How would you like to improve your life?
To change your life, you have to adjust how you live. That’s daunting if you focus on having to do something different for “the rest of your life” (that seems overwhelming, doesn’t it?). But you can take positive steps by learning to live one day at a time.
You’ve probably heard that expression before: “Live one day at a time.” But is that really possible? And how does one actually do that? Be encouraged, because you can make progress if you work at it. There are some techniques that can help, such as:
Use your time well, just for today. Think about what is truly important in the long run, and each morning set a few goals for the day: Turn one worry over to God. Take a step to improve in some area. Call a friend just to catch up. Apologize to someone you have hurt. Spend some time in prayer. Learn something new. Be kind or helpful in some way. Choose to be engaged in worthwhile activities that will have meaning beyond today.
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” (Teddy Roosevelt)
Live in “day-sized compartments.” If there are tough things going on in your life, you can deal with them, for one day. If there is a bad habit you are trying to break, it is easier to show self-control, if only for one day. Each morning, you can choose to not get angry, not overeat, not have a drink, or not become consumed with worry, for just one day.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Don’t obsess about the past. You can learn from past events, and experience is often valuable. But you don’t need to spend time reliving negative events or being paralyzed with guilt about your mistakes. Instead, choose not to be weighed down by the burdens of your past and move on with your life, starting today.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
Don’t worry about tomorrow. Preparing for the future is good, in balance. But trust God with the outcome, then set your concerns aside and let them go. Worrying about what might happen won’t help. Only God knows the future, since he is in control of it.
“As you go step by step through each day, (God) unrolls the future before you. While you walk forward … you never set foot on anything but the present moment.” (Sarah Young)
Remain in the moment. At any given moment, life is going on, right where you are. Maybe you can pause to notice something that is interesting or beautiful. Perhaps you can pay closer attention to the person you are talking to and enter into their world a little more deeply. You can choose to enjoy being alive, for just that moment.
“Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” (Groucho Marx)
Personally, I don’t obsess about the past, but I often spend too much time dwelling on the future, making lots of plans, and sometimes worrying how all those plans will work out. I’m getting better, though, and with practice I’m finding it easier to do what I can do, but then trust God with the future rather than using up precious time worrying about it.
I can’t promise I will always be able to do that completely, but I can make progress–by living one day at a time.
Would you enjoy life more by living one day at a time?
Note on last week’s blog post: The article recently published titled “A Smack in the Face” is one of a series of STEPS Stories, which means it was written by and refers to someone else, not to me personally. Anyone is welcome to submit their own STEPS Story as a way to share their experiences and add value to the lives of others. The process to submit personal stories can be found on the LifeImprovementSteps.com home page.