We live in challenging times and often, it is difficult to be positive, inspired and inspiring. It seems as if we are just dragging ourselves from day to day feeling exhausted, defeated, disappointed and hopeless. We know what we should be thinking, feeling and doing but we don’t because we are looking at the big story of our individual lives instead of making each day count for something – something positive and inspiring for ourselves as well as for others.
Below are 8 suggestions to help us make each day count.
1. Refresh our faith. We are vulnerable to fear and despair when our faith is weak or non-existent. We feel lonely and empty even in good times. Refreshing our faith daily with prayer, reading and meditation lifts the fog of misery for hope and courage to slip in.
2. Wake with gratitude. With all the challenges we face, we might be tempted to greet the day with discontent and grumbling. That’s a guaranteed recipe for a miserable life. While troubles may walk with us we can always find a few things to be grateful for. If we focus on those, we can ease into our day instead of stumbling and falling all over our own negative thoughts.
3. Set a mental course. Sometimes, when we have to jump into our day’s commitments, we might not have time to draft a to-do list, which is important to keep on track with all we have to do. Nevertheless, we can still outline our day’s agenda in our heads by recalling each task in two or three words to make them easier to remember.
4. Link to yesterday. We can always identify something – a mistake, a failure, a success, a friendship, a problem, a solution, an idea, an injustice, a compassionate gesture from our past that can inform, improve and inspire our lives in the present. Even our futures, as veiled as they are, can be more promising with lessons we’ve learned as we travelled yesterday’s path.
5. Lighten our luggage. Harassed and exhausted, it is all too comfortable to lug the same old negative elements behind us day after day. Every so often, we should dig into our luggage and get rid of the old and irrelevant “stuff”, not just to make the load lighter but also to create room for the good “stuff” that lies ahead.
6. Tread purposely. With life as challenging, uncertain and short as it is, we should undertake every task with purpose – understanding and fulfilling our responsibilities with dedication and discipline. It is a habit that will save us from nursing regret and gradually, it will also bring joy into the mix.
7. Aim for excellence. Having to do the same things every day often makes us bored, complacent and inclined to mediocrity. Likewise, when faced with tasks that take us out of our comfortable place, we do them half-heartedly or with fear that we might fail or disappoint people. Excellence in everything is a good motto to tag to each day, even if for our own satisfaction.
8. Be gentle with ourselves. We can be too hard on ourselves. However, when we treat ourselves gently (relax, breathe, play, exercise and nourish our minds, our spirits and our bodies), we develop into well-rounded people who in turn, treat others gently.
Despite the challenges we might be facing, our lives can still be rich, worthwhile and inspiring,. We can make each day count by using these suggestions to help us live each day in the flow of faith, gratitude, contentment, joy, purpose and compassion. What a legacy!
(Published in the Trinidad Guardian’s Womanwise Magazine Sunday May 26th 2013)