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  • Focus Challenge Day 2: Your Ideal Future


Welcome to Day 2 of the 5-day Focus Challenge.

(Update: Day 3 is now available)

If you haven’t yet, make sure to complete Day 1 before attempting today’s challenge. Today’s challenge is all about identifying your ideal future so you can start making progress towards creating it.

Let’s get started.

“I hate my job.”

No, I didn’t say that. I actually LOVE my job (it’s incredibly rewarding helping people take massive action on their goals and achieve the future they’ve always dreamed of). But based on a 2014 Gallup poll, it is true for the majority of Americans. According to Gallup, 70% of Americans think their job sucks.

And chances are it’s not just their job that sucks. Chances are, they are also unhappy about their relationships, their living environment, or the fact that they don’t work out as often as they should.

Many of them are stuck in a vicious cycle of negativity and they feel like they can’t escape it. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there right now. I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but I do know one thing:

You have the power and the potential to change.

And all you need to do is change where you’re going, “escape the cycle of the suck”, and dare to dream a different future.

Today, I give you the same advice – choose today to “escape the cycle of suck.” Fortunately, it’s not that difficult – all you need to do to change your path. If you don’t like where you are, stop doing what you’ve always done! And the way that you do this is by choosing not to look at your past. Instead, look to your ideal future.

Identifying your ideal future is extremely important. You will never achieve success by accident. You must identify where you are going before you figure out how you’re going to get there. The picture of your ideal future is the signpost you use to make sure that you are moving in the right direction.

Much like the entry to Angkor Wat.

Navigating the maze of life

Aerial view of Angkor Wat

A few years ago my family and I went to Angkor Wat Cambodia as part of our Asia Trip. Bela, my daughter, was still 7 and was understandably overwhelmed because it was the biggest structure that she’s ever seen that didn’t look like a building. Even as an adult, I was overwhelmed too and was even scared that we’d get lost since we didn’t get a guide. The further we went inside, the more confusing the temple became. But when we reached the highest part of the temple complex, our way became clearer because now we can see where we started and where we were heading. We could also see where we needed to go once we were done. We just needed to look for the lake since right after the lake we will surely find the exit.

This lake can serve as a focal point to make sure you are going the right way. Even though you can’t see the exit, as long as you’re moving towards your focal point (the lake) you can be sure you are moving in the right direction.

The picture of your ideal future will provide the motivation to stick with it when things don’t go exactly as you want.

That’s exactly what the picture of your ideal future does.

We all have reasons to be unsatisfied with where we are right now. But if all you do is complain about your current situation, you’ll never be able to get out of the maze. You have to find a marker and start moving towards it. You must choose to escape the cycle of suck and start moving towards the future that you’ve always dreamed of before you can ever achieve it.

Those who do not think about the future cannot have one. – Michael Kami

So today, choose to focus on where you’re going, not where you’ve been. Abraham Lincoln once said that the best part about the future is that it arrives one day at a time. Your future begins today, but first, you must choose to be intentional about where you are going and create a mental image of your ideal future.


Spend at least 10 minutes today thinking about your ideal future. Picture yourself in 5 years, 10 years, even 20 years – what does a day in the life of the future you look like? What would it look like if you were wildly successful? Here are some important details to consider:

  • What time do you get up in the morning?
  • What do you during the day?
  • What kind of job do you have?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What do you do for exercise?
  • Where do you live?
  • Who are the important people in your life that are there with you?
  • What kind of car do you drive?
  • What is your relationship with your significant other like?
  • What is your relationship with your kids (if you have any) like?

Once you know what kind of future you want, WRITE IT DOWN! You could either use words or pictures if you prefer, but be as specific as possible. The more specific you are about your ideal future, the stronger the image gets imprinted in your mind and the stronger your “why” becomes. This will become very important in helping you follow through and take action to achieve your ideal future, even when you don’t feel like it.

Once you’re done, let us know in the comments. If you are using a picture, feel free to share it (you can use a Dropbox link or Pasteboard)!

(Update: Day 3 is now available)

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  1. Not an easy exercise to do in some ways, but this time I was able to envision a couple more things so it’s been really quite helpful

  2. Done!
    Some of the things I want in my future I have already implemented this last month. It is as it says: if you don’t like where you are, stop doing it! Easier said than done, but about a month ago I got tired of my chaotic mornings and just started to get up earlier to do some yoga and drink some tea. These are the kind of mornings I want in my future! And since I could change this I get empowered and feel I can change other things too.

  3. I’d wake up at 8am in Bali. Go get a smoothy, hit the gym, then go between an ice bath and a sauna. After I grab some food and walk the beach for 10m then stopping to stretch and meditate. I then proceed to check my ads for my laptop wanderlust click funnel. Then I start responding to students of my courses and maybe do some video chats.

    I check all my income streams, my books, courses, affiliate marketing on my blog and YouTube along with YouTube ad earnings and merch. My networth is growing faster than I can keep track and I’m barely spending any of it, I just passed the $1,000,000 mark. My camera man is following me throughout my whole day and making a video of it.

    I grab more delicious food for 3$.

    I then check on my va’s for my dropshipping sites. Listening to recorded customer calls. Then I check my advertising sources Google PLAs, Bing and retargeting sources.

    I begin to read over my latest student success stories and am overwhelmed with joy. I have helped thousands of people achieve freedom through their laptop and completely changed their lives.

    Life is amazing. I take a break to go surfing and eat more food. I am going scuba diving on the weekend but I just can’t keep myself off the ocean.

  4. It’s a good time to do this exercise because I’m in the middle of a transition in my career. I’ve decided on a new direction but don’t know yet how exactly it’s gonna look like. Now I realize that I have a solid foundation: good relationships, supportive people, and resources to help me move towards my ideal future.

  5. Done. This is a powerful tool. My life has gone through a lot of changes in the past 2 years. And I need to be more concrete on the next few years ‘ direction. Mapped and laid out.

  6. Get a job as project manager or similar att my current employer. Being a person tha can coach others and make sure everyone is working in the right directions and support them were needed.

  7. Strange… I submitted a comment last night before 9 MST, but I can’t find it here.

    The exercise was interesting in that it forced me to reconsider the trajectory my life is on – they say that if you keep doing what you’re doing you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. This exercise helped me think outside that trajectory – and it has been helpful to do that.

  8. Thanks for sharing this exercise, really fruitful I feel for me. I have never done something like this. Although I done complete exercise but for brief update I would like to mention my 5 year goal. Thanks.
    I get up at 5 am regularly.
    I do shoots & meetings, read books & blogs for learning purposes.
    I am working for prestigious photography firm & side by side I am doing my own photography business.
    I play games & watch movies. I do travel for international holidays.
    Early morning meditation 5:00-5:30. After that 45 mins workout in gym.
    I live in France.
    I live with my wife in France. I visit my parents frequently.
    Car I drive is economical but efficient.
    Relationship with spouse is Beautiful, we love & respect each other a lot.
    Relationship with kids are fun. I play with them. Take them to the walk.

  9. I read this through yesterday and was resistant to answer the questions. They remind me so much of the question you’d get in your junior year of high school as you are preparing for college and deciding what you might like to major in, or the question in a job interview where do you see yourself in 5 years? The honest reaction I have to these types of questions is “I have no idea” or “I don’t know, but I sure hope it’s not here.” Today, I revisited the questions and allowed myself to dream unashamedly.

  10. Done. Have done similar exercises in past, but used a visualization instead of written list this time. My spouse found the visualization to be more understandable than my lists from past

  11. This was incredibly difficult… it took me much longer than I expected. The truth is that I am not sure what I want to do next… where do I see myself going next… I really don’t know. I am in a very weird place right now. So I actually put down a task for myself to figure this out soon.

    That being said, there were parts that were much easier to figure out and document.

  12. Done! When I visualise a day in my life in the future it doesn’t match with my current life anymore, but it feels so much better.

  13. This was such a therapeutic exercise because it made me realize what I’m already doing to get myself there and shouldn’t always be so hard on myself.

  14. One of the realizations I had doing the exercise is that I need to develop better routines to maximize effort. I have habits, like exercise, but habits can be inefficient without clear routines to follow. Doing what one is supposed to do is OK, but doing it really well is great.

  15. I love this exercise. I try to do it once a year. Thanks for the reminder. It was good to revisit what I wrote last year & make some changes :-)

  16. Done. Starting with my 25 years vision, and then the 5 years, as the last one will build the path to the first one, and give the goals to focus on now.

  17. Completed, was quite a thought provoking exercise and took some thinking time. This has created a solid base to start off with now!!

  18. Great way to think more specifically about the future. I found picturing 5 & 10 years out much easier than 20. That far out still looks fuzzy for me.

  19. Done. It was nice to have a good reason to actually sit down and think concretely about how you want your future to talk and where you want to be! Thanks.

  20. I have been avoiding doing the ‘values’ exercises in my Dojo courses but my commitment to this week’s focus gave me a great ‘why’ to do this now and not keep putting it off.

    I loved doing this.

    My greatest insights were that “What I want to do is creative, it feeds my soul, it is meaningful to me and makes a difference to others, it is purposeful, it is beautiful, it is fun.”

    I noticed how often soul and heart came up in my answers, and how expansive I felt at the thought of being able to honour my ‘heart’s desire’ in all aspects of my life.

  21. Finished. This was hard. And I still feel like pieces aren’t fully fleshed out, but it felt really good to start thinking about what I want life to be like.

  22. I think I finally understand the use of pictures to help you achieve goals. Pictures convey things that words just can’t sometimes. Now, next step….find the pictures that match my goals in real…not superficial ways.

  23. Done. I struggled the most with where I live, but most of the other questions I felt I had a strong answer for each.

  24. Done. A little late in the day, started it this morning then was pulled away in an emergency with our dog! Was a good exercise for me to refocus on the changes i have been making

  25. Done, but it was a struggle. Interestingly, I allowed myself to dream about a writer’s retreat I want to develop, once my business is established. There is a spark with the idea that I will explore – almost like the push I need to get past the hard part of starting. Unexpected bonus. Thank you!

  26. Done. I can’t say even in all of the things I try to commit to paper to help them stick… That I have thought of doing this exercise or something similar. Very eye-opening and this will be reviewed weekly and adjusted as needed!

  27. Done. It’s nice to dream. I think I may have a block around these types of things because so much of the outcomes are tied up in other relationships and I don’t feel full agency over how things go. Good exercise though.

  28. Done. I found after doing this exercise that I have been heading in the right direction. I have always had a hard time planing for the future because I was happy with my present , but my dreams have changed and I feel that I can be even happier than I was.

  29. Done, but I struggled with this. I could have answered things fairly easily last year, but now I’m thinking of applying for a new job in a new city. If I take it, my 5 years would look different from if I stayed where I am. I think I have to think more about this. I’ll come back to it next week…

  30. It had been quite a while since I did this… Interesting to see how my long-term vision was not that different, but the short-term one was. I think it has to do with being realistic about what one can do in the short term and that can scale up!

  31. It all boils down to freedom for me. Freedom from financial pressure. Free to spend time with my loved ones when I want to and not just when I can. Free to choose which challenges or opportunities I want to take on. Free to live exactly how I want.

  32. a helpful exercise, though i noticed my own initial resistance was likely due to my “cycle of suck.” but in mapping the future, i found i’m closer to my lake focal point than i thought, already doing some of the little things i hope my future self will be doing a lot more of. thanks, ae!

  33. I have done exercises like this before and it was great to sit down and do this one. I realized (like Emily) that I already have several things in place, or close to it, that are what I want ideally. That made me feel good about where I am.

  34. Done! I jumped on the mind map bandwagon too, it’s easier to see for the way my brain works. Thanks to yesterday’s exercise I finally started swimming again after a 3+ year hiatus. It’s amazing what can happen if you just pick the rocks you want to work on and then go for it. “We first make our habits, then our habits make us.”

  35. Done. I made a mind map and found some connections between different parts of my ideal future – definitely areas to focus more. Powerful and eye opening exercise. Thanks.

  36. Wow, that felt really good!! My husband and I have already talked lots about this lately, as we focus on building a new business that we get us where we want. But to have these specific questions to help make that future and desire more tangible was a huge help. Thank you!

  37. Thankfully I had a good head start on this activity as I’d already written my ideal future. It was mostly just checking over it to see if it was still relevant!

  38. Done. Some of these questions were easy to answer and others not so much. I can see how it could be helpful to keep thinking about these questions to get more clarity on my answers.

  39. These were great questions. I did something a few years ago and that is what put me in my doctoral program. Yes at 50, I am the oldest one in my class but never too old to keep learning. My schooling has placed me on a certain path, for now. Remaining flexible to change is inevitable.

    Thanks for another great reflection.

  40. Love this one. I actually have a Lifebook devoted to my life vision. Creating it was an amazing experience.

  41. This exercise is powerful in bringing clarity into what I can be doing now to get to where I really want to go. It’s fun to get specific with those guided questions and write down my dream life because that’s what gets me focused and motivated.

  42. This one was hard. I definitely get what some mentioned about guilt when answering some of the questions. It’s going to require some more thinking to “finalize” the answers a bit.

  43. I finished this. This was an eye-opener. It made me realize some changes that I’m going to have to do if I want to achieve my goals.

  44. Thanks for sharing. Completed the exercise. Definitely want to revisit. I really enjoyed the question “Who are the important people in your life that are there with you?” I need to reflect on that one a little more to assure that I have a complete list.

  45. Right now my ideal future includes a healthier body as I’m still recovering from an accident. This is my main challenge for the next year. And has been a part of my daily imaging sessions for several months now.

  46. This is a great exercise! My entire life plan has changed since the birth of my now 2-year old (when I was 42). I definitely need a new benchmark along my future sightline!

  47. This isn’t my first time doing this exercise, so I’ve sort of fine-tuned it. I’m fortunate in that I got to retire ten years ago and move to Mexico in order to pursue my dream of being a fulltime novelist. I’m doing that in an ideal climate and the following represents how I hope things enroll:


    Five Years in the Future

    I’ll be 77 years old. But not thinking about age.
    I’ll get up at 7, regularly and feel good about it.
    The year will be 2024:
    2019 Clark Ransom Novels Series (4 novels)
    2020 Paradise Wars Series (4 Novels)
    2021 RI Vampires Series (4 Novels)
    2022 Four novels in the order of most successful to existing series.
    2023 Four more novels in the order of most successful (For a total of 20 novels)
    I will have worked in an hour a day of marketing during this period.
    Will have begun traveling a little more.
    Tom and I will pass our 50th anniversary.
    I will decide if I want to continue writing. After I have my 20 novels up.
    Do I still like it? Is it making money? Would I rather do something else?
    More fluent in Spanish.
    Start thinking about translating my novels into Spanish for my Mexican friends and neighbors.

    Ten Years from Now …

    I’ll be 82.

    Will aim for a work of literary fiction a year that is appealing and one additional novel to one of my series.
    Will have made plans for my estate and transferring over these assets.
    Will spend half the time writing than I did before.
    Travel more.
    Exercise that focuses on flexibility and endurance and muscle tone and maintaining my weight.
    Will become more active in San Miguel.
    Tom and I will still be a model couple.

    Twenty Years from Now…

    Truly retired and enjoying my life.
    Doing what I need to do to stay healthy and loving.

  48. I really started being more mindful since I achieved a huge leap forward on my career this year: now that I have people to manage I painfully realized that I needed to be really focused, that I couldn’t waste my time anymore and that I needed to know where I want to go to finally avoid being kept prisoner of the flow of life and other people decisions. I really want to be a good leader for my team, to reach my goals and to impact positively on my family and myself. I’m thankful forbeing part of this challenge even if I only discovered the AE Community some weeks ago. I really like that you are “forcing” me to take actions, to make clarity. Now i’ve figured out my +3 +8 +18 Goals. I posted the most powerful picture i could focus on in which I envision myself giving an amazing on stage presentation to hundreds of people. This will be my ideal life picture:
    1. I get up at 6 am without bothering my family sleep.
    2. I’m busy in meetings and networking, inspiring people to reach their full potential. I have time for myself to learn always new things.
    3. I am leading an enthusiastic team of people inside a big company or I finally have found my way to become a successful entrepreneur.
    4. For fun i’m visiting wonderful new places with my family.
    5. I continue practicing martial arts with my friends while have been successful on keep exercising every single day with no excuses.
    6. I still live in Italy on some beautiful countryside village.
    7. I have my family with me, my wife, my son and my cats, and maybe a dog since I don’t live on rental anymore.
    8. I will not need to drive a car, I could use Uber and finally fully enjoy the journey.
    9. Me and my wife will be enjoying in happiness and fulfillment our time together being with a better work/life balance.
    10. I will be proud of my son achievements, proud of him being happy and successful, knowing that I had been a good father and I really helped him to find his own way to be happy.

  49. I wrote down these questions on a lined post-it note and will revisit these quarterly. I wrote down my answers in my bullet journal. They were great thought provoking questions! Thanks!

  50. Done. Although I’ve been beaten down on this type of excercise these past few years as I have gotten major curve balls thrown at me with several years of no progress on a chronically ill husband, and business financials falling flat no matter what tweaking I continue to try (18 years). I’ve started to try and not plan things as much, and focus on strengthening my ability to withstand knock downs better, as I’m burning out and exhausted in having target moving so far so often. I’ll keep trying to be creative with it though

  51. I found this one quite tough to really think about, and in a way felt quite guilty about some of the thing I “wanted” in the future. Excellent activity to give clarity though!

  52. In addition to my previous comment: I did complete the exercise. I just added both jobs in my new picture of my future. It’s actually even more exciting now that I realized that I might be able to do both and that I don’t have to choose :-)))

  53. Done! I am pretty close in some ways but in other aspects of my life there is much room for improvement… Thanks!

  54. This exercise is a bit difficult at the moment. I had quite a clear picture of what I wanted my future to be, but recently I found the job that I always wanted but kind of gave up on. So now it could be that my new job gets me into a new world that is even more interesting to me, than my previous plan of starting an online business on the side. But it also could happen both! So I decided to stay focused on my online side-business and just see what happens in my new job. :-)

  55. I’m quite happy with where I am today, and my challenge is my projections for 10 or 20 years seems so endless! 😂 I see a few options but haven’t decided which one. Hopefully tomorrow addresses this need for focus further

  56. Done checked off.

    I answered for 5 years, as I found 10 and 20 years too far out.

    You will go where you are aimed.

    My biggest aim is learn and keep learning something new, and relax and enjoy the ride.

  57. This is pretty easy! I have done a lot of work previously on what my ideal life is, and I’ve made a lot of progress toward it.

    I live in Northern Utah, in a small town, near The Cabin where my partner lives. I have a place that’s not fancy, but clean and cozy with enough space for me and my tiny dog and my motorcycles and my home gym and my craft room and office — I work from my home, doing the work that I already do, working for the company that I already work for. When I’m not working I do all the things that I already love to do — riding, skiing, hiking, camping, fishing, crocheting, reading, etc. Life is steady and settled and calm.

    All that I’m really lacking for this to be reality is the OK from my current employer to work remotely.

  58. I have done this recently when I have updated my vision statement/core values. It may be good to revisit these questions every quarter too. Most of my future planning is directed at a professional goal, but interestingly, the environment and people present when I think about that future/goal are non-work related. This suggests to me the right people and environment outside of ‘work’ can facilitate goals for ‘work’ – and aligns with the life balance idea not the work/life balance idea (i.e. they are not separate).

  59. Done. Some of these were easy. Some, not so easy. But they give me an idea of where to start. So with that, now I need to make a game plan on how to attack and move in that direction. I’m on board!

  60. Well, these first 2 days of the focus challenge have been quite interesting. I’ve been on this treadmill for far too long. It’s time to step off of the treadmill and onto solid ground so that I can actually get somewhere with my steps!

  61. I do this with the “6 Phase Meditation” of Mindvalley.
    Plans for the future are established and I use “The ONE Thing” and “12 Week Year” to focus on what’s is “due” for the next year.

    During “reviews” things can change a little and sails will be adjusted according to the “blowing wind”.

  62. Done! This challenge was interesting – I didn’t realize how many things I consider ideal that I’m either already doing or am close to achieving. Makes me realize how fortunate I am and how well I’m already doing. Grateful for that :)

  63. This exercise was interesting and helped me formulate what my goals really mean. Also, it helped me see that things aren’t too bad right now.

    I currently exercise like I would except I would have more time so would probably do more.

    We already do some of the things we think are fun, just not as often as we should.

    I am blessed that my husband and I still would rather be with each other more than anyone else.

  64. Some highlights:

    What time do you get up in the morning? – 6AM (NYC starts work at 10AM)
    What do you during the day? – When I’m not working; read, walk in the park, learn something new
    What kind of job do you have? – DevOps, helping automate the workflow
    What do you do for fun? – board games and walks with my wife
    What do you do for exercise? – walk 3-6 miles a day

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