[00:00:00] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Well hello, this is The Daily Five with Aurooba. That's me. Where we reflect on creating our best lives a little bit every day. Here we go.
[00:00:15] On this podcast, we talk about topics that theoretically should help us create a better life, a good life. Which begs the question, what does a better life look like? What does a good life look like?
[00:00:30] There are a lot of exercises out there to help you investigate what that means for you. There is the ideal day or perfect day exercise, where you list out what an ideal day in your life looks like and then you work towards making that come true. There are value based exercises to help you figure out what your values are and then work towards a life where you live as closely as possible to those values. And, you know, there's probably lots more that I don't know about or don't remember right now, even if I've read about them.\
[00:01:01] I think that the ideal exercise is a really interesting one. First off, I want to start off by saying that the ideal day may differ for you in different stages of your life. The ideal day for single you will be different from the ideal day if you're a parent versus if you're a student, for example. So, I don't think this is an exercise you do once. Instead, I think this is an exercise you should do at least once a year.
[00:01:30] Sometimes, it'll be the same as it was before. Other times, it'll have just little tweaks. And yet, other times, it'll start to look drastically different. For the most part, I think the changes tend to be subtle. But if you were to do it for, say, five years, the day you described in year one might be quite different from the day you described in year five.
[00:01:52] So, how do you do the Ideal Day exercise? In the simplest terms, the idea is you start from the moment you open your eyes until the moment you close your eyes for the night, and you describe your whole day in as much detail as possible. In excruciating detail, even. You learn a lot about yourself by doing the exercise, and it can help you take steps towards getting there too.
[00:02:20] The power of that excruciating detail in the exercise is that it can demonstrate to you how much effect small choices can have on your happiness and well being, and how some of those things that are part of your ideal day are probably not very hard to do and things that you could incorporate into your current life pretty easily.
[00:02:42] For example, perhaps in your ideal day, you get dressed and then you read a book for fifteen minutes every day. That's a small choice, and all it means is making just 15 minutes of room in your day, which is not wild. But 15 minutes of reading every day will add up, creating more satisfaction, learning, and all the goodness that comes from making some kind of literature a part of your life. Fiction or non fiction.
[00:03:13] Other times, the changes you need to make are big. and you'll have to break them down and figure out a way to get closer to them a little by little. But personally, it's those small choices that interest me most.
[00:03:28] To give a personal example, one of the Ideal Day exercises I did was what led me to stop consulting on my own and seek out a team to work with for a little while. It was a way to get part of what I wanted into my day, even though the overall Ideal Day involves many other things too. I'm an introvert, being with people can zap my energy. But I was no longer in an era of life where I wanted to be a lone wolf, as they say. The ideal day exercise doesn't have to take long, but it should take about, mm, half an hour or at least that much?
[00:04:05] For me it typically takes about an hour and I like to do it on paper. There's something about seeing it written down on paper and not being able to put it down as fast as you can think it up that forces you to deliberate more and be more conscious of what you're saying you want.
[00:04:21] So today I invite you to think about when you get set a little bit of time to go through this exercise if you've never done it before, and figure out what your ideal day looks like and how would that change the choices that you can make pretty soon to get closer to that ideal day.
[00:04:43] What can you do now and today, and quickly to make that better life happen for yourself?
[00:04:54] Thanks for listening. Same time tomorrow.