you? It might be that you are working eight plus hours a day, and have no time for family, friendships or fitness. Or perhaps your days are filled with obligations to others, responsibilities you are happy to meet but that leave no time for you. Maybe you are retired, and can’t figure out how you ever managed to work You still don’t have enough time to do all you want to do in a day.
Whatever the reason, if you have something burning inside of you that you want to have in your life, you must pursue it. Marie Beyon Ray says it beautifully,
“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake.”
What’s Burning Inside of You?
I want to be learning, savouring, and creating every single day. Writing for Profound Journey is great, but I also want to develop my writing skills in other genres. I’ve wanted that my entire life. I have no excuses now. There’s nothing stopping me from doing this except me.
How about you? Do you know what would bring you joy if you were to do it on a daily basis? That’s the critical first step to being able to craft your ideal day. If you need help, try this:
- Think about how you want to feel. This is the intention part of the goal setting/intentions post I wrote in December. In my case, I’d said that I wanted to accept myself as I am, and to savour my days.
- Use the techniques of creative visualization to imagine your ideal day. Your ideal day should give you the feelings you want. Try to use all of your senses for a complete experience.
- If you can’t imagine an ideal normal day, go ahead and visualize an ideal vacation day or a day after you win a lottery. Then for each aspect of that day, look at the values you are expressing. For example, if you picture yourself living in a house on the beach, do you want to feel calm? Do you want to be surrounded by beauty?
What Do You Actually Need to Do?
Identifying your desired feelings is the first step, but if you are going to craft your ideal life, you will need to take action to bring those feelings to life.
Have you heard of a DIY MFA? The premise is that if you want to write, you can pay a university $60,000 and go do your Masters in Fine Arts. Or you can do your own MFA by following the advice of Ray Bradbury. Bradbury knows what he’s talking about. Considered one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century, Bradbury published more than 30 books,600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, screenplays, and plays.
In the essay “How to Keep and Feed a Muse,” Bradbury encourages wanna-be writers to:
- read every day–a short story, poem, and essay. The essays should be from a variety of disciplines.
- write every week–one short story a week for a year
- watch movies
- have a variety of experiences so you have a life to write about
You can pay an online provider to guide you through a DIY MFA or you can truly do it yourself. I’m doing it myself. I have created a weekly chart for tracking variations of all of the above, plus a few non-writing actions like physical activity and cooking a new recipe at least once a week.
What are the actions you need to take to achieve the feelings you identified as important? If you don’t know, do some research to find the vital few actions that are going to give you the results you want.
How Can You Craft Your Ideal Day Despite Obstacles?
If, unlike me, you have legitimate excuses as to why you can’t live the life you intend, your next step is to deal with obstacles.
Most people will go to their graves with their music still inside of them.Benjamin Disraeli
- taking the time to clear the decks. For example, I spent an entire weekend getting my inboxes to zero. Now that I’ve got that done, a few minutes a day keeps that part of my life quite manageable.
- hiring or delegating. One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever received was from a friend who said, “Hire someone who’s good at whatever you’re not. That way your time is freed up to be paid for what you are good at.” Not that I’m getting paid to write at the moment, but you get the point.
- reframing your thinking. If you truly can’t get rid of an obstacle, you need to come to terms with it. Reframing so that the obstacle is an opportunity can be helpful. An example might be choosing to see a mundane part-time job as fodder for future writing.
How Can You Live Your Ideal Day Every Day?
This would be the $100,000 question; the one for which I don’t have any easy answers.
Seize the day and put as little trust as you can in tomorrow.Horace
Given the actions I want to take, I’m going to work on suggestion #35. I will proactively arrange my life to prevent problems from happening in the first place. In other words, I will schedule my daily writing practice, for instance, and will give that appointment the same respect I’d give to an appointment with my doctor. If a day comes up where I have to cancel, I’ll make the decision consciously and will reschedule. By turning my daily writing practice into a routine, I’m hoping to ignore my fears by removing thinking and decision-making from that part of my day.
Update: I’ve been doing my daily writing practice since April 1st, and so far, so good. By making sure that I meditate and write early in the morning, I’ve got those desired feelings in place nice and early. That’s making the whole day, every day, so much better.
How will you craft your ideal day? If you’re one of the superstars already living as you intend, please share your secrets!