My early life, struggling as a single mom
I did not plan on becoming a single mom, but there I was. I was in the Navy, 26 years old, a Second-Class Petty Officer and Adalida was 18 months old. We were getting by, but nothing was easy. I dreamed of transforming my life, I dreamed of that future perfect day, but at that time, I had not become deliberate with what I wanted or how I was going to get there.
All in all, this was a good life, but I felt like it would never get better and I wanted so much more for my daughter. I woke up exhausted, got Adalida and I ready to go to work, took her to daycare, then drove in to work. I worked all day, picked her up from daycare, stopped at the grocery store and the gas station, if needed, then went home. We would eat dinner, play, read books before bed, and then we went to sleep. Many nights, I woke up lying beside her on her little toddler bed, because I fell asleep reading to her.
We lived in a tiny apartment, and we had an old Ford Ranger pick-up truck, just big enough for the two of us. Other than lunch with my work friends, I didn’t really have a social life. I wanted more out of life, but I was so tired. I had this small child and little assistance with her, so I did not know how things would ever improve, how would I ever find the time or the energy? That better life I dreamed of seemed so hard and so far away from possible.
How difficult is your life today?
How different is this description from your day? Maybe your days are harder and even more exhausting than this description. Maybe your day is a lot different, but hard for completely different reasons. Are you taking care of your younger brothers and sisters? Do you work multiple jobs? Are you working and going to college? Do you have aging or disabled parents that you care for? Are you the sole breadwinner in your family, and feel the weight of the world on your shoulders?
Maybe it’s simpler than all that. Are you working in a job that you keep saying you are going to leave, that you long to leave, but yet – there you sit? No matter what your struggles are, no matter the cards life has dealt you – today is the day you will start to change your situation. Today is the day you take that next step toward the life you really want to be living!
I know for me, the very day I decided I wanted to make things better for my daughter and I, is the day that everything started to move in the right direction. ~Tami
Admit that you want more
We are going to take you through an exercise called the “Perfect Day Exercise.” You may have heard of this exercise already, but instead of stopping at the dreaming part of this experience, we will lead you through the next steps. These steps include implementing the next actions you need to take to begin your transformation from where you sit today to the person you dream of becoming, and get you to living the robust life you imagine for yourself.
To get started with the perfect day exercise, you need to get yourself somewhere free from people. It would be helpful if you go to a beautiful location, near the ocean, a lake, out in nature, somewhere that would let you mind roam free and would fill you full of inspiration.
Make sure you have something to write with and clean paper. Other tools you could use to get started would be a tablet with mind-mapping software to help connecting similar ideas and brainstorming the essential things you care about and greatly desire to have in your life. I use my iPad and my Apple Pencil quite a lot for these types of activities, it is so easy to capture my ideas, make changes, rearrange my thoughts, and save them for later reference or review.
Dream big, without guilt – focus on you for once!
Once you are in your quite place, ready to write – begin to ask yourself a series of questions:
- Where do you live?
- What type of home are you living in?
- What time do you wake up?
- Are you married? Do you have a significant other?
- What is your morning routine?
- What will you eat for breakfast?
- Will you exercise, if so what kind of exercise?
- Do you have any hobbies you enjoy? When will you pursue on them?
- Do you have kids?
- Where do the kids go to school?
- Do you work? If so, where do you work?
- What kind of work do you do? How successful is your business?
- Do you own your own business? Do you work for someone else?
- If you own your own business, how are you making money? What are your services?
- Who are your clients? How much do they pay you and why?
- What time do you start work?
- How many hours do you work each day or week?
- How do you get to work?
- What will you have for lunch? Where will you have it?
- Do you have friends? What are they like?
- What do you and your friends talk about?
- What’s your relationship like with your partner or spouse and your family?
- What type of family fun do you have?
- What will you eat for dinner? Where will you eat it?
- What types of things do you talk about over dinner?
- What do you wear to work? What do you wear when you are not working?
- Do you own a car? What kind of car?
- How do you spend your evening?
- Who do you spend your evening with?
- What is your bedtime routine?
- What are your last thoughts before you fall asleep?
- How do you sleep?
Once you have answered these questions, write out your “perfect day,” from the second you open your eyes to the final thoughts before you sleep. One good way to do this is in a Day-Timer/day calendar format where you list each item and the time it takes. Mine might say:
04:15 – wake up beside my sweet, kind, strong, loving husband and say a quiet prayer of thankfulness that he is in my life
04:20 – Make the king-sized bed
04:25 – Pour a delicious, large cup of coffee and enjoy it in silence in the dark while I wake up and quietly consider life and what I might accomplish today
04:45 – Plan my day in written form (write my top three goals)
(You would keep going so until you get to the moment you fall asleep.)
Another option is to write a short story or essay that describes your perfect day. In this beautiful story, you are the main character. Either way works, just make it extremely detailed. Include how you feel, how things taste, the aesthetics of the scene, and any other detail that drove your desire to have this item as part of your perfect day.
Set aside about an hour to start your work on this, though it is quite likely that it will take you longer. It may take more than one session. I have known people to take multiple days to complete this exercise, but it you really want to make your dream day a reality, the time you spend capturing your day in a robust manner will really pay off in the end.
Your idea of the “Perfect Day” will probably change as you go through your life, so consider updating your day at different points across the years.
Here are the KEY steps to turn your perfect day dream in your actual tomorrow:
Once you have your entire perfect day written out, consider how different your actual today has been and compare the two. You might already have somethings in your life now that you consider to be part of your perfect future day. If you, you are already winning and that means there is less to change.
Easy to Implement Changes:
Are there items in your perfect day list that are easy to implement now? These could be things such as taking time to better plan your day, if you want to wake up more rested, maybe you could adjust the time you go to sleep? If you picture a morning routine that would improve your day, start implementing it this week.
Take a look at your perfect day, the larger goal you want for your life should become apparent:
- Do you want a bigger house?
- Do you want to work from home?
- Do you want to have a partner or spouse that with whom you can be a team with common goals to build an amazing life?
- Do you want your kids to be well educated?
- Do you have a passion you want to pursue?
- Identify where you are today in relation to those bigger goals.
- As part of your weekly, quarterly, yearly and longer term (5-10 year) SMART goal planning, write out goal sheets for each one of these items.
- Add steps on your weekly “to-do list” that are aligned with moving toward your most important goals. CLICK HERE for a worksheet you can download. It will help you get started with your SMART goal creation.
The Good News is….
If you are honest with yourself and you really want to achieve this Perfect Day, then I have good news – you can do it! You have already taken the hardest step, which is admitting what you want and writing it down. There are so many people who will never take the time to write down their desires. Maybe you think you can just think it in your head, maybe you think you don’t have time to plan, maybe you don’t believe things can change.
Do you feel selfish for wanting a better life, do you feel embarrassed that you have larger-than-life dreams? Do you look at those struggling around you and worry that they will judge you because they will think you are high and mighty, that you think you are better than them? You have to let this part go – you ARE better, better than you are today. You can HAVE better and you DESERVE better!
You have to want something more than you want the current stress, the current mess, the current craziness that you are living in.
I am telling you – you CAN change and WILL change, when you make a plan and stick to it.If you do if you really want something better, then take the simple step to WRITE IT DOWN!