Let’s be real, there’s only 24 hours in the day and the majority of those hours are spent sleeping, working and eating with a sprinkle of adulting responsibilities. It’s almost anxiety provoking to think about “finding time” for your passions. For the most part, the structure of my day is no different than most. Wake up, work, unwind at home, get ready to do it all over again the next day. It may seem there is very limited time to insert any “me” activities but after reassessing values and aligning them with my interests, I didn’t find time – sorry to disappoint – I realized I had to make time. Let me further explain….
I recently attended aSweatLife #SweatWorkingWeek“Driven” Breakfast & Learn. Before I go any further, I must brag on this company that is my go-to source for fitness, development and networking events in Chicago. If you live in the Chicago area and have never heard of aSweatLife, you’re seriously missing out. My favorite week just wrapped up, #SweatWorkingWeek, which is essentially restaurant week for health and wellness space and gyms around Chicago; combining fitness events (i.e. The sweat week was kicked off by a Silent Run – think silent disco – down the Lakeshore waterfront lead by the co-founders of Live Better Co., Bret Gornik and Jason Loebig – and discounted group fitness classes hosted for participants throughout the week in major neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area) and personal development sessions; including an incredible exercise that could have not come at a better time for this post. Basically, Jeanna and her team are awesome. The people I’ve met/connected with through their events has made me feel as though I’ve found my community as a Chicago newbie. BACK TO THE TOPIC: The Breakfast & Learn was centered around “resetting and re-calibrate our goals to focus them on our happiness.” using their signature goal-setting technique centering around what makes you feel whole NOW in order to achieve those big, long-term goals. After reviewing the difference between value-based goals (think all of the things we deem important in our lives) and happiness-based goals (think what makes us happy), we individually worked through their goal-setting technique to identify key words (or consistent themes) that reflect our current values to adopt in to routine and adjust as necessary.
Now I’ll be honest, I don’t consider myself a goal setter. Despite my Type A tendencies, I have a hard time answering “where do you want to be in five years”. Perhaps it’s the lack of career clarity, as I’ve never had a dream job or been able to distinctly map out my future; however, I have been able to identify tasks I enjoyed and strong areas of interest. What made this technique different was the specificity needed to answer the big question. I wasn’t just visualizing what life would look like, I had to envision every seemingly minute detail, even the blurry ones that I often overlooked when doing the big-picture goal-setting such as who was surrounding me, what the structure of my day looked like, what made me smile, and what was I most grateful…all of which helped me paint such a more vivid picture.
I want you to stop whatever you’re doing, grab a pencil and try this exercise…
I want you to describe what a perfect day would like based on where you are right now in your life.
Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing? How do you feel about those around you? What kind of work are you doing? What is the structure of your day? What makes you smile? Think about the end of that day too. What were you excited about? What did you enjoy about your day the most? What are you most grateful for?
Once you have written down your perfect day, look for common themes.
These are your values that currently play a major role in your overall happiness.
To provide an example, here is what my perfect day looks like:
Since I’ve really been reflecting/manifesting on my career path lately, I visualized my perfect work day. My day would start early, I wake up around 5:30 am at a slow pace, starting with my 10-minute Headspace meditation followed by some manifestation journaling. Over the years I’ve learned I’m most creative in the morning so I’d like to take this opportunity to get the creative juices flowing. Next up would be a solid gym session. Movement in the morning is very important to me. It is my sacred time of the day when I don’t think about anything, it’s a mindless task from years of training that rids my body of stress and tension, replacing it with peace.
My work day would begin around 8:30 am. Work would be loose in structure and environment. I wouldn’t be confided to my desk all day – after working on Michigan Ave. I’ve realized a mid-afternoon walk or quick coffee with a friend refreshes me and helps keep me balanced – and would be in a setting that allowed for easy communication. I’d be working in the health and fitness industry for a company where I could collaborate with other passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, coordinating or developmental health and wellness initiatives. Autonomy and creativity are what make me feel connected to my work. I like to be challenged and be on projects that have end-dates. Monotonous work breeds a bad beast in me. I get lazy and inefficient with my time. There i said it, I need to be busy with meaningful, connected work in order to be efficient and productive. Work would last no later than 4:30 pm, giving me plenty of time for my commute home and still enjoy some sun.
After work, I would focus on unwinding and investing energy in myself. Getting some writing done, reading, preparing for the next day with some light music in the background- prep brings me SO much balance. I hate rushing in the morning. I truly enjoy cooking so dinner would be a something with bold flavors but not too heavy so I’m able to enjoy a treat from favorite Italian ice spot, Mario’s Italian Lemonade, in Little Village while watching the sunset with good company. Right before bed I would take time to journal my gratitude for that day and reflect on the growth I’ve made before shutting off the lights no later than 10:30 pm. That’s my perfect day.
When I took a step back and reflected on my day, it was easy for me to identify common themes: connection, creativity and self-care. This is what a life of happiness that directly correlates to my current values looks like for me. Others may have not experienced the same clarity and direction but the feeling I felt going through that day made me know the steps I take every day must take stock in that vision; or what I call it, mission critical.
Fit & Full embodies my mission critical, my values, my happiness and collectively; my passions. Fitness, food and living and full engaged is what makes me feel most alive and warms my soul. It has become very important for me to make time for each piece in order for me to feel balance and happy. It’s also called for a good amount of sacrifice, nothing that didn’t already align with my path, but being able to say no to Happy Hours, meetups, relationships, time-suckers, to make that time for me.