The reason I am so passionate about business planning is because I believe in the magic that happens when we commit our plans to paper. Even if you create a simple list of five things you want to achieve this year or this quarter, writing them down changes the energy around them and makes them far more likely to happen for you.
Most of us have big crazy dreams, for our businesses, families and lives. Sometimes it is hard to know where to start when it comes to business planning, or even goal setting. Even when we know the worth of writing them down the task can seem daunting. Perhaps you are finding it hard to define clear goals, you might have a vague idea of what you want but you’re not sure how to set goals around achieving it.
It can be hard figuring out what exactly what you want for your business and which path you want to take in life.
This exercise might help.
Defining your ideal day
I am sure many of you have heard or read about this exercise before, but have you tried it? I can not speak enough to the value of this exercise. It was absolutely pivotal in my decision to launch my coaching business and run the first Artful Business Conference back in 2012 and it has again been an incredible tool to help me redefine my path and rediscover my passion and motivation after losing my way late last year.
There are two parts to this exercise.
First you need to write out your perfect day. Give yourself an hour two to complete this task.
Let your mind relax, find somewhere you can sit and be calm and comfortable. Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes.
Imagine living your perfect day.
Visualise yourself going through your entire perfect day – hour by hour – from the moment you wake up, take a shower, have breakfast, go about your daily activities, right up to the moment you go to sleep.
Then open your eyes and write out in as much detail as possible the day you’ve just imagined.
Here are some prompts to help you:
- Where are you living?
- What does your home look like?
- What time in the morning are you waking up?
- Who is lying next to you?
- What are the smells around you?
- What are you eating for breakfast? What time do you eat?
- How do you spend your morning?
- Do you work out? What kind of sports or hobbies do you enjoy doing?
- Do you have children? How old are they? What do they look like?
- What kind of food do you like to eat for lunch? Who is sitting at the table with you?
- What kinds of people do you call your friends? How do you connect with them?
- What kind of conversations do you have with them?
- What kind of work do you do? How successful is your business?
- What time do you start work?
- How many hours do you work each day or week?
- Do you sell products or services – or both? What does this look like?
- What are your clients like? How much are they paying you?
- What’s your relationship like with your partner or spouse and your family?
- How do you spend family time together?
- What do you eat for dinner? Where do you have dinner?
- What do you talk about at dinner? Who else is there?
- What kind of clothes are you wearing?
- How do you spend your evening?
- Who do you spend your time with?
- What are your last thoughts before you fall asleep?
The second part of the exercise is to pick one element of your perfect day and start living it now. Incorporate it into your daily life for the next month and see how it fits and feels.
You might not be able to work the hours you want, or live in your dream home but there are ways you can get closer to your ideal day right now. Maybe you get up 30 min earlier so you have time to do work that matters to you. Perhaps you turn off all the devices for an hour a day, or a day a week, so you connect better with your family. Find something that is achievable that matters to you and commit to it for the next month.
Why it helps
This exercise will help you get clear on what matters most to you. You will learn something about how you want to live your life and then you can determine the goals you need to pursue to move closer to the kind of future you desire.
Clarifying your ideal day will also spur you into action and kept you motivated when things have gone wrong. If you struggling to get going you can come back and read about the day you have described and remind yourself what you are working towards.
I have also found when I do the exercise that often my current day to day is more like my ideal day than I realise and this exercise makes me incredibly grateful for the life I have and for how far I have already come.
After a week or so of knowing your ideal day, and incorporating an element or two in your life you will be able to sit down and write a list of things you need to achieve to move towards this life you desire.
Don’t overwhelm yourself or try to create a complete list, simply write down five to ten goals that will get you closer to living your ideal day.
Then list out three actions you can take for each goal. Put a DONE BY date next to each action. And BAM – you just set 15-30 actionable tasks for your business that will help to get you where YOU want to go.
See, goal setting can be fun and exciting.
Feel free to share your experience of completing this exercise, or maybe you would like to commit to some of your goals in the comments below – I am happy to help keep you accountable and check in with your progress.
What does your ideal day look like?