In this episode, I’m sharing with you my version of the Ideal Day exercise. I share this exercise with most of my clients as it a really powerful opportunity to connect in with what you’re hoping to achieve in the future AND give you a chance to make incremental changes towards that dream. This is not an episode to skip if you want to take control of what happens next in your career (or life!).

Links I mentioned in this episode:

35. My Ideal Day Exercise – Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:00:29] Hello. Hello. It is Bec McFarland here helping you do better and be better in your career, and I would just like to wish you a very happy New Year. If you are listening to this episode around the time that it has been published, then you will know that we have just called in the beginning of 2023, and I am so excited for everything that this year has to offer.[00:01:00]

[00:01:00] Today the topic that I’m talking to you about is my ideal day exercise. Over the years, I’ve seen this exercise done in lots of different ways. I think one of the first times that I saw it and that it really kind of resonated with me was from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon from Being Boss. Since that time, Kathleen has sold her part of Being Boss to Emily. So the podcast and their resources are a little bit different to the way that it used to be when I first encountered this exercise. But nonetheless, it is still a really, really amazing resource, particularly for people who are in business or thinking about starting a business.

[00:01:47] So the Ideal Day exercise was something that they shared in one of their podcast episodes, and when I heard it I thought, wow. This is something that would be so useful for my career coaching clients [00:02:00] because although we are striving towards something different than usually my business owner clients, it offers a lot of insight into what could be available to us in the future and the changes that we can make over time to really step into our power and step into the goals that we really have for ourselves and you know, all of the beautiful things that we desire for ourselves.

[00:02:25] So what is the ideal day exercise all about? Well, there are a couple of different ways that you can do it. The first is that you could journal about it. The second is if you’re not really into journaling, you could make lists. The third is that maybe if you’re more of a visual person, you might actually go ahead and create a Pinterest board. But whatever way you choose to actually collate the information or present the information, the idea is that we want to know in as much detail as possible what your ideal day would look like.

[00:02:58] So starting from [00:03:00] that moment that you wake up in the morning, I’d really encourage you to utilize all of your senses and think about what it is that is around you. You know, for starters, what time did you wake up? Is there anyone in the bed with you? What are you wearing? What do you do next? You know? Are you waking up on 2000 count Egyptian cotton sheets or are you waking up in a tent on a beach? I don’t know. What is the environment like around you? What do you hear? What do you smell?

[00:03:43] And then as you progress through your day, just noting like what happens next, but looking at every single part of your day in all of that detail from the perspective of all of your senses. So if once you get [00:04:00] up, you go and do some meditation, you know, how long do you do the meditation for? What is the feeling that you get from that meditation? How do you feel afterwards?

[00:04:12] If you are diving straight into having breakfast, like what is it that’s on your plate? Are you having a mean eggs benedict, or are you whipping up a protein shake? Is somebody else making breakfast for you?

[00:04:26] When we go through the steps of the day, we can then start to think about going to work. Where are you going? Are you even going to work? Do you work from home? Do you not work at all? If you do go to work, where is your office or your place of work? Who are you working with? What type of leader do you have? What are you the leader? And if you are, what type of leader are you?

[00:04:50] Encourage you to go into as much detail as possible. I know for some of you this is gonna be really hard because of the fact that you aren’t really a detail [00:05:00] oriented person, and if you aren’t, that’s okay. Use whatever strengths or gifts that you have. If you are more of a visual person than the way that that detail starts to come out might be through drawing, doodling, or through, like I said, creating a really detailed and in depth Pinterest board that allows you to absorb all of that amazing beauty through your eyeballs. Something that you can continue to look back on and tweak and change over time until you feel like it is an amazing visual representation of what your ideal day would look like and feel like.

[00:05:42] If you are more into the journaling, then you have the option of the amount of detail and the way that you actually tell the story. I had a client who I’ll always remember her ideal day exercise because I know that when I [00:06:00] read it, it was so real. Her creative writing skills were next level to the stage where as I was reading her story, I had to keep saying to her like, is this part real or is that like part of the future? And it was just so interesting in looking at the way that she had weaved her senses and also dialogue and conversation through her story and really brought it to life.

[00:06:29] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at

[00:06:49] So you might be wondering, what the hell does this have to do with my career? Why are you making me do this exercise? It probably even for some of you, sounds like [00:07:00] it’s a little bit of a time waster, or that it’s a little bit wishy-washy, but I can promise you it is really, really powerful.

[00:07:06] So one of the things that I really love about this exercise is that it does give you the opportunity to dream. It does allow you to think like, if anything were possible, what would you do? Where would you be? Who would you be with? What would your life look like? What would your life feel like? How would you celebrate the life that you have? For me, I think that dreaming piece is just so impactful because it does open your eyes and allow you to really recognize what is most important to you.

[00:07:42] One of the things as well that I love about this exercise is that often stuff comes up that you didn’t know was there. I always find this happens for me when journaling anyway, but even when doing like that Pinterest exercise and doing it from a visually represented way, I find that sometimes I [00:08:00] might come across something and think, oh wow, like I didn’t really know that I coveted that, but now that I’ve seen it and I’ve looked at it and I can notice the feelings that are in my body, as I’m looking at that image, I realize that, yeah, that’s really important to me.

[00:08:17] I think that this is one thing or one way that we can look at jealousy differently. I’ll definitely do another podcast in the future about jealousy or about envy, but I find that often when we are envious of someone, it usually is because of the fact that they’ve got something that we want and we are just experiencing that desire in our body in a different way.

[00:08:43] So that, you know, our, our body and our mind and our soul are communicating together and kind of going, Hey, hey you. This is something that I really want. Because otherwise maybe we wouldn’t know, right? So I love it from that perspective. But the [00:09:00] other perspective that I take when I look at this exercise is the change.

[00:09:04] So I mentioned earlier in the episode, you know, this idea of being able to make changes or moving towards the the ideal day that you have designed. And really what I find is that sometimes even just those small incremental changes, like for instance, upgrading your sheets could be really revolutionary when it comes to reminding yourself of how capable you are of how possible it is for you to move towards this ideal life. And over time, as you continue to make these tiny changes, they have a huge impact. You know, we always know that tiny little actions when added together can be really impactful. And I think this is the perfect example of that.

[00:09:54] It is such a lovely way to do goal setting [00:10:00] and then to take action towards your goal setting and to bring each of these things into reality, especially because I am such a huge advocate of celebrating. So every time you make one of these incremental changes, every time you do something that’s moving you closer towards your ultimate, ideal day, you’re then also giving yourself an opportunity to celebrate.

[00:10:25] And we know that celebration itself is such a high vibe activity and is really, really important when it comes to us jumping off what I’ve seen described as the hedonic treadmill, where we just continue to move from one thing to the next without really taking a moment to let it all sink in.

[00:10:47] So what do you think? Are you going to give this exercise a try? What does your ideal day look like and what incremental changes can you start making today [00:11:00] to move closer to your dream? I can’t wait to hear all about it. I’ll see you in the next episode.

[00:11:08] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you wanna continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.


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About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.