The human brain is the most powerful organism in the animal kingdom. Scientists discover more and more about this organ’s amazing capabilities every day.
One of the things that’s becoming more and more apparent is you have the ability to create what you want by using the power of your mind. Use these 10 methods to start cultivating your ideal day today.
Write down what your ideal day looks like.
There’s a useful exercise I’ve used over the years to help me create a crystal clear vision of my goals and dreams. Here’s how to do it: write down a detailed account of what your ideal day looks like. Start with when you first wake up, and write down everything you would do in a perfect day.
Once you’ve written a detailed account, visualize your ideal day. Spend time every day really feeling it. Right when you wake up and before you go to bed are great times to do this. It helps your brain form the mental image of your ideal day in your subconscious.
Make a commitment to live out your ideal day.
In his increasingly hard-to-find and now famous book, The Social Animal, psychologist Elliot Aronson details fascinating research around the power of commitment. The basic premise is simple: when you commit to do something (either verbally or in writing), you’re much more likely to follow through. Simple though it may be, committing to living out your ideal day can be a useful strategy to help you make it come to life.
You don’t create your ideal day overnight. It takes time to build the necessary habits that stick. So go back to the ideal day you wrote down and visualized and ask yourself, “What’s the easiest thing to accomplish on this list?” For example, maybe during your ideal day you spend five minutes in the morning meditating or doing yoga. Focus on doing this small habit every day for the next few weeks. Once it becomes habit, move on to the next thing on your “perfect day” list.
Think positive thoughts.
Harness the power of positive thinking, which is supported by mountains of empirical evidence. Your days unfold in accordance with your thoughts. So work on keeping those thoughts positive, even when you’re stressed. Identify the triggers that make you upset each day, and start changing those thought patterns. For example, maybe you hate traffic and slow drivers cause you to go mad on a regular basis. Try bringing an audio CD in your car that contains soothing music or an audio book about positive thinking and happiness. This will help curtail some of those angry thoughts. Negativity arises from habits but you can un-learn these habits with practice.
Start doing work you love.
What do you love to do? What type of work makes you happiest? Take some time to think about the answers to those questions. Then start doing it. Love to write? Start a blog or journal. Love playing music? Then set aside 15 minutes each day to do it. The key here is to just start. Once you habitually do the things you love, you’ll be much closer to achieving the vision of your perfect day.
More than anything else, creating better habits will help you accomplish your goals and cultivate your ideal day. In Charles Duhigg’s insightful book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, he talks about using the cue-routine-reward approach to developing better habits. Here’s how to do it:
- Take your written version of your ideal day you created and identify the specific behaviors needed for each part of your day (i.e. doing yoga). Start with one behavior at a time.
- Identify your cue for the behavior you want to form into a habit. For example, if your ideal day includes doing yoga, your cue might be “waking up” or “getting home from work.”
- Start working on this habit every day (for just five minutes to start).
- Take one minute every day to recognize the reward you’re getting from this new habit. For example, if you do yoga you’ll probably experience increased flexibility and an increased sense of self. Allow yourself to anticipate these rewards every day.
- Once this habit has become ingrained, move on to the next behavior.
Manage your time better.
We waste an incredible amount of time each day. Creating habits is the first step toward automating how you spend your time, but there are several other strategies you can use too, like these:
- Delegate tasks.
- Check email only once or twice a day.
- Talk on the phone as little as possible.
- Set timers to increase productivity.
- Commit to watching just one hour of TV per day (most people watch three to four).
Measure your progress.
Make checklists and to-do lists your best friends. They help you measure your progress toward your ideal day. Keep a daily planner, and at the start of each day write at the top: “Actions I will take today to get closer to my ideal day.” Write down your action steps, then check things off as you do them. I personally use this strategy, and it works.
Keep focusing on the journey.
Don’t get caught up on the end goal. Creating your ideal day is about the journey–those day-to-day action steps that culminate into healthy, efficient, productive behaviors. You have the power to create your own happiness. Life is simple, so stop over-analyzing and start doing. If you fail, so what? You’ll learn from those missteps. You won’t learn from doing nothing. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create. So go out and start creating your ideal day right now.