What does your perfect day look like? When you reflect on this question, what comes to mind? A few years ago, my answer would have been an elaborate and expensive travel fantasy of awakening to the dawn chorus of a tropical Balinese rainforest and practicing yoga on a deserted beach. Then I’d feast on a brunch of dragonfruit smoothies and coconut pancakes with almond butter, fueling up to hike up a volcano, basking in views over the ocean below. After reaching the summit, I’d zipline back down (yep, I’ve thought this through!) and spend the evening enjoying delicious food, live music and dancing under the stars at a campfire-lit beach gathering with all my favorite people.
However, even if I had the time, money and skill to organize “my perfect day,” this plan is inherently flawed. When your happiness depends on external factors, you need all those worldly factors to play out exactly as you’ve planned, or it won’t be perfect anymore. (Learn why in Finding Happiness.) And, as you know, even with the most meticulous planning and organization, life tends to have a knack for shaking things up a bit. In my perfect Balinese fantasy, what happens when mosquitoes plague my yoga practice, or an untimely rainstorm interrupts my hike? Mud and mosquito bites were definitely not part of the dream. Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself when you’ve looked forward to a special occasion for ages only to find it doesn’t live up to your expectations. In many ways the pressure of so much anticipation makes disappointment all the more likely.
Begin With Awareness
So, why not dig a little deeper? Rather than considering the worldly factors of your perfect day, try looking within. What would your mindset be on your ideal day? When you are at your absolute best and you are your most wonderful, magnificent and authentic self, how do you think, feel and behave? Because this is something you can control, keeping this awareness at the forefront of your mind is what will help you to reach that perfect day.
It starts with you and with clearly defining a vision for your mindset on your perfect day. Once you’ve sorted your head out, the rest will follow. How do you do that? Take 10 minutes to complete the following exercise.
Write a Vision Statement
Picture yourself on days when you are at your most radiant -- those days when you can take on the world and come out smiling. Close your eyes and visualize stepping into this image of yourself. Make it as bright, colorful and tangible as possible.
Now answer the following questions in full sentences in the present tense. Add as much detail as possible.
- How do you feel right now?
- How would other people describe you?
- How do you speak, move and behave?
- How do you respond to all the wonderful things that happens to you?
- How do you respond when things aren't going as planned?
The resulting statement is your manifestation for your perfect day. It might be something like:
I feel relaxed, happy and playful. Other people see me as warm, confident and charismatic and they enjoy being in my presence. I speak kindly and with absolute truth. I move with ease and grace. I behave according to my highest values, always making sure myself and those around me feel cared for and loved. I embrace all the wonderful things that come my way with gratitude and appreciation. When things aren't going as planned, I respond with equanimity and I remember to trust that everything is working out exactly as it should.
Feel free to play with your statement and adapt it until it reads exactly as you want it to. You might choose to add more details that work for your individual life; for example, how you react to specific situations or people on your perfect day. Make it work for you.
Make It a Mantra
This vision statement can become your perfect day mantra, and you should revisit it regularly. This may be by simply reading it to yourself daily, or you could amplify its power in any number of ways. You might:
- Read it out loud while looking at yourself in the mirror.
- Draw a visual representation of yourself on your perfect day.
- Create a "mood board" of images that you associate with your perfect mindset.
- Choose a song that suits your perfect day mood and listen to it every morning.
- Find a scent to associate with this perfect day mindset and wear it whenever you read the mantra.
Only a Day Away...
Know that the more you engage with your creativity, the closer you come to making it a reality. And the beauty of it is, it doesn’t cost a thing, and it won’t be ruined by unexpected weather, unforeseen circumstances or even mosquitoes. Your perfect day mindset is entirely within your control. (Continue reading in The Art of Mindfulness.)