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As we welcomed in the new year, many people were making resolutions, but by now, less than two months later, many of these resolutions already have been abandoned. I prefer to set goals rather than make a laundry list of “should do’s” that I probably will give up after a couple of weeks because they are just so dull, tedious and uninspiring! I promise you that the exercise I’m suggesting in this post will be a lot of fun, and you’ll probably really enjoy doing it!
What I want to encourage you to do is imagine your ideal life, the life you would want to live right now, if you had absolutely no restrictions. This is the time to let go of any limitations, such as money, time, circumstances, age…anything. The only rule is that the life you imagine must be a life that would suit YOU as the person YOU are. It has to be believable for you, or it won’t work. In other words, it would be of no use to picture yourself as President of the United States, if you have no interest in politics and would never run for public office. Nor would it be realistic to imagine that you are another person entirely (i.e., your favorite celebrity or public figure). This would be so beyond the realm of possibility that you would not be able to really “get into” the whole exercise. You can imagine your fondest dreams, but they need to be YOUR dreams; they need to be something in which you can really believe!
Are we alone the “manifesters” of our destiny, of our goals? My personal belief is that all creative forces originate with God, or whatever you choose to call the Higher Power that created all things. I do, however, believe that we must open the door to God’s creative power by doing our part to formulate in our own mind what we would like our destiny to be, and the goals we would like to accomplish. God does not want us to be passive puppets who just wait around for God to act. God expects us to order our priorities, use our gifts, set reasonable, high-minded goals, and seek God’s help in attaining them.
Having said that, give your imagination free rein and ask yourself: “If I could have any situation I wanted, what sort of life do I feel would make me happy at this time?” I specify “at this time,” because our idea of what constitutes an ideal life changes and evolves as we do. Don’t worry about whether or not you might change your mind one day…this exercise is for now. Free yourself from the fear that it needs to be written in stone. This is YOUR Ideal Life, and it will develop and change as you do.
Here are some suggested questions to guide you on this imaginative journey. Jot down your answers in your journal or a notebook for further development later on. Take as much time as you need to formulate your answers. This should be an enjoyable, relaxing and uplifting pastime – no pressure. Do not get bogged down or discouraged by thinking about what your life is right now. Just let yourself dream!
In your ideal life:
- Where would you be living (town, state, country)? Near the ocean, in the mountains, in a big city? Warm climate; four-season climate; colder climate with lots of snow, where you could enjoy winter sports?
- Who would you be living with (if anyone)? Would you have a spouse, partner, any children, any pets?
- What things would be in your environment that would make you happy (furnishings, vehicles, other possessions)?
- How would you look? What would you be wearing?
- How much money would make you feel secure and comfortable?
- What would be your ideal job/career?
- If you are retired or don’t prefer a career, what is the ideal way you would spend your time most days?
- What talent or skill would you excel at and spend a lot of your time using?
- Would you travel, and if so, where would you go?
- What would you love to accomplish?
- What would you like to leave behind as your legacy to the world? For what would you most like to be remembered?
One effective way to come up with answers is to imagine how you would feel if you found out that you had only another year to live. At first, this might seem morbid, but if you give it a try, suddenly all those unachieved goals, latent talents and unresolved issues would become front-and-center in your life. Use this as a jumping-off point to discover what really matters to you.
Now that you have your answers written down, tweak them so that they become realistic enough to be believable. For instance, if you answered that “a billion dollars” would make you feel secure and comfortable, honestly ask yourself if you really would need or be able to handle that large an amount. Would an extra $100,000, $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 give you peace of mind? This is a personal thing; everyone’s needs and comfort levels are different. It’s true that some people will never feel secure no matter how much money they have, and this usually stems from much more deep-seated fears and insecurities, which need to be further explored. But most of us have a “magic number” that we feel would do the trick.
If your dream is to be a Broadway star or a famous singer, this could be a possibility for some of you, but could you still be happy if you performed in community theatre, or sang with a band at local venues? Sometimes all we want is a chance to share our talents and shine a little bit, even if we never become superstars. After all, we know that in many instances, fame and fortune do not always equal happiness.
After you have gone through your list of answers and come up with versions of them that seem believable to you, the next step is to formulate them into actual goals. I heard a great quote recently: “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Dreaming alone will never help us achieve anything; we need to unite dreaming with planning and action. Some of these goals will be short-term; others might take months, and still others years. It doesn’t matter. All that matters right now is that you create a plan that will bring you step-by-step closer to your dreams.
From time to time in upcoming posts, we’ll explore more techniques to bring planning and action to your dreams to help them to manifest. For now, I wish all of you the best as you create YOUR “Ideal Life.” May all your dreams come true!
Next time: The Power of Visual Imagery