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The Ideal Day Exercise



A few years ago when my oldest two children where quite small I found myself in a season of constant overwhelm. I knew I needed to get to the heart of what was really important to me in order to figure out the choices I made and the things I gave my time and energy to, but in truth even that felt overwhelming. Maybe you've been there?

There was a day when I managed to sneak off to a cafe by myself for an hour just me and my notebook, and as I was busy writing away the idea came to me to make a list of things I wanted to do every day. Not a list of goals but a list of activities, of things I enjoyed. As well as daily rituals I started to write down other things I wanted to do with my life, maybe not daily but at least with some regularity. And this is how The Ideal Day Exercise was born. It's ridiculously simple but it gave me a sort of clarity I'd never really had before.


When doing this exercise it helps if you can be somewhere quiet with a little bit of time to yourself. Speed is not of the essence, you don't have to do this quickly, it's more important that you really connect with your desires.

Think about some of the following;

  • What do you want to do when you wake up each morning?
  • How do you want to end your day?
  • What activities do you want to make time for?
  • If you choose to work what does this time look like for you?
  • Who do you want to spend your time with?

It's important that you are as specific as possible. I'll give you some of my own examples below to give you an idea. 

Some of the things on my Ideal Day List

- Have tea and a chat with my children every day after school 

- Spend my work time creating things

- Take time to make home-cooked meals

- Go on a date with my husband regularly

- End my day with some time alone, to pause and reflect

- Have day trips with my family, travel, explore

- Entertain friends and family at our home

Nowadays we are very influenced by goal setting and long term achievement, which is not intrinsically bad but it makes it so easy to take your eye of the ball of today, and if you do that for too long you can find you are not actually enjoying your days, at the service of some goal. When we think about a goal and why we want to achieve it, so often it will be because of the happiness we imagine it will bring us but you can take care of happiness now, in the every day moments. So often these every day choices will result in the achievement of a goals, sometimes one we didn't even know we had but that we are truly proud of. 

Anything we choose to do habitually will go on to become the way we live. I believe if you choose your daily habits wisely, you will create a life that brings you real joy.