This time last year I was feeling rather lost. I knew I wasn’t happy with the way things were but I was unsure of the direction I should take to change it and where I really wanted to be. I felt like a failure in my job and I didn’t feel like I was contributing anything of value to the world. The problem was that I was comfortable.
I could pay my bills I had a nice flat to live in I had an amazing circle of friends around. I was working for a repeatable company which sounded great on paper. Often big changes come from hitting rock bottom as you have nothing left to lose. Making big changes when you are comfortable takes even more courage.
On my way to work one day I listened to a podcast from the “Mindset with Muscle” show by Jamie Alderton called Plan your perfect day with Isiah Hankel. This podcast was one of those light bulb moments which has changed my outlook and direction in life making 2016 my most productive year yet.
Plan your perfect day is about having the end in mind. The end isn’t the promotion or that new car. Those are just mile stones in the journey. The bigger picture is living your perfect day.
We can also equate this to fitness goals. The goal isn’t to lose weight. The ultimate goal is to live a lighter, healthier more confident life which will come from losing the weight. The fat loss is just a part of the journey.
Once I had planned my perfect day I could see that I needed flexibility. I wanted to have children, a career and an exercise routine. I blocked out areas for time with my friends and boyfriend, reading and meditating. I saw that service and helping others was important. It highlighted my values. From there I was able to work backwards to put milestones and more short term goals in place. Making decisions became easier. Will this contribute to the life I want to be living every day? Yes or no?
Since then things didn’t quite turn out how I expected! I trained to be a personal trainer, waking up at 5am every day to study. I even moved back home with mum (at nearly the age of 30) to be able to change career. To be honest I felt pretty low at this point, wondering if it was all worth it. Just as I was qualifying as a personal trainer I was offered a job at Adidas in Germany! Without hesitation I was able to say yes to the opportunity as I knew it was taking me closer to my perfect day. At the time it was scary and I would regularly wonder if I was doing the right thing! Retraining, moving home, moving country but I am so proud looking back that I stuck with it and raised my expectation of myself as it has completely changed my life.
The below information is taken from Isiah Hankels blog post. I strongly recommend you look at his other work too.
You have to raise your expectations and never settle.
The Pygmalion effect is a phenomenon where the greater the expectation placed upon a person, the better he or she performs. In 1968, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson performed experiments where they gave every student in a single California elementary school a disguised IQ test without disclosing the scores to the school’s teachers.
The teachers were told that some of their students (about 20% of the school chosen at random) could be expected to be “spurters” that year, doing better than expected in comparison to their classmates. In reality, these spurters had the same or lower IQs than the other students.The spurters’ names were made known to the teachers. At the end of the study, every student was again tested with the same IQ test.
The spurters showed large gains compared to everyone else, even though their initial IQ scores were the same or lower. The experimenters concluded that merely increasing expectations can dramatically enhance achievement.
Here is how to create your perfect day
The reason you’re stuck and miserable in life is not because others are holding you back. It’s not because you were born with an unfair disadvantage either. The real reason you feel trapped is because your expectations are too low. You’ve settled and stopped creating new futures for yourself. The only way to get unstuck again is to unsettle. You need to raise the expectations for your life by creating a bold vision for your future. The key is to create this future with no regard to where you are presently. It’s impossible to break free into a radically improved life by trickling forward. Small tweaks to your daily schedule will not lead you to the life you’ve always imagined.
Instead, you need to step outside of yourself and design a perfect day based on your future self, not your current self.
1. Ignore other peoples expectations for your life.
Like everyone else, you’re wired to chase other people’s approval and other people’s small-minded goals. The first step to raising your expectations of your own life is letting go of other people’s expectations. What other people want for you and your life does not matter. You must be ruthless about this. If you’re not, you will never be anything more than average and your life will never be anything other than boring. Let go of your feelings of guilt and obligation, even those directed towards friends and family members. Only then will you be in a position to set your own expectations for your life.
2. Step outside yourself to create new expectations.
Have you ever thought about what you could do if you really decided to? Not what skills, education, or talents you have or can achieve, but what is really possible for you. It may not happen right away, or without a lot of work, but everything is certainly within your ultimate grasp.
There are two beliefs you should live your life by…
First, you can do anything you want in this life. Human beings have sent people to the moon, eradicated deadly diseases, and connected the world with the Internet. Anything is possible. Second, life really is a journey, not a destination. Human beings are 5% matter and 95% constant will, so to speak. Constant will, or constant desire, by definition, is never satisfied.
No matter what you succeed in doing, you will want to succeed at doing something else afterwards.
If you don’t, you’ll retire and slowly die. This is because challenging events are required for health, happiness, and longevity. Given these two beliefs, that anything is possible and life is a journey, the best course of action is to create a massive vision for your future and work as long as it takes to fulfil it. By doing this, you will raise the bar on your life and, by raising the bar, you will raise the expectations for your life. You must believe that big things are possible for your life. You must expect it. Only then will you be able to rise to meet these expectations.
The key is to raise your expectations by stepping outside of yourself.
Don’t look at your current position in life and your current reality and try to mould it into a better you and a better future. Instead, imagine yourself as a new person. Create a new, future persona for yourself. Give this persona a name and design your future based on what’s possible for this person, not for your current self.
3. Design your perfect day and make decisions based on it.
Your future, your ultimate endpoint, is simply a list of actions that you want to wake up and do on a daily basis.
Together, these actions make up your perfect day.
First, you must create a wish list of all the daily actions you love doing. Do you love to travel? Do you love to write, read, hike, run, create, and connect? How exactly do you love doing these actions? How much time do you want to spend each day doing these actions?
What actions does your future persona love doing?
Make a giant list without discounting anything as impossible. Next, map out all the actions on your list onto a perfect day calendar like the one below.
Don’t worry about making the actions overly specific and don’t obsess about making your perfect day rigid.
The goal is to create a filter for your life, not a cage.
For example, you might travel on some days or have unexpected events to attend to on other days. You don’t have to account for every possibility in your perfect day. The key is to simply create an ideal for you to compare your current life against—to define your ideal future position so you can work backwards to connect it to your current position.
Here are some perfect day examples from last season’s Escape Plan members…
Again, your perfect day is meant to serve as a filter through which you can make all major life decisions against.
When considering a job, you’ll ask, “How will this affect my perfect day, or not?”
When considering a relationship, you’ll ask, “Will this relationship bring me closer to my perfect day, or not?”
By building your perfect day, you can gain an exceptional amount of clarity over your life. Tossing aside other people’s expectations for your life and raising your own expectations for your future will put you on a path for increased happiness and success. Remember to design your perfect day based on your ideal life. Step outside of yourself and craft a day that a new, improved, and different you would live. Don’t limit yourself by simply tweaking your current reality. Instead, map out a bold vision for future and use it as a filter for all the major decisions in your life.
To find more of Isiah Hankels work visit www.isaiahhankel.com