“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things.” - Booker T. Washington
Our lives are a large collection of single days one right after the other. The sun rises, the sun sets, and it rises again. And in the end, the lives we chose to live will be determined by how we choose to spend each day.
Unfortunately, for most of my life, I embraced little intentionality in my days. I survived each new day, but made little effort to make the most of it. Instead, they simply just came and went… and many were wasted.
But over the past few years, my views have changed. I have begun to view each day as an important gift. I have sought to embrace each one individually and discover the potential that it holds. After all, some may get more days than others, but each of us have been given this one. And we ought to be making the most of it.
Here are 10 simple steps I have personally found helpful to make the most of every day:
1. Rise early. It was this article about becoming an early riser that motivated me to make this significant change in my sleeping habits. And I’ve never looked back. Early mornings are quiet, peaceful, productive, energizing… and my favorite part of the day.
2. Eat right. The food we put into our bodies becomes the fuel on which it runs. We are wise to make sure it is the right kind of fuel at every meal. Just be sure to include some protein in your breakfast, your mind will be sharper and clearer because of it.
3. Exercise. According to recent studies, people who exercise regularly report to be happier, calmer, and better equipped to handle whatever the day decides to throw at them. Interestingly enough, the study seemed to indicate these benefits were experienced on a day-to-day basis, which means you can begin to experience them today by choosing to exercise just 20 minutes.
4. Accomplish one big task. We all have projects, work, and requirements for our time – things that we need to accomplish. Likely, your to-do list is longer than you can accomplish in one day. But to make the most of this day, choose one big thing on your list and do it first. If you finish, move on to the next.
5. Do one thing that you love. Apart from the day-to-day requirements of living life, you have dreams, goals, and hopes. You have hobbies that you love and activities that breathe life into who you are. Embrace these life-giving opportunities. And do one thing every day that you love.
6. Rest effectively. Rest is as essential to our bodies as food and water and air. Our bodies need to be refreshed on a daily basis and a weekly basis. Don’t neglect to schedule rest. And don’t feel guilty about it when you do.
7. Be present with others. Put away distractions. Engage in conversation. Ask questions. Give time for answers. And look people in the eye when you do. Their eyes reveal far more than their words.
8. Give to someone else. Your fullest joy in life will not be found living it selfishly for yourself. Rather, the periods of greatest joy and fulfillment are found in the moments and motivations when we are choosing to give to others. Invest your life in someone else everyday. Mentor a child. Help a co-worker. Fund a local charity. Or just make that phone call to a friend who needs to hear from you.
9 Nurture your soul. Our lives are more than flesh and blood. They are also mind and heart and soul. Find time each day to feed your soul by embracing gratitude, laughter, hope, and faith.
10. Reset. Tomorrow is another day with great potential and opportunity. You’ll want to begin it with a clear slate and a fresh start. Take 10 minutes each evening to clear the clutter and refresh your home for the next day. Tomorrow’s self will thank you for it.
Today is among the greatest gifts we have ever been given. Let’s use it wisely and refuse to waste a single one.