I just stepped off the treadmill, grabbed a glass of ice water, and sat down at my desk.

It’s shortly after 5 am, and I am awake, alive, and ready.

Since an ideal day for me starts with exercise, I am on my way.

When I passed through the kitchen to grab my water, I noticed the clear counters and the (mostly) empty sink. My ideal day doesn’t start with a perfect home, but it starts with an orderly one.

Jason Womack says that in order to live an ideal day, you first have to imagine one. As I climb upstairs after my run, I am imagining another component of an ideal day for me. On this ideal day, I sit down with my daughters during breakfast, instead of rushing around making their lunches. My ideal day includes time to sit, talk, and eat. But what will it take for that to happen?

Three things I am realizing I must do to live ideal days:

I must prepare. This morning, I had my running clothes ready in the hallway outside my bedroom so I could get dressed quickly and quietly, without turning on the lights and disturbing my family. To have an orderly home in which to begin my ideal day, I must do the work to keep it that way. To live an ideal day, I must prepare.

I must choose. In those early waking moments today, I thought about rolling over for another 30 minutes of sleep. I thought about starting work right away. To live my ideal day — which includes exercise first thing — I had to choose to exercise.

I must keep choosing. If I keep my ideal day in my focus, I know what the next choices are that I must make in order to continue on my way to an ideal day. My ideal day includes writing; I am writing. And, step by step, I must continue to see what I know is the next best thing to do, and then do it.

And one more thing I know:

Some challenges are outside of my control. When I publish this blog post, I’ll have about 45 minutes to work before my girls wake up and the next phase of my day begins. Or, my littlest girl could rise at any time, unable to sleep. She’ll want me to snuggle with her, and I’ll feel the conflict between wanting to get things done and wanting to cherish the moment. Or Natalie, the early riser of the bunch, could wake up soon and want to talk. I could be cranky, or I could be cheerful. I could give her a smile and a hug. Or I could send her back to bed.

On my ideal day, I choose the best things. I choose my daughters.

I choose to be alive in the moment.

Tell me something! How does your ideal day begin? What do you do to prepare for it? What choices do you make?