Step back for a moment from those ever-present goals, resolutions, and glorious new habits we’re bent on creating. Knowing where you want to go and what you want to do is only half the battle. Knowing how you will best use each day, will shape the rest of your life.
Try asking yourself these questions at the start of each day:
What thought will I begin the day with?
What happens in the first 10 minutes of our day, to great extent determines how the rest will follow. We have two choices; we can either take a few brief moments before we rise, to choose the thought or intention, which will guide our day. Or, we can jump out of bed and hit the ground running, rushing blindly through the rest of our day.
Which sounds nicer?
If your first thought upon waking is, “O Lord, not another day!” Or, “I hate my job, I hate my body, life sucks. Here we go again…” Try a new one. How would you like your day to be? What would you like to do today? Not tasks, think bigger picture.
“Today I will focus on actions, which align with my business goals.”
“I am shaping the minds of tomorrow.”
“Today, I will lead with kindness.”
“I am making healthy choices that will shape the quality of my future life.”
Whatever your thought is, make it a good one. Make it a positive one. Make it a truthful one.
What do I want to do today, that will improve my life, or the lives of others?
Is it a phone call? Is it an overdue task, which has been hanging over your head? Is it a bold action that you have been putting off, hoping that the courage will come?
Maybe it’s as simple as do the laundry or get groceries. Maybe it’s finish that proposal or that project. Maybe it’s work on writing that chapter. Maybe it’s ask for help. Maybe it’s look for new job or revise your resume. Maybe it’s pay the bills or balance your checkbook. Maybe it’s even volunteer to help someone else.
Sift through your list of intended goals, behavior changes, or items to achieve or complete. See if there is anything that you can do to make progress towards any of those objectives.
Highlight this action, and put it at the top of your list.
What qualities or behaviors do I need to call on today?
Even when we know what we want to do, and how we want to be, often our attitudes and behaviors undermine us. Look at how you’d like your day to be. What qualities do you need to demonstrate to make that day a reality?
- Courage – I need to be brave and bold in my actions. My day will not be driven or derailed by my fears.
- Patience – I need to be patient with others and myself. Things do not always happen on my timetable and people do not always move at my pace. That does not mean that the results I want will not come.
- Positivity – I need to stay positive, and optimistic whenever possible. Criticism and complaining will get me nowhere. They only serve to keep me stuck in my own negativity and will not help me achieve my goals in any way.
- Perseverance – I need to stay on course, and keep going, even when I no longer want to. When work or life become tedious, boring, or difficult, I need to keep pushing myself to finish what I have started.
The behaviors are qualities that you need to call on will be different from mine, and they will very likely change from day to day, according to where you are in your life and what you want to get done. The important thing is knowing which ones will best serve you in this day.
How will I determine if my day has been successful?
It’s extremely important to define what would make today successful or “good enough.” Be reasonable and realistic in your expectations. Most days, “good enough,” will be… well… good enough.
Consider both measurable and qualitative results. Clean the house, finish the project that’s due today, or make 20 sales calls, are clearly measurable. While laugh with my children, enjoy the company of others, or do the highest quality work possible are more qualitative, and therefore subjective.
The good news is, you are the only one who gets to decide.
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