One of the most common things that’s done in the beginning of any self-improvement journey is to imagine what you’d like to be like, to discover your ideal life, to visualize, to make a bucket list, and to set some goals.
This is done to not only keep you motivated and to get you to make something in your mind to shoot for, but it’s honestly a lot of fun…Well at least the visualizing part is, sometimes writing down goals can be a bit boring.
But I want you to take a moment and answer this question:
“If you could do anything without a chance of failure, and without constraints of time and money, what would you do? Are you the exact type of person you want to be right now?”
If you didn’t answer “YES! I’m doing everything I want to be doing right now and I’m exactly where I want to be,” then something is wrong, and that’s OK. You’re here to make progress.
The most confident people are those that are pursuing their visions and dreams RELENTLESSLY. When you’re the type of person who keeps moving along his or her path, you’re subconsciously building up your self-esteem, brick-by-brick, step-by-step. By dumping in LOADS of effort into your own goals and dreams, you’re feeding your subconscious mind with thought patterns of, “What I want matters. I matter.” This is all you need.
So that’s what you’ll be doing today: You’ll be asking questions that get you thinking about your ideal life, from who you want to hang around with, to where you want to live, and more. I constantly do this sort of exercise, but especially focus on it with setting goals every year. I’ve created a process for you, building on elements from Mark Manson’s Life Purpose Report.
To determine your ideal life and where you’d like to be.
1. Leave some space for yourself to do this.
Pick a time today where you have a few hours free. This specific exercise NEEDS to not be rushed. Give yourself space-this is your life we’re talking about!
2. Draw up your bucket list.
Take out your journal. Spend 20 minutes (you should actually set a timer) to write down EVERYTHING you’d like to do before you die. This is also known as creating a bucket list and I mean everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s crazy, big, small, with or without others, just don’t filter and write. It doesn’t matter how hard it gets at the end, keep going until the timer runs out. For example, you might write:
- Climb a glacier
- Get married
- Race a car through Paris
- See the Pyramids
- Speak in front of 1,000+ people
3. Where do you want to be in 5 years (long-term planning)?
Think about where you’d like your life to be in 5 years time, thinking a bit long-term. You’ll be putting elements of your bucket list into this as you write and trying to figure out how to piece everything together, tapping into what you really want deep down. Chances are, once you finish this, your mind will be thinking of ways to connect how to get your bucket list done and to live your ideal life. Open to a new page in your journal and time another 20 minutes to answer the following prompt:
“Describe your ideal life five years from now. Describe it in as much detail as possible. Describe where you would live, what you would do each day, what job youʼd have, who youʼd spend your time with, and what youʼd spend your time doing.” Take your time and be as specific as possible. Here are some of the things you might want to think about:
- What type of job do you want to have?
- Where do you want to travel to and live?
- What type of experiences do you want to have?
- Do you want to be married? Dating one person or multiple people? Do you want to be single?
4. Where do you want to be in one year (short-term planning)?
Now that you have done that step and thought about your life in the long term, it’s time to think in the short-term, say in one year’s time. Repeat step #3 but make the time-frame within one year from now. Because the timeframe is much shorter, the steps shouldn’t seem as unattainable, and be more action-focused. E.g., in five years you might want to have a freelance business making $150K+ a year, but that’s probably not realistic in one year (speaking from personal experience, *ahem*). But, you might say that you could be realistically making $2-3K in freelance income a month by year’s end. You also might not have found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with in a year (although it could happen), but finding a boyfriend or girlfriend is definitely possible.
5. Create a vision board with things you want in your life.
Finally, you’re going to create a small vision board with some elements of what you want in your life. Find pictures or images representing some of your bucket list items, five-year goals, and one-year goals. Put them together in some sort of image editing software, or print them out and paste them into your journal. You could also get a separate poster board, paste the pictures on it, and hang it in your room. Have fun with this! You might also want to start setting some of these images as rotating backgrounds on your computer screen to keep you motivated. For example as of writing this book, the two cities I want to visit the most are Seoul and Tokyo, so I have images of those cities rotating. As well, I have pictures of my friends because they are my lifeblood, and I do everything I can to spend time and travel the world with them.
By the end of this exercise you’ll probably be EXHAUSTED, but great job. We’ve started to really dig deep and find out what you really want. I almost guarantee that you’ll feel instantly happier by doing this, truly uncovering what you’d like to accomplish and get in your life.
6. Meditate on the following writing prompts:
- Did you find yourself filtering what you wanted or could accomplish in your life? Did you start thinking, “I don’t deserve this,” or, “I can’t get that?” Why do you think that might be? Why can’t you get what you want?
- Who do you think is really stopping you from getting the things that you want in your life? Is it your parents, the government, you, the opposite sex…?
- Have you ever done this type of exercise before? Have you ever accomplished some of the goals you set out for yourself, or did you fall short?
- How would it feel like if you actually created all this as a reality for yourself? What would it be like if what you outlined today actually came to pass and be the life you live everyday?