“Go forth and be fierce” —
Every day when you wake up, you have two choices: to make the most out of it or to keep “busy” while not actually accomplishing anything at all. I find that many of us choose to look busy by jam-packing our days with activities and endless to-do’s. But are we actually accomplishing anything?
The end of the summer and the start of a new school year always leaves me feeling reflective. I consider how far I’ve come in the year up to this point, and what I still have yet to accomplish. Whether you want to make more time for your kids, get an extra 30 minutes of sleep in per night, or eat healthier and get more exercise, we all have big plans for ourselves. And while these big goals are important, I find it’s our small, day-to-day practices that are most significant in setting ourselves up to accomplish the big things. When you focus on specific daily practices, your larger goals will naturally flow out of you. Why? Because small steps to be more grateful, eliminate excuses, and try to not manage too many things at once are monumental goal-setting tactics.
But beyond crossing things off a checklist, there are 4 specific things you can do to really make the day count.
1. Be Grateful
Every day, I remember how blessed I am. Even on our worst days, we all have something to be grateful for — whether that’s a sunny day, our health, or even just a really good cup of coffee. The simple act of looking for things to be grateful for puts us in a state of positivity and mindfulness, where we become more aware of our surroundings and seek out the good. In our day-to-day hectic lives, we too often forget to take a moment to pause and reflect on the many reasons why we are so blessed.
For an added bonus, share your gratitude with your friends. There is nothing greater than creating a positive environment where people feel empowered to share their feelings and get uplifted. As much as possible, try to move through the world seeking positivity and gratefulness.
2. No Excuses
Many of us are plagued by the dreaded condition of excuses. You may think you’re tired, that you don’t have enough time, or that it’s too hard/impossible/unattainable (I’ll let you fill in the blank). But these are just excuses, something that you tell yourself in order to lessen the blow of knowing you just don’t make whatever it is a priority. Try to overcome your need to make excuses by turning your actions into habits. So instead of making excuses for why you can’t go to the gym or spend an hour more working to improve your business, just do it. Carve out the time and get it done.
If you really want to make the most out of your days (and life), eliminate excuses completely. In reality, we have the same 24 hours in a day as Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Michael Jordan. If they can accomplish all that they have, what’s our excuse? Excuses are self-sabotaging and it’s impossible to truly be successful if you consistently make them. Instead, empower yourself to make time for the things you want and then back it by action.
3. Tackle One Thing
The never-ending laundry pile, the bills you have to pay, or the emails you have to send? Things pile up, and it can be overwhelming to try to get it all done — which is when most of us just quit before we even start. Instead, focus on tackling just one thing, and make it your mission to just get it done. Once that is completed, you can move on to the next to-do. However, knowing that you were able to cross even just one thing off your checklist is confidence boosting, and has been shown to improve focus and drive when trying to complete future tasks.
4, Go Easy on Yourself
While you should be a go-getter and goal-setter, you also will inevitably have to give yourself the benefit of the doubt sometimes. We make mistakes and we don’t always make the best decision, but that’s okay. Here’s your reminder that it’s necessary to be able to laugh at yourself and and see the humor in difficult situations.
Self-criticism is not the key to self improvement, so treat yourself the way you would a friend; with compassion, tolerance, and understanding. If your friend made a mistake or oversight, you wouldn’t get upset at them or think they are anything less… so why are you so easily willing to do it to yourself? When you practice self-compassion, it in turn increases your motivation, makes you more resilient, and lowers your stress levels and feelings of overwhelm.
Make today COUNT by following these 4 simple steps. And once you get into the rhythm of practicing these things, you will turn your goals into habits and it won’t be as difficult to get things done. But remember, no matter what you do, go forth and be fierce.