Two years ago, I published an instructional how-to on a life-changing personal practice I call “The Single Most Important Exercise That Will Change Your Life Forever.“
In that article, I describe how to map out and subsequently manifest your perfect average day. After interviewing Craig Ballantyne in the podcast episode “The Official Formula For A Perfect Day: How To Take Control & Own Your Life” I decided to revisit the perfect average day exercise, and want to take you along on the journey again.
Even though it is extremely simple, this exercise is absolutely going to blow your mind when you do it, because you’re suddenly going to know exactly what it takes to get everything you want, including living longer, losing weight, having better sex, making more money, spending more time with your family, or any other value or goal you hold dear or want to accomplish.
In just a moment, I’m going to give you the exact instructions for the exercise.
But first, promise me one thing: promise me you won’t rush this exercise.
Take your time, bookmark this page, print this post, block out all distractions, and do whatever else it takes devote quality, focused time to this exercise. It took me 2 hours to do this exercise well. And it was 2 of the most valuable hours of my entire life.
OK, here we go.
Step 1) Get a pen and a piece of paper (yes, those strange tools that ancient people used to write with prior to the advent of keyboards and smartphones).
Step 2) Answer the following question: If there were no limitations or consequences, what would your average perfect day look like?
Don’t put any limitations on your answer.
Notice, I said average. This means when going through all of these other questions below that are a part of this question, each answer must be one you could live with for the rest of your life without getting bored or dissatisfied.
In other words, this average perfect day would be one in which you can wake up every single day and experience that day every single day for the rest of your life.
As you answer the average perfect day question, think about the following and as you write, ignite your every sense. Imagine what it feels, sounds, tastes, and looks like as you wake up in your bed wherever you are in the world on your average perfect day.
- Where would you live?
- What would your house look like?
- What would it smell like?
- What time in the morning would you wake up?
- What would you do in the morning?
- What would you think about in the morning?
- What would you have for breakfast?
- Where would you go for the first part of the day?
- What would you have for lunch?
- Who would you eat with?
- Who would your friends be?
- What kind of conversations would you have with your friends?
- What are your friends like?
- What would you do for personal fulfillment?
- What life purpose would you strive towards?
- What would your business be?
- What time would you start work?
- What would you do in your business each day?
- What are your clients like?
- What’s your relationship like with your spouse and your family?
- What would you do for family time?
- What would you eat for dinner?
- What would you talk about at dinner?
- What would you do at night?
- Who would you spend your time with?
- What would your thoughts be as you went to sleep?
Now you understand why this exercise should take you a little while to complete!
But think of this the same way as you would think about having a big fancy dinner party at your house and inviting the most important, loved and precious people you know. You wouldn’t just fry an egg quickly and slap it on the table, would you? Of course not! You’d put thought, insight, care and passion into every detail.
Think about this exercise the same way. It’s a process and labor of love, not a quick fry of an egg in a pan.
So go ahead: print this article you’re reading right now and plan a day to the beach or the park or your favorite hiking spot where you can just sit for a few hours and write. Trust me. It will be worth it. You will learn things about yourself you never really realized, and you will spark an unstoppable, internal passion to achieve everything in life that you want.
But for you to manifest that perfect day, you must be able to touch, hear, smell, taste and feel it. Which is why you must do this exercise completely and in great detail if you want to get the most out of your life. It is the single most important exercise you will ever do…
Once you’ve used a pen and pad to create your perfect average day, then comes the final step. Write your perfect average day in the comments section below. You will be amazed at what happens next. Your future is in your hands. I’ll go first…
My very first perfect average day exercise:
I slowly wake to the wafting aroma of fresh pine and the sounds of birds stirring in through the open window in our small mountain home. The sun has risen, but it’s early, and the house is quiet.
For several minutes I just lay there. I can hear my wife breathing. She is sound asleep.
I am smiling.
My energy is high when I wake in the morning and I know to take advantage of it. So I’m up. I wander downstairs and heat up the water for a dark, flavorful cup of black coffee. As I sip my coffee, I open my Kindle and soak in the day’s knowledge – reviewing research journals, articles, news and all the information that can help me make a difference in the world. An hour flies by as I simply sit, sip and read. The house is still quiet. Nobody has stirred. I own the silence.
After a brief stop in the bathroom, I head outside to our back patio, where I gaze at the sun, stretch, and breathe. I let the earth wake me even more and feel it’s energy pulsing into my bare feet.
When I go back inside, the smell of eggs picked from the backyard chicken coop and bacon from the local market is already drifting through the house, and I hear the murmur of morning voices. My wife is hovering over the stove. Nuzzles, kisses, hugs.
My kids are gathered in the living room, their hair tussled and their eyes wide with morning sleepiness. More snuggles, tousling, smiles. I read them a book as mom plates their food.
As the kids and Jessa eat their breakfast, I join them at the kitchen table and begin to surf through my morning emails. I am not hungry. I never am until several hours after waking, and when I do it, I like my solitude. But I’m there. Listening, enjoying their laughter, their conversation, their excitement about the day.
After breakfast, the family leaves. They’re off to field trips, adventures, errands, haircuts, friends, and everything else they wander around and do in the morning.
I finally eat breakfast, and then begin to write. My head is clear in the morning and writing comes easier. I share with the world my solutions to their problems.
What problems? The same problems I face.
See, I love getting fit, feeling good about the way my body looks, and fulfilling my deep-seeded drive to live life to the fullest by achieving difficult feats of physical performance. But I was fed up with feeling like crap from all the extreme exercising, strange foods, feeling of constant stress and soreness, and worry about the toll my hectic lifestyle was taking on my body. So I have created a way of training, eating and living that is perfectly healthy and natural, but still allows me to look, feel and perform at my peak capabilities.
And I share that with as many people as possible.
By noon, I am done writing – just in time to hear the car pulling into the driveway. Voices, dogs barking, and kids excitedly
shouting about the morning’s activities are all signs that life is about to erupt with family time.
For the next couple hours, Jessa and I school my kids. We read. We learn math. We discover new countries. We go outside and explore the forest. We make storage science projects. We cook something new and exciting for lunch.
In those two hours there is no e-mail, no writing, no telephone calls, no Twitter, no Facebook. No fleeting thought of work or deadlines. Just me and my wife and my children bonding and discovering life.
Then we all curl up in Mom and Dad’s bedroom for our afternoon siesta. We sleep with smiles on our faces – and as we slumber, we hardwire all the neural circuitry we just built with our afternoon of education.
When we wake, my body is stirring once again. Everyone is still sleeping, but I am ready to go. It is time for battle, for adventure, for play. I hop on my mountain bike and take the back trail down to the river, with my goggles slung around my neck. I ride hard and swim hard. When I get home, I’m still aching for movement, which my body thrives on. So I grab the axe and head out to the back patio to chop wood. Sweat pours off my body as I work, putting aside valuable fuel for the winter. It is fulfilling. I smile. It doesn’t feel like exercise. Just play. Making life happen.
Everyone is awake when I go back inside. Jessa is heading out to the garden. The boys are playing table tennis. Briefly, I say hello, take a fast cold shower, grab a snack, and then duck straight into the office. For the next two hours, I am in focus mode and I love to work when I am in this mode. I reply to e-mails, make phone calls and solve more problems for my clients. Everyone I talk to is highly motivated and values our discussion. They understand what they need to do and they need a roadmap. They are not trying to cut corners or find short term solutions. They want change and they value my advice, my teaching and my guidance. I provide them the roadmap, answer their questions and make their lives better. It is fulfilling.
People get healthier, they get more fit, they accomplish amazing feats of physical performance, and they feel better about themselves, their bodies, their work and their relationships. Everyone is happy.
As I am finishing up work, the smell of dinner is already wafting into the house. It smells like fish. Perhaps some rice. Roasted vegetables from the garden. I go upstairs and the family is there waiting. We eat, we talk, we savor life and flavor and the fresh food we have grown.
And then, with bellies full of food and energy, we head out to play again. Tonight is tennis. We drive to the club. I am playing doubles with my friends, Jessa has a singles match, and the boys have tennis lessons from the club pro. We hit, laugh, smile, play, compete, move, sweat and finally pile back into the car to head home for showers and a final snack before bedtime. As we gather around the table to feast on our coconut chocolate ice cream, the fire is crackling in the living room.
After eating, we gather round the fire for a final bedtime story and song. I read the boys tales of knights, princesses, dragons, adventures, and wars. I play them the new song I’m learning on the guitar, and they smile as their eyes begin to roll over with sleepiness.
Jessa and I tuck them into bed. We make love. We fall asleep in a warm embrace.
My second perfect average day exercise (completed three weeks ago):
I open my eyes – and the very first thing that I do is smile. As I do each morning, I have naturally awoken without an alarm, near to 6am and after a deep and refreshing seven to eight hours of sleep. After turning on my heart rate variability monitor and beginning to monitor my nervous system, I reach for my journal and my devotional. While I lie in bed, I read an inspirational story, study the Bible, and write down what truth I discovered, what I am grateful for, and who I can pray for, help or serve that day. Beside me, my wife is peacefully sleeping, lost in slumber as my mind stirs for the morning.
Then I’m out of bed and down the stairs. It will be an hour before the rest of the family is awake, so now is my precious morning quiet time.
I begin by hydrating with a large glass of water filled with minerals and kissed by the sunshine, sprinkled with a touch of lemon and vinegar. After I begin to heat water for an exotic Japanese green tea, a brew comprised of leaves and roots from the forest at our house, or a black cup of organic coffee, I spend fifteen minutes doing deep tissue work and “morning movement” – a chance for me to get in touch with my body and slowly wake my nervous system, my joints and fascia for the day.
By 6:30, I am writing. For thirty minutes, I spark the creative areas of my brain and delve deep into fiction authoring, working on the next book in my series of magical fantasy novels. The phone is off and there are no calls, emails, text messages or push notifications coming my way. I am simply lost deep in building a magical fantasy world.Even when I travel, which I mostly do with my family, and only about once each month for occasional competitions, hunts or fishing forays, very important conferences or team meetings, I take this same morning routine with me.
Then, after being lost in that magical fantasy world for half an hour, I hear the pitter-patter of feet coming down the stairs. The children have finished their gratitude journaling and morning readings, and they, the dogs and my wife are all now stirring. For the next several minutes, we gather in the living room to sit, snuggle, chat, talk about dreams and discuss the plans for day. Sometimes, if the boys wake early enough, we head our early and walk a mile through the quiet forest to the bus stop. Other days, use that bit of extra time to milk the goats, gather eggs and check in on the animals.
Just after 7:30, the boys are off to school. I use the bathroom, and then, shortly after 8am, I am beginning thirty minutes of morning exercise. Some mornings, especially in the colder months of fall and winter, I am in the infrared sauna – burning incense, doing sound healing, engaging in Qi Gong, Kundalini yoga and other body movement sessions. Other mornings, on warmer, sunnier days, I am outside walking, hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, bicycling and engaged in some other form of “moving meditation”. If my morning is light on work and I’ve gotten off to an early start, these sessions will sometimes stretch up to an hour as I listen to audiobooks, podcasts, playbacks of team meetings or audio memos and other educational material.
On Saturdays and in the summer mornings, the kids join me for this morning movement, learning how to begin their day on a good note. But on this day, it is just me. I light a stick of incense, enter the sauna, begin to play healing sounds of peace, love and joy, and sweat and move for thirty minutes, finishing with a dip in the cold pool – a perfect way to start a perfect day.
Between 9 and 9:30, I am finished, and I am in the kitchen, preparing to break my overnight fast with a superfood smoothie comprised of wild plants, nourishing herbs, bone broths, teas and nutrients from both near and afar. On Saturday mornings, we gather for a scrumptious family breakfast, but on weekday mornings, I simply eat my delicious smoothie while beginning to delve in the post productive part of my day: four uninterrupted hours of focused work. Until the early afternoon, I work on researching and writing for articles, recording podcasts and videos, and engaging in phone and Skype meetings with clients and the awesome members of the team that I’ve built around me. During this time, I fuel with energizing teas and beverages, alternating between my office “man-cave” and the kitchen table. By the time most of the people in my part of the world are eating lunch, I am instead fully focused on work, having taught my body to efficiently burn it’s own fat as fuel throughout the day, and my only “lunch” is simply a few light morsels left over from the night before, or ketones and other supplements developed by my company.
After wrapping up the four hours of work, it is time for light siesta. I curl up in the bedroom of head out to a hammock to rest my mind for twenty to forty five minutes, sometimes sleeping and other times, if I am not excessively tired, praying and meditating.
Then, after napping, and around 2:30 or 3pm, I head out to do what I do every day of the week except Sundays: spend forty five minutes to an hour in the garage, in the garden and in the forest – sometimes alone and lost in my thoughts and other times, when they home or on weekends, accompanied by my wife and family. During these forays into nature, I plant new seeds in the garden and tend to the existing plants; I forage wild plants and greens from the land, learning their medicinal and edible properties; I take notes and photographs to share with my readers and follows; I care for meat I have hunted – learning how to cure, dry, spice and consume the animal from nose to tail; and I prepare and tend to oils, salves, tinctures, spices, seasonings and other extracts from nature’s bounty that I learn about and create for my own health, my family’s health and the continuing education of those who read my writings and follow my teachings. While I indeed study and delve into exotic “superfoods”, plants, seeds, nuts, powders and more from all around the world – from China to Japan to Amazon to Peru and beyond – my primary focus and priority is on my own environment and local biome of the Inland Northwest, where I plan to flourish and thrive for my entire life.When Jessa is able to join me on these afternoon nature immersions and learnings, we explore, talk and learn together.
By this time, at nearly 4pm, the boys are arriving home from school, and it is time for me to prepare for afternoon workouts and sports. I do not check emails or delve back into work before the boys arrive home, but I instead focus my mind and body on learning and developing new tactics, skills, strength, power, endurance and explosiveness, always with an activity that I thoroughly enjoy and find purpose and meaning in. Because of this habit, my body is in fine shape – and at the drop of a hat, I can do an obstacle course race, a triathlon, a long swim or any difficult sport. If the boys are home and don’t have their own activities, they usually join me. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I perform difficult workouts in my home gym and outside environment, engaging inheavy lifting, brief sprints, gymnastics, balancing moves, obstacle course training and other“biohacked workouts” using equipment and gear that I write about and test for my readers, for my followers and my listeners, always testing new activities and techniques that can make other’s bodies and brains better.
On these days, I and my boys finish by shooting bows so that we can maintain edge and focus for the hunting forays that I embark upon three to four times a year to keep our freezer stocked with meats. On Tuesdays and Thursday, I engage in a sport of choice – from tennis to basketball to frisbee to swimming and beyond. Each of these afternoon workouts begins at around 4:30pm, and when they are not engaged in their own camps, sports and activities, the boys and Jessa always have opportunity to join in, along with other friends in my community. While I still engage in my four hours of deep focused work on Saturday mornings, the remainder of Saturdays are reserved for a longer “adventure” – sometimes solo and sometimes with the family – such as hiking, fishing, hunting, snow sports, exploring the Northwest, occasional tennis tournaments, longer golf sessions and beyond. Sunday mornings, I wake early to read articles and books and to write intensively in my work of fiction, but aside from this, I do not engage in other deep business work, and Sunday afternoons, my day of rest and fasting until dinner, are reserved for easy family activities, building forts and exploring the forest with the boys, and for social sports only – such as hitting the ski slopes, volleyball with church members or tennis, golf and other activities with the family.
With the afternoon activities of the weekday completed, it is time to return to work. Save for one day of the week, usually Thursdays or Fridays, on which I prepare dinner, I return to work uninterrupted in my office from around 6pm until we eat at 7:30 or 8pm, sipping on tea, kombucha, wine, and other cocktails, and wrapping up “loose ends” for the day so that I can be fully present for my family and other activities later into the evening.
With myself and my family’s growing knowledge of plants, gardening, local and exotic foods, foraging, food preparation, nutrient extraction, hunting, dressing, curing, preserving, fermenting, soaking, sprouting and more, we spend an hour before our later evening dinner preparing a meal as a family- as we do each weekday evening aside from the one night we go “out on the town”.At least once a week, my twin boys prepare our meal; on the other days of the week, my wife prepares our meal; on one night of the week, I take the boys or Jessa on a date to farmer’s market or a local restaurant; but on this night, as I do at least once a week, it will be me leading this charge, creating the recipe and designing, preparing and cooking the meal from the plants I’ve foraged and gardened, the animals I’ve harvested from the land and the nutrients and spices I’ve identified to make for a truly full-body nourishing and tasteful experience.
Close to 8pm, we sit to dine together at a family, often breaking bread with friends and family who come to share a meal with us. We thank God for the bounty he has blessed us with, we share stories from the day, we dwell upon the truths we learned in the morning’s readings, we share what it was that we are grateful for, and we spend the next thirty to sixty minutes simply eating, talking, visiting and enjoying time with family and friends.On each of my Saturday nights, after dinner, I fast until dinner on Sunday evening, only consuming mineral-rich, sun-charged water and healing teas and beverages. This makes perfect sense, because Sunday is also the day that I do not beat up my body with hard exercise, but instead devote an entire day to family, spirituality, rest, recovery, healing, meditation, longer Qi Gong sessions, intensive deep tissue work and massage, sauna, burning incense, yoga, cold thermogenesis, detoxification andexploring new recovery modalities and “biohacks”.
But for tonight’s dinner, I simply soak up and enjoy every last morsel of food, and then head inside to delve into my passion: music.
As the boys prepare for bed and our evening meditation sessions, I spend the next thirty minutes playing ukulele and guitar – creating new songs, keeping myself refreshed on old songs, writing lyrics and musics, and preparing for the monthly “open mic” night in which I participate. Occasionally, this time is instead spent looking at scripts for theatre productions and musicals that I participate in, and at least one night per week, this time is spent with my entire family visiting and playing music at local nursing home, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter – but for tonight I simply sit in the living room and fill the house with wonderful music as the family engages in their own post-dinner activities before our nightly bedtime ritual arrives.
Just after 9pm, the music is finished. The boys are prepared for bed, and the entire family heads to our evening routine. On several nights of the week, this is spiritual activities such as meditation, Qi Gong, hot tubbing, or burning incense in the sauna; on other nights we simply sit on the back patio exploring the stars; and on other nights we simply curl up with a book and read as a family.
10pm is nearing. After an evening family prayer, the boys are now asleep in their beds or reading. My wife and I head to the bedroom to spend time in bed together, sometimes talking, sometimes making love, and sometimes simply snuggling and reading. Then, as my mind tires and my body prepares for deep slumber, I immerse myself in a book of fiction, filling my body with creative thoughts for the next morning’s foray back into a magical, fantasy world.
I fall asleep exactly as I woke: a smile on my face, contented and grateful for another perfect day of nourishing my spirit; creating enchanting stories; teaching the world how to live a truly meaningful and limitless life; immersing myself in nature; training and buffeting my body and mind; making wonderful music and art; raising my two boys to be resilient young men; loving my wife; and exploring all the remarkable adventures that God has offered the human being to experience.
OK, now it’s your turn.
What is your perfect average day? After you write it on pen and paper, transcribe it and leave it in the comments section below. I promise to read it. If you run out of space to write, just leave your day chunked into multiple comments, or include a link to your blog post or website where you published your perfect average day.
In the meantime, do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about this exercise? Leave your comments below and I will reply!
Also published on Medium.