By Maria McKenna, Life Coach, Institute for Coaching
Often people have the sense that they’d like to make changes in their lives, but aren’t sure exactly what it is they’d like to change. In order to step outside of ourselves to foster an awareness of what we’d like to change in our lives, it can be helpful to take 1 hour to imagine “your perfect life.” A simple self-assessment exercise can help lift the fog and provide you with the seedling of clarity you need to start shaping your goals and develop a plan for pursuing them. To get started, schedule 60 relaxed minutes to yourself in a quiet, meditative place, and with a pen and notebook nearby answer the following questions for yourself. Keep in mind that you want to let go mentally, so being rushed or preoccupied will make it difficult to benefit from this exercise.
1. What does your “perfect life” look like: Take a few deep breaths to relax yourself and let go of your concerns of the day. Then visualize your answers for the following questions: “If money weren’t an issue, what kind of life would I choose to live? What kind of work am I doing? Where am I living? What makes me feel really alive? What does my life look like on a daily basis?” In as much detail as you can, write down your honest, uncensored thoughts as well as any images that come to mind. Allow your self to stretch and dream here without any restrictions. When you’re ready to move on, ask yourself the next question:
2. What changes would I need to make in my “perfect life?”: Suspend judgments regarding how realistic you think achieving your “perfect life” might be and make a list of the changes that need to occur in your life in order to achieve your “perfect life.” Cover your career, personal relationships, physical environment, finances, health, fun and recreation, and any other areas that seem relevant. Once you finish, ask yourself the last question:
3. What kind of support do I need in order achieve my “perfect life”: Review the changes you listed above, and ask yourself what kind of support you would need to make to make such changes in your life. Some questions to ask yourself include: “What kind of familial support will I need? What kind of support, if any, will I need from my current job? Would I benefit from professional support? What kind of financial support from myself, an institution, or others will I need?”
This is a great place to start on the journey towards your “perfect life.” Being clear on what you truly desire for yourself is important, and it is in and of itself a wonderful and empowering exercise. The more challenging but most rewarding steps follow as we bring this vision into our reality through committing to working towards our dream, enlisting support, formulating a plan, and taking action regularly…But, as a coach, I’ve seen many people take these steps and create the life they desire for themselves, so I have no doubt you can as well!