Gosh I love the first week of January. To me, the start of the brand new year is bursting with promise and anticipation, and it’s blissfully free of the cynicism and weariness that so often attach themselves to us like limpets* as the days, weeks and months wear on. Each year brings with it a chance to start afresh, set shiny new goals, dream big bold dreams, chase the perfect day. Living the lifestyle I do, I rarely know where I’ll be 12 months later. This means that I always view the expanse of time stretching out before me with anticipation and excitement. Every new year is full of possibility. What new adventures await me? How do I want my year to turn out, and what can I do now to set myself on that path?

 But it wasn’t always this way.

Although most of my career has been spent contracting or consulting, there were a few years where I was a regular employee. Back during those dark days (kiddingnotkidding) the only good thing about the first week of the year was the holiday on New Year’s Day. And even then, I more often than not spent half the day hungover.

As a permanent employee, I had a really good idea of what my next 12 months would look like: the kind of work I’d be doing, where I’d be living, how much money I’d earn each month, and the exact chair in which my butt would be nestled by 9:15am every weekday. I understand that to some people, this type of stable and predictable life provides security, comfort, and happiness. But to me…urgh…it felt like a prison sentence.

I wanted the world to be my oyster, not to be worrying about fare increases for my Oyster card.

Now before you start shouting at me, I know that there are plenty of people in stable jobs who view the new year with excitement, who have challenging goals and thrilling adventures planned or anticipated during the year ahead. But I most certainly wasn’t one of them. After a few decades on this planet, I know myself well enough to know that I need chunks of open, unplanned space in my calendar to be truly happy.

So I’ve designed a life that gives me exactly that.

Now whenever a business or life opportunity comes up, I assess it according to whether it aligns with the vision I have for my life. So, for example, an offer to work on a project that requires me to be in a specific city for than a few months at a time is instantly declined.

In fact, anything that requires me to be in an office at set hours more than a couple of days a week genuinely makes me feel a little sick in the stomach. Being forced to sit in a certain chair at a certain desk at a certain time every single day and to “switch on” according to an arbitrary schedule does not work for me. That is not the type of environment I need to be productive, creative and successful. So choosing to spend five out of every seven days of my life in such an environment just seems insane. And another thing….[753 word rant redacted]….

* Takes a deep breath *

Right, so, let’s get back to the point of this post. What was it again? Ah yes…

The Perfect Day

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to The Perfect Day exercise. This is exactly what it sounds like, an exercise in which you imagine in great detail what happens during your ideal day. Doing this exercise will clarify what’s important to you, and gives you a vision you can aspire to achieve. There are countless stories of people doing this whose perfect days became a reality years later. So what have you got to lose by creating your own?

Nothing! Nothing, I tells ya!

So let’s do this now. Here’s how it works.

First, grab yourself a pen and paper.

(Yes, okay, you can do this on your ‘device’ if you like. But pen and paper is better.)

Now I want you to write down, in as much detail as possible, what happens on your perfect day. See it, imagine it, walk yourself through that day minute by minute. Take note of what you see, who you’re with, how you feel.

What time do you wake up?

Is there anyone with you?

What does your bedroom look like? Or your tent? Or your hammock?

What sounds do you hear?

What do you see outside your window?

What’s the first thing you do when you get up?

Do you head out to work in an office or do you work from home? Or a coffee shop? Or a co-working space?

What do you wear for your working day?

Where do you eat your meals?

What type of food are you eating?

Walk yourself through the day step-by-step, minute by minute, and write down what you see and feel.

You get the picture. I’m going to wait here now until you’ve finished doing that.

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This is me, waiting for you.

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No pressure. Take your time.

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You’re done? Congratulations!

Perfect Day

This was a pretty sweet day (Capetown, South Africa)

It’s fun, isn’t it? Imagining your perfect day? Now comes the really interesting part.

Next, I want you to have a read through the perfect day you just outlined and compare it to your current everyday day.

What’s different? What changes would you need to make to bring yourself closer to your perfect day?

The more frequently you imagine and think about this perfect day, the more likely it is that you’ll manifest it. And no, by “manifest” I don’t mean that a beachfront home and sexy Latino lover (no? just me?) will magically drop out of the sky. In fact, the more times you mentally walk yourself through your perfect day, the more the idea of that being your real life is embedded in your subconscious. And your subconscious is going to do all it can to help you make it happen.

Maybe you’ll notice opportunities that you would otherwise have missed. Maybe you’ll mention what your perfect car looked like to a colleague, who remembers you weeks later when she sees an advertisement for that same car for sale. Or maybe you’ll simply get off your butt and start looking for a new job that looks more like the one you saw yourself with in the perfect day exercise.

Get your subconscious on the case, and you’ve taken the first steps to manifesting your perfect day.

What kind of lifestyle would you like to manifest? Share the highlights of your perfect day in the comments below.

* This is something my Grandma says. I had to Google what a limpet actually is. Surprisingly, they’re kinda pretty 🙂