Reality Check: What makes a great day?

Do you believe that you can create the life you want to live?
Occasionally throughout the years, I’ve offered a workshop called “Creating the Life You Want to Live.” The title pretty much gives away my opinion on the question, doesn’t it?
It’s not that I believe that everyone has the opportunity to simply “create” a pie-in-the-sky perfect life. However, sometimes we have more choices available than we realize. Small decisions that we make every day ultimately influence whether we live a life that’s largely satisfying for us.
When you think about creating the life that you want to live, an important starting point would be, “What is the life I want to live? What would that look like?”
This “What do I want?” question is a big one. It could be overwhelming. Maybe the first image that springs to mind is a grandiose dream—spending your time lazing about on your beautiful private island where people wait on you hand and foot. No responsibilities; no worries. For some, that may, indeed, be the life they want. However, once you examine the details, many will realize that this is not the life for them.
Here’s an approach that could help you become clear about what the life you want looks like.
Think of a great life as one that’s made up of great days. Those are the days when, at the end of the day, you look back and say with satisfaction, “That was a good day.”
It might be a day when you’ve been exhausted from having fun with your friends. You might be dirty from having dug in the garden. You might be triumphant from having solved a problem. You may have made progress with a home renovation. You might have gotten just a little better at learning a musical instrument, a language, or another skill.
Maybe you brought relief to someone who is suffering, mentally or physically. Perhaps you made someone smile who was having difficulty finding anything to smile about.
While we each have the same basic needs, everyone does not get joy and satisfaction from the same things. Some get joy from being with other people. Others are happiest when accomplishing a challenging task. Some get satisfaction from going to work and earning a living. For some, providing help to others—whether through information, services, or encouragement—is satisfying.
Your satisfying day may look very different from my satisfying day. At the end of the day though, the question is, “What makes a day satisfying for you?” And, if you can string together enough of those satisfying days, then that would indeed create a satisfying life. One that you might call “the life I want to live.”
For many of us, routines have been so disrupted that you might think; this is not the time to think about it. I’ll wait till things are back to normal.
However, this time of disruption may be the perfect time to ponder, “How are my days going? Are they more satisfying, or less satisfying, than normal?”
You could try an experiment! Create a habit of looking back at the end of each day. How was it? Was it a great day, an awful day, or a mediocre day? What stands out? What contributed to making it a great or a lousy day?
Then, can you arrange tomorrow to have more of the activities that contribute to great days and less of the lousy stuff?
Every day will probably not be a great day. However, this habit could help in two ways. First, you become clearer about exactly what actions contribute to making your days great. Second, it helps you maintain perspective about those not-great days.
What makes a day great for you?

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