“You are what you do — so ask yourself whenever you’re doing something: Is this reflective of the person I want to be?” -Ryan Holiday
One of the greatest turning points in my life occurred about 6 months ago when I asked myself, “What do I want my life to look like in 5 years?”
I took a piece of paper and titled it, “My life 5 years from now.” On that piece of paper some of the things I wrote were:
- How do I want to feel about myself 5 years from now? Incredibly proud and fulfilled with my work.
- How do I want to spend the majority of my time 5 years from now? Reading, writing, working out and traveling.
When I looked over the life I’d so meticulously detailed on paper I asked,
“If I repeated my current daily actions for the next 5 years would I find myself living this life?”
The truth is, I couldn’t say I would have. My daily activities weren’t taking me where I wanted to go; they were with the future I planned to create.
At this realization, I changed things up.
I started to act based on where I wanted to be, rather than where I currently was. Because it’s what you do in the present that determines what you experience and who you become in the future.
Or as Eckhart Tolle put it,
“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.”
Herein lies how to create any future you desire.
Let me explain.
If You Change Your Daily Routine, You’ll Change Your Life
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell
We all have 24 hours in a day. Nothing differentiates there. What changes is how people choose to spend that 24 hours when building a life.
It can either be invested toward the future or whittled away in the present.
It can be time spent with purpose and conviction or it can be used carelessly and aimlessly.
Thus, the best question to ask when creating your ideal future is;
What does my ideal day look like?
You probably can’t live your ideal life if you can’t get a single day right. But if you can get your days right, you can get your weeks right, your months, years and ultimately life.
So, what does your ideal day actually look like? What would you have to do today, tomorrow, and so on in order to be living exactly how you want to be living?
W. Edwards Deming has said,
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Do you know what you’re doing? What is the process of going from where you are now to the future you want to be living?
“The fastest way to move forward in life is not doing more. It starts with stopping the behaviors holding you back.” -Benjamin P.Hardy
Many people right now are on a never-ending treadmill; they are doing more and more work but staying in the same place.
Without the removal of negative behaviors before the addition of positive ones, they are taking one step forward followed by one step back and getting nowhere.
Hence, the fastest way to move forward in life is not about doing more, but doing less.
If you want to constantly live your ideal day, you should first let go of the behaviors weighing you down before trying to run any faster.
As your days become more reflective of your values and goals, your confidence will increase. You’ll have more evidence that you’re on the path towards your dreams, and as a result, you’ll be more open to taking risks.
Your creativity will spike. You’ll be juggling on the edge of, “this might not work” and “my success is inevitable.”
Your work and life will become more fluid. You’ll be making an endless array of progress all because you finally let go of what was holding you back.
Don’t spend any longer than needed in unnecessary pain.
As Benjamin P. Hardy wrote in his book, Willpower Doesn’t Work,
“Don’t spend your life — or even one night — in unnecessary pain. Do the work up front to lighten the shackles around your ankles. Remove the gravitational pull forcefully keeping you in an atmosphere you can’t thrive in.”
You create your ideal life by living powerfully and congruently each day.
You start by defining the future you wish to create and then bring it back to the present.
What activities would you have to do today, tomorrow, and so on in order to be living exactly how you want to be living?
As you begin to forge your ideal day, start by removing conflicting behaviors before doing anything more. You can’t have confidence if what you say, and what you do are incongruent.
Finally, you string together enough ideal days and you build your ideal life.