Your Perfect Life
Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing every day? For years I have been harping on people to make their goals every year but some people have a really hard time with this. A sweat4health member suggested a different approach to the same problem. Although many people have trouble listing goals, it is very easy for them to describe what a “perfect life” would be. Describe your perfect day! Describe your perfect year! Describe your perfect life! No limitations, dont censor yourself and state what you really want.
Be careful what you wish for!
Remember also that after two days of sipping Mai Tais by the poolside, you will probably get bored so think beyond the fact that you need a long, relaxing vacation and describe your true passions and how you would divide your time between them. Its only you against you and YOU are the boss. Remember also, make it YOUR perfect life, not your mother’s, your bosses, nor your girlfriend’s – its YOUR PERFECT LIFE!!! Remember that in your perfect life you do not have to do anything you do not want to do however, you will need to accept the consequences for whatever you decide. If eating snickers bars on the sofa every day describes your perfect life, that will soon have serious health problems that will turn your perfect life into your perfect hell.
Make a photo-collage of your perfect life!!!
If you are not good with words, than make a photogrid that describes it! Make the most important things the biggest photos and make the less important things smaller.
Use this template! Every day has 16 waking hours so each square represents one hour. If your perfect life has you surfing 4 hours a day then cover four squares with a photo of you surfing!
The reason that the photo collage is awesome is that you can frame it and put it on your desk and in a single glance it reminds you of what your perfect life is and the relative importance of everything in your perfect life.
My Perfect Life
After working at this for three decades, my current life is very close to my perfect life. With this exercise, realize that YOU are the boss. For example, the photo grid at the top of the page represents a year-average of how I want to spend my time but I have two modes: a “home mode” and a “travel mode” and each has its own “perfect life” photo collage.
My perfect life: Travel Mode
I love international travel and I do it by bicycle because its simply the best. While traveling in my perfect life, I still spend 25% of every day doing sweat4health posts, editing YouTube videos, adding web pages to scoobysworkshop, doing blog posts, etc. My “travel mode” would be 9-12 weeks a year in my perfect life.
My perfect life: Home Mode
The rest of the time I would be in “home mode” and this mode acknowledges that I live in the real world. 1/4 of the grid is allowed to be “life’s overhead” like shopping, cooking, cleaning, home repairs, and answering mail.
Your perfect life on 30 minutes a day
Most people spend zero minutes a day working toward their perfect life. The average person over 18 spends 5 hours a day watching TV or videos – most of this on their mobile devices. If you can spend 5 hours a day watching a glowing screen then you can certainly give up 30 minutes of that to work toward your perfect life! 30 minutes a day does not sound like much but it adds up quickly. People make the mistake of thinking that becoming rich, getting a great physique, becoming a great musician, or becoming an expert in a certain field is beyond their reach so they throw up their hands. The book Outliers proposes the “10,000 hour rule” which states that to become good at anything takes 10,000 hours. Many have tried to dispute this but the fact remains, perseverance often trumps raw-talent.
Moving toward your perfect life
First of all, congratulations. If you have described your perfect life then you are ahead of 95% of the population who only has vague notions of what they want out of life. YOU can visualize your perfect life and the idea is to work a few minutes every day to help move you toward your perfect life. The photo-collage reminds you of where you want to go and the closer you get to retirement, the more todays photo-collage will resemble your perfect life photo collage. If you are in your twenties or thirties, don’t beat yourself up, you will be nowhere near your perfect life.
One big problem with the 7-habits time management scheme that I have been pushing for years is that its incredibly mentally painful. It finds your emotional wounds and rubs salt in them. Not only does it make you face big questions like “what do you want to be when you grow up?” but it makes you come up with a detailed plan of action. If you can handle it, incredible growth results but most people just walk away.
This “describe your perfect life” approach is a LOT less painful. Every morning when you get up, look at this framed photo-collage on your desk and ask yourself, what one tiny thing can I do today to help me move along toward my perfect life. Make it something really easy and something you can do in less than 30 minutes. Here are some examples:
- Your perfect life has a big picture of you playing the guitar and you do not own one yet. Todays 30 minute task is to research guitars and find out which is the best for beginners to learn.
- Your perfect life photo collage has a photo of you scuba diving and your perfect life has you being a dive master. Todays 30 minute task is to go onto yelp and find the highest rated dive shop within commuting distance that has classes that mesh with your schedule.
Every morning just look at your framed perfect life photo collage on your desk and decide what one little thing you are going to do today to move you forward. You dont need a plan, just do one little thing that pushes you in the right direction! Your perfect life will not come like a lightning bolt from the sky, it will come in tens of thousands of tiny little baby steps. Make your perfect life happen one tiny step at a time.
A support network
When you are slowly working toward your perfect life you can count on all kinds of roadblocks. One of the worst obstacles to progress is unsupportive friends and family. If you can, ditch your negative friends who are unsupportive of your goals and find new friends more compatible. If you cant find local friends, consider an online support group like sweat4health where we can support not only your fitness goals but your career and life goals as well – we have a whole board on personal and professional development.