The Ideal Life

You’ll never wake up to an Ideal Life.
You have to chip away at it every. single. day.

The Ideal Life Exercise is a method to help you examine what it is you really want for your life, based on what it is that makes you unique: your hopes, your values, your childhood dreams, your talents, your circumstances.

This plan prompts you to examine nineteen facets of your life, one-per-day over three weeks, Each exercise can take as much time per day as you want it to take. But doing it every. single. day. will be the marker of your success.

Do you want to be, or do you want not to be?

To be, or not to be, that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them. 

Hamlet, obviously. But also: You

Most of us, fortunately or unfortunately, do not face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. However, we also lack the arms to oppose that sea of troubles.

The Ideal Life Exercise is our best weapon start being.

Here is an overview of the Idea Life Method:

Part One:

In my Ideal Life I am a person who…

Answer this question. Fifty ways. Three hundred ways. As many ways as you need to, until you can think of nothing more to say.

The question is not about what someone else does. It is not about things you have. It is about who you are in your Ideal Life.

Part Two:

Identify your Big Ideas

Once you have exhausted all your In my Ideal Life I am a person who… statements, start studying your answers. You are looking for themes. Key words. Categories.

There will be overarching ideas. For me, the big themes are: joy, contentment, consistency, discernment and wisdom. For others who are doing the exercise: security, creativity, discretion, honesty and simplicity.

Independent of any specific desire we have for our lives, these guardrails are what we want the shape of our lives to look like. They may sound like a long laundry list of virtues, of character traits, of unattainable ideals.

That’s okay, because in the next step we are going to make them more manageable.

Part Three:

Identify your Ideal Life Themes

You know what the pillars of your Ideal Life look like now. But how do you bring those into your daily life? How do you make those a reality?

Go back to your In My Ideal Life I am a person who… statements. Reread them for larger baskets of ideas that can group them together.

Some ideas: Career. Family. Health. Marriage. House. Relationships. Travel. Garden. Spiritual Life. Mental Health. Rest. Music. Schedule. Sexuality. Commitments. Decisions.

These themes are the individual ingredients that will make up your Ideal Life. These may shift a little bit as you move forward with your daily examination of them, but they will provide a smorgasbord of delicious options as you start making progress on following your bliss.

Part Four:

This is the hard part.

This is the part where you set your alarm for fifteen minutes earlier than you usually get up.

When your alarm rings, you go make your coffee, you sit down with your notebook and you take five minutes to answer four questions.

You are going to examine only one theme each day, but you need to turn this into a habit. Doing it every. single. day. is the only way to make that happen.

Here are the four points you are going to cover, notebook in hand:

  1. What is working in this area of my life?
  2. What isn’t working in this area of my life?
  3. What are some things I need to be thinking about in this area? Ideas I’ve had, worries I’ve had, articles I’ve read, conversations I’ve had?
  4. What is one concrete thing I can do today to impact this area of my life.
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