It begins with a nagging feeling as you scroll through Instagram feed: everyone else is so focused and together, yet you’re floundering from day to day to figure out what you want this weekend, let alone next year (or for your life). Deep down you’re afraid to begin dreaming about what kind of life you really desire because you don’t want to be unrealistic.
Ah, there’s the rub. If we decide we’re only going to be realistic when it comes to our desires, then how can we expect to ever get more than what we currently have? That Inner Critic of yours is bound to show up and tell you how silly you are. Or how you don’t dare make goals because you suck at achieving them. Or how plans are useless because there’s always a monkey wrench that trips things up.
With these kinds of thoughts circling around in your head, of course you’re going to be hesitant about diving into dreams about how your life could be. And honestly, honey, I get it.
Science is on the side of day dreaming about the future. See, day dreaming about good things actually produces a chemical cocktail that allows your brain to experience the desired feelings. A win in my book since I know some of the most rewarding goals are achieved when I begin from a space of how I desire to feel.
How do you create a life you love when you don’t know where to begin? I’m going to suggest that you start small instead: begin with dreaming about an ideal day.
Begin by dreaming about the future you. Set a time-frame for this – a year, two years, but no more than five years in the future. Imagine that you’re living a normal, ordinary day.
A caveat here: I believe that dreaming about a fantasy life allows us to get glimpses into our deepest desires. It is tempting to ponder a perfect vacation, night on the town, or wedding day. I suggest that you begin with an ideal, ordinary day, because most of our life happens in the trenches of ordinary living.
By dreaming about an average, ordinary day in the future, you acknowledge not just the beauty in the moments that feel perfect. You make space for the crazy imperfections that make up the fabric of living.
Ask yourself, this future you, questions like:
- How do you look?
- What are you doing?
- Who is with you?
- How do you spend your time?
- What do your surroundings look like?
- What kind of work are you doing.
Dreaming about the future you, make that picture as real possible, filled with exquisite details.
After you get a great image in your mind of this future self on an ordinary day, grab a pen and begin dreaming on paper. As you begin fleshing this ideal day out, don’t allow yourself to feel limited by current constraints such as where you live or what you do for work. Those things are flexible.
Dreaming about an ideal day, though, should have an edge of realism to it over fantasy, though. For example, dreaming that five years from now, you spend a month in Paris is delightful. Dreaming that you breakfast in Paris and go to sleep in New York City is too far from a realistic expectation of an average day. That kind of unrealistic expectation can sour this exercise and can keep you from pursuing any part of an ideal day because it’s so far from reality.
Also, don’t attempt to hang onto an old version of yourself. Don’t try to recapture the twenty-year old version of who you were, even if she did have an enviable body, for example. Instead, allow yourself to imagine your new self, acting in new ways instead of relying on the same old routines.
Details, those delicious details, will give your dreaming a sense of authenticity.
This is one of the most powerful – and practical – exercises I know to begin creating a life you love because it immerses you in a do-able increment of time. Rather than fantasizing about what life will be like if it were perfect, you will be dreaming about what an ordinary, nourishing day can feel like and look like.
Dreaming about an ideal day also reminds your brain that there are traces of your deepest desires present in your daily life. You can choose happiness and nourishing experiences right now, rather than having to wait for it. What the translates to, my dear, is that you can write out the exquisite details of how you’d spend an ideal day in the future. Then once it’s on paper, you can transform that dreaming into reality by choosing pieces of that ideal day to your present life.
When you take action from that space, you build momentum towards creating a daily life that feels loving and nourishing. Those days, darling, add up, and soon you’ll realize that you’ve birthed into being the kind of life you always wanted.
Now that’s powerful.
Want a worksheet to guide you through each part of the day? To help you dig into the details of what you need for a day to feel lush and loving?
Snag my latest eBook: Create a Life You Love: Begin with Curating a Nourishing Day
Creating a life you love demands that you make today, this day, one that feels nourishing. Even if it’s for just five minutes. Then, follow that with ways to usher a part of your Ideal Day into your current reality.
In addition to assisting you in exploring your Ideal Ordinary Day, I’ll guide you through the process of defining what your Standards for a Quality Life are and then support that by setting Non-Negotiable Standards for Crappy Days and Ordinary Days.
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