It’s Monday. It’s cold. Again.You’d much rather be in bed right now, or sipping hot cocoa with the company of a great read. Sorry about your luck. So, since you’re here anyway, how about we make the most of the day?
Facing down a tough day ahead – or even a tough time of life – can seem overwhelming. It’s easy to feel paralyzed by the details, the what-if’s, and the fear of ultimate defeat. With all that pending, why start at all? Because that’s what will bring you ultimate victory; starting.
When you don’t know where to start, it’s probably because you have so many options; pick one. If you’re a list person, try jotting down all that you have on your mind, then choose your priorities based on necessity, easy victory, urgency, or affect on others (either other people or other projects).
Once you start somewhere, other issues begin to fall into place, prioritizing themselves as you go. You’ll build momentum through the day, and that which looked impossible before will begin filling up your “done” file. The accomplishment alone is a great reward, but don’t hesitate to set up an extra reward as incentive, too.
Besides the thrill (or at least the relief) of your accomplishments, you can increase your day’s ROI with a simple awareness boost. What do I mean? Look around you. What do you see in your office, car, or home? What books are available for your reading pleasure, self-improvement, or inspiration? What accomplishments are represented here? Even a filled gas tank can be cause for celebration. Look around at the people with whom you work. What are their attributes? How do they contribute to the company, the household, the world in general? Be fair here; it’s easy to find things to criticize, but someone with a keen awareness can usually find something of value.
Word of warning: As you look around, don’t simply focus on the negative. My grandfather used to say, “You have to look for the good, ‘cause the bad will find you.” Think more like Tigger and Pooh Bear than Eeyore and Piglet. If you can’t help but see all the areas of weakness instead of strength, choose one thing you’d like to change and set up a plan to do just that.
Focus on Others
Add value to any day by refocusing on others’ needs instead of just your own. If you’ve incorporated the “Awareness” idea, you’ve probably noticed someone else who has some kind of need. A kind word, a pencil loan, a sidewalk shoveled, or a simple smile can make someone else’s day and add value to yours. Your random and conscious acts of kindness to others also offer perspective. This nearly effortless practice helps expand the world that might otherwise seem to be collapsing around you. You create a feeling of connection with others, replacing the loneliness commonly felt in times of struggle with a worthwhile bond to another human being. Besides your own improved outlook is the effect kindness has on others, adding value to their day and lives as well.
Remember to Say ‘Thank You’
Thankfulness improves any situation. If you look hard enough, there is always something for which to give thanks. It could be big or small, but there’s something. Maybe you’ve been the recipient of someone else’s act of kindness; say thanks. Perhaps your boss approved your vacation, loaned you a pen, or answered your email in a timely manner. Say thanks. Don’t forget those who work to serve you, too, whether employees, assistants, family members, or even your favorite barista. If they’ve done anything to make life better or even simply done their job, say thanks. Everyone appreciates appreciation!
Remember the big things, too, when you’re looking for a reason to give thanks. If you have a job, it means someone hired you, worked for you, or purchased from you. Say thanks. How about providing you with a home, food, or even life? Send a cheerful card or make a phone call to say thanks for that which we normally take for granted.
“We have all received one blessing after another”, whether we acknowledge it or not. Food to eat, clothes to wear, shelter and warmth from the cold, friendships, health, abilities, and intelligence are all things for which to be thankful. The fact that you are here reading this, working through your day, and getting anything done at all is evidence of a life for which to be thankful. Savor the good of the day; what you accomplished, the observations you made, the people with whom you connected, and the blessings you received and gave to others. The value you gain will not only make this day worthwhile; it will give you the momentum to shine again tomorrow.