Time Well Spent//

The First 5 Steps to the Perfect Life

You can have our cake and eat it too

We’ve all done it. We’ve all sat around, maybe after a few cold beverages have loosened our inhibitions, and dreamed about our perfect life. We’ve wished for this, prayed for that, and hoped for the other thing. The bravest among us have even gone so far as to transform those dreams into words and let them escape from our lips into the waiting ears and hearts of those closest to us. 

If dreams, hopes, and wishes were all we needed, we would all have the various treasures we desire. We would have unfading health, unending wealth, perfect teeth, rock hard abs, functional loving families, and more intimate friendships than we had hours in the day. But we don’t, or, at least, I don’t. And why don’t I? Because even at the mid-point of my life, my time on Earth still seems infinite. I still have time to do this, accomplish that, and check off my ever-growing bucket list. How do I make the leap from where I am to where I want to be? How do you “have your cake and eat it too”? These 5 simple steps will start you down the path.

1. Start with one day

Working toward your perfect life is too much pressure. If you live to be 80 years old, you will be on this Earth 29,200 days, not including leap years. That’s a lot of ground to cover. We lose sight of the forest because of the thousands of trees. We have plenty of time so we will start tomorrow. Instead of the perfect life, start with one day, your perfect day, and grow it into the forest of your dreams.

2. Write it down

If you don’t know this rule by now, I’d love to visit the rock you’ve been living under. Steve Maraboli said, “If you have a goal, write it down. If you don’t write it down, you don’t have a goal, you have a wish.” This is the crossroads where you make your dreams your reality. Get a pen and paper. Find a quiet place. WRITE IT DOWN!

3. Be specific

Don’t make your perfect day another fluffy list of thoughtless dreams and empty aspirations. Be specific. Start when you wake up. End when you go to bed. Here’s mine:

6:30  Wake-up

6:30-7:00 Quiet “me” time: meditation, reading, prayer, etc.

7:00-8:00 Morning family time: Breakfast and get the kids out the door.

8:00-10:00 Morning workout

10:00-12:00 Writing time

12:00-1:00 Lunch with my wife or close family member/friend

1:00-4:00 Project time: my current project is rebuilding a 1968 Chevy C-10

4:00-6:00 Play time with my kids

6:00-7:00 Family dinner time

7:00-8:30 Prep time for bed: kid’s bath, story time, clean up & prep for tomorrow

8:30-9:00 Social media time, TV, email etc.

9:00-10:30 Time with my wife

10:30 Bed

Notice this isn’t a day 30 years from now after I’ve retired and had a hip replaced. This could be tomorrow. Visualize your perfect day for sooner rather than later.

4. Analyze

What did you put in?

What did you leave out?

Why?

How do you get there?

5. Find the Balance

Your life may not be perfect by social media standards. You may never be able to keep up with the Joneses. You can, however, find a way to center yourself in the midst of the global rat race. You will never have the perfect day, only your perfect day. In order to have a perfect life, you must have a balanced life.

Life can be broken down into 8 fundamental pillars: beliefs, family, health, finances, friendships, education, leisure, and freedom. These foundations come together and determine, whether consciously or not, how I approach and validate every decision in my life. The problem is  I typically evaluate a choice based on one foundation instead of all eight. Leaning heavily on one foundation or another throws the whole system out of whack and plummets me into an exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready to give up state.

In order to have my cake and eat it too, I need to achieve a balanced life where I consciously consider each foundation in every choice I make. Every why I’ve asked, every item on my list, everything I pursue is based on and influences, either directly or indirectly, at least one if not more of the eight foundations. Understanding how each decision I make changes these core areas allows me to move toward balance, toward my version of a perfect life.

Call to Action:

If this resonates with you, if you are searching for balance, if you want your own version of a perfect life, take the time to evaluate what you want and why you want it. If you want to learn more about the 8 Foundations and the Balanced Man Project, visit me at www.claymcooper.com/balancedmanproject.

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