When we view our lives as a whole, single days don’t seem all that important. We’ll always have tomorrow — what’s so special about today?
It’s a valid question. After all, life is full of second chances, new dawns, fresh starts. It seems perfectly reasonable to delay our hopes and dreams for just another day, write that article tomorrow or sleep in until the afternoon.
But in our procrastinating efforts, we’re missing one crucial detail. Life is just a long string of todays. Each day matters as much as the next — even this one.
As James T. McCay put it,
“Tomorrow you promise yourself will be different, yet tomorrow is too often a repetition of today.”
If tomorrow is, indeed, too often a repetition of today, it follows that we should learn how to make today as great as it can be — to prime our minds for maximum performance, happiness and progress. But how?
It all starts with simple steps that contribute to improve our overall wellbeing; habits that become our way of life and improve our state of mind. Here are six to get you started:
Walking has long been used as a remedy for stress, and it’s also great for peace of mind, productivity and inspiration. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘all truly great thoughts are conceived while walking’.
Make it a daily habit to head out into nature, take a break from the busyness of day-to-day living and let your creativity flow. Reset your clock both mentally and physically
Whether you’re bored, tired, stressed, sad or just need a change of scenery — go for a walk and you’ll feel much better for it. It’s easy exercise. Just move.
We all have temptations and urges: to stay in bed, eat junk food, cancel our meetings. Succumbing to these only makes us more likely to give into similar temptations throughout the rest of our day. After all, the opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
When you resist temptation once, you change your mindset to one that pushes you to get more done. You become part of a chain reaction of accomplishments, fuelled by you.
Instead of giving into false desires and delaying your progress until tomorrow, just do what you need to do and filter out any temptations. Trust your gut. Say no to that slice of cake and put down your phone instead of scrolling. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Every single day. Just read. It doesn’t matter what, who, where — even just a few pages of reading each day provides infinite benefits. Read philosophy, fiction, romance. Anything.
There are millions of books in existence, each one an embodiment of somebody else’s life and experiences — their lifelong wisdom imparted into small, easily-digestible stories.
Even books about subjects you care little for, be they finances or physics, will serve to broaden your mind and enlighten you to new perspectives. And if you don’t have time to read, make time. Spend less time scrolling through social media or watching TV and use those extra thirty minutes to read.
Amidst the chaos of day-to-day living, how often do take the time simply to be still? When do we ever press the pause button on our to-do list and take five minutes just to breathe?
If you’re anything like me, very rarely is probably the answer. But working really hard and never stopping to rest only makes us feel more stressed and less productive in the long run.
So once every day, try and find ways to unplug yourself. Put down your phone, get away from the noise and just be. Let your thoughts come and go, listen to the sounds around you and settle into this moment. You’ll feel much better for it.
At the end of every day, take some time to reflect. Did you complete all of the tasks you’d planned to? Do you wish you’d behaved differently at any moment?
Don’t judge your actions. Just observe, checking in with yourself and making sure you’re on the right track. And if you’re not, you can tweak things a little when you wake up the next morning.
Reviewing isn’t about being critical or beating yourself up. It’s about having a conversation with yourself and making a progress report to ensure that your actions align with your values, beliefs and goals.
Neglecting sleep in favour of hard work is a habit that always seems to be romanticized. ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead,’ say the hardcore hustlers across social media, gloating about the fact that they hardly sleep so that they can get more work completed.
But the thing is, without sleep, we’re nothing. We can’t function. Our bodies fall ill. Our concentration falters.
Neglecting rest for a few hours may indeed allow us to get more done in the short-term, but it’ll catch up with us before long. In the words of Tom Roth,
‘Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.’
It is the foundation of all of the above habits and by far the most important on this list. Sleep is what keeps us alive, and it’s crucial to success in any area. Simply making sure that you’re sleeping enough and at sensible times will improve the quality of every day that you have.
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