In this post, I'll show you how you can have the perfect day. Before you start to get worried though, let me assure you that I'm not resorting to magic, I'm not selling you anything and it's not going to take much work.
It's simply about identifying effective daily habits that in time should become effortless for you.
Your perfect day should be when you've implemented all your daily practices. For me it's the core component of any personal development push and it's a great way to bring about positive, long-term results.
It's all about making it as painless as possible and using as little willpower as you can.
Here's an example of where it goes wrong. Imagine it's January 2nd and you're about to return to work after Christmas. You have a long list of resolutions that include losing weight, getting fit and giving up smoking.
Now imagine your natural glucose level to be an energy bar like you'd find in a computer game.
This is what controls your willpower, so image how quickly this will drain just getting through your first day back after the break. Do you really think you'll be up to a heavy gym session after a hard day given how cold it is outside, and can you really resist that tasty snack or cigarette?
Whatever happens, you probably won't feel good. The whole push is also likely to be forgotten within a week and the frustration will be unbearable. I'm not telling you this to taunt you though, I'm telling you this so you'll appreciate the ideas I'm about to share with you.
The trick here is to establish simple habits and make them automatic if you want to see results.
We do this by identifying the things that could help us, deciding when we will do them and what will be our 'triggers'.
Although I've suggested various daily 'Slots' on the site, the ideas below should be helpful for most people. You don't need to do all of these, and even just one of them could make a difference.
Even if you're not actively trying to lose weight, weighing yourself every day can reduce the risk of nasty surprises and it should keep you focused on eating in moderation. If you are trying to make changes though, it's a great way of focussing your attention on what you're doing and it's best to do it first thing in the morning.
Your trigger for this could be when you brush your teeth.
This is a simple exercise where you simply write out whatever's on your mind. Just set a timer for about ten minutes and see what happens. It's all about 'taming the monkey mind' and you should feel a lot more focused after you've done this.
Your trigger for this exercise could be when you eat breakfast.
Like your daily weigh, this is a great exercise that will help you focus on what you're eating and hopefully stop you overdoing it. All you have to do is note down everything you eat or take a picture of it. This should also encourage you to only eat at meal times as well.
You need to get used to triggering this helpful practice every time you eat.
Just ten minutes of meditation each day can have a significant effect over time. All you need to do is set aside the time and sit there. This really is something we should all aim for and you should really notice the difference after just a few days.
If you set aside a regular time for this each day, it should be really easy to trigger it by just watching the clock.
Even if you've left your office, there has to be a time when you actually finish work for the day. Just taking five minutes or so to clear out all your email, update your calendars and to-dos and make sure you're ready for the next day can really make a difference. It also helps you draw a line and put all your personal and professional work behind you, so you can relax and be assured that you won't get any nasty surprises.
You really need to trigger this at some point in the evening, so maybe try this after eating your evening meal.
This is a great idea from David Allen that he presents as part of his GTD system. It's all about getting ideas out of your head and into a system, so you can free up you 'mental RAM' for something else. Unlike morning pages, this is about practical ideas and things you need to do, rather than how you feel, and I think it's helpful to set up a Trello board to do this.
You can trigger this as soon as you've finished your daily sort.
Keeping a journal can help us reflect and show our appreciation for things. It can also help you keep track of a personal development push and record all your 'wins'. It's easy to do and it really comes in handy if you ever need to remember what you've been doing.
You could make this one of the last things you do each day and perhaps trigger it when you're getting ready to settle down.
We could all probably benefit from being more active, so why not set yourself a simple target each day. This could be a short walk, a run, cycle ride or a gym session. Just a simple walk during your lunch break could make a difference and become an effective daily habit.
You can trigger this by aiming to be active at a set time every day, like the start of your lunch hour.
I think the connection between learning and self-improvement is often overlooked. Whatever you want to do with your life, it's a safe bet that there are some useful resources out there for you. Why not set aside some time each day for helpful news feeds, articles and development books?
You can trigger this at a set time every day and it would be a great way to pass the time if you commute on a bus or a train.
So that's it, these are my ideas but it's up to you to go out and decide what's best for you. As I've said, I've suggested a number of 'Slots' in each area of The Simplicity System and the whole thing is designed to give you great ideas.
All you need to do is remember that we don't get unlimited willpower, so don't spread yourself too thinly and only concentrate on one aspect of personal development for the first 21 days.
Good luck with everything and I hope you soon see some results. Keep checking this blog as well for more ideas.
Photo by Nathan McBride on Unsplash