In 2021, give yourself the gift of the perfect day.
Early into pandemic, I stumbled into something that changed the course of most of 2020. I discovered The Perfect Day.
What’s the perfect day?
The perfect day is all the ingredients that go into setting yourself up for success every day.
In life, we fixate so much on goals and big plans, but often forget about the foundation that we need to create those goals and dreams. That’s where the perfect day comes in.
When we start a new project at work, we first establish a plan for what we need and then figure out all the ingredients that go into optimizing for success. We set goals and KPIs to measure our effectiveness. We assemble the team. Build out our rail charts and timelines. Establish a budget and lastly, create accountability for how we are going to make sure this gets done on time, on budget and gets done well.
In the world of self-help and mindset methods, we often neglect the most important plan of all: the one that primes our mind, body and spirit to support all the other outcomes that are important to us.
Particularly for those who are wired to be nurturers or caregivers (most often women), we usually take care of ourselves last. We often take care of ourselves at the end of the day when everything else is “done.” When we can “squeeze in” those few moments of self-care or that workout routine.
This method has us starting the day unbalanced right out of the gate!
Then we have to work harder throughout the day to keep ourselves focused and on course because our own needs have not been met yet.
It’s like the flight attendants tell us: put on your own mask before assisting other passengers.
In life, we don’t usually think about taking care of ourselves this way. We establish beliefs about “being selfish”, “not giving enough” or some other story that we use to explain why we haven’t taken care of our spirits.
The solution is to create your perfect day.
Here are the 10 steps that I use to help get my mind, body and spirit right every day:Awareness
Start formulating what you think you need for your perfect day. Start noticing what makes you feel the best. (ex: getting a workout in, drinking your coffee, tea or green juice, scheduling quiet time…)
Think about it and then physically write it down.
Here’s my list from when I got started:
My Perfect Day today looks a little bit different than it did when I started – your list will evolve as you refine what you need.Commitment
Every day, choose your perfect day. Claim it. Commit to it. Choose it over and over and over again. Habits take time.
A lifetime of other choices mean you might have to work harder for longer before your perfect day becomes habitual.
I know there are self-help folks who say that habits take 21 days to form. From my experience, habits are formed over a lifetime of choosing. I used to think if I gave something a few weeks that I would magically be transformed into this goal crushing machine.
As habits strengthen, they do get easier to maintain, but every day is a really an opportunity to consciously choose what’s going to set you up for success over and over again.Be really kind to yourself
When you start crafting and choosing your perfect day, you aren’t going to do it perfectly.
A perfect day is a journey, not a destination. Don’t make “your perfect day” another thing on your to do list.
Make “Your Perfect Day” the gift you give to yourself because you love yourself and you know you deserve it.
For those of us very chronic perfectionists, sticklers and controllers, we may let a few days go by and decide to abandon our efforts because we have “failed.” But actually, that’s your inflection point! That’s the moment where you either take off that runway or you stay on the ground. Choose to fly!
Above all else, choose self-compassion and love.Double down
BELIEVE that you are going to be ROCKING this perfect day thing. And then double down and do more of it. Once you’ve established a solid new routine, do just one more rep, one more push-up or one more thing that feels good that makes you choose your perfect day even more.
For me, doubling down was committing to getting up 4-5 days a week at 5:30 am to go to hot yoga at 6 am. For this night owl who struggled to make 10 am meetings, this choice still seems completely unfathomable. This is where those previous steps come back in.
I added a new choice on top of my other choices. The choice to get up early AF.
WHY get up so absurdly early? Glad you asked.Create Space
The biggest secret to the perfect day might be creating space – a container of sorts. A place that you go where it feels like home base. Before I started getting up early, I still struggled to get all the ingredients into my perfect day before getting on with my day.
Once I committed to the early morning routine, the lights really turned on. Liftoff.
In the early days of my early morning routine, step 3 (being kind to yourself) was really important. The first week, I only did 2 or 3 days of early mornings. Then the second week, I did a little more. And then I was hooked. Now, my early morning routine is 4-5 times a week.
This leads to the next key ingredient!Get moving!
As soon as you get out of bed, put on your workout gear and put one foot in front of the other.
Even after several months of consistent early mornings, there is a zero percent chance that I could just get up at 5:30 am to do something else.
The power of my morning routine is in moving my body, creating good endorphins and then acknowledging how awesome and accomplished I feel afterwards.
Everything else in my morning routine is built off of that exercise commitment.
In yoga, you see people doing amazing headstands, handstands and all sorts of feats that make us normal people wonder how they do it.
Here’s the secret: it’s their foundation. They prepare the perfect foundation so that once they get their hips over their shoulders, gravity starts to take over and it becomes almost effortless.
It starts with a strong foundation.Preparation
Like creating space, preparation is incredibly intentional. If you are going to consistently choose your perfect day, you need to prepare everything else in your life to support that habit.
That likely means going to bed a little earlier. Maybe laying out your clothes the night before.
For me, I get everything ready the night before (ponytail, clothes, towel, full water bottle and supplements) so that all I have to do is stumble out of bed, brush my teeth and get in the car. I prepare the night before so I can do what I love: yoga.Notice how you feel
Start noticing how you feel when you have your perfect day. Intentionally naming and claiming those feelings is important because it reinforces our brains to remember that taking care of ourselves feels really good.
Every day, we are either reinforcing existing neural pathways in our brains or we are forming new ones. New ones must be nurtured, watered and fed so they can become stronger.
Like exercise, mindset works muscles – the muscles of your mind. Getting up early helps to create a clean slate for your mind on which to build a better day. But a clean slate isn’t enough. You need to plant the seeds every day with what you want to grow.Choose what you want for the day
Ask yourself every day as part of your morning routine these questions:
- How do I want to feel today?
- Who do I want to be?
- What do I want to give?
- What do I want to receive?
If we don’t know what we want for the day, it is hard to be intentional. Our lives are made up of small, seemingly insignificant choices. Asking these questions helps us to mindfully put little choices together into the life that we do want.
Positively priming my day – reminding myself of how I deeply desire to maximize each moment helps me to have more self-discipline throughout the day.
Self-discipline is admittedly one of my weaknesses by nature. But it is going to be my strength. Every time I keep a commitment to myself to maximize my time, that positive neural network gets stronger and the next time is just a little bit easier.
This life is a gift. And this new year is a new opportunity to give yourself something that you never knew you needed: Your perfect day.