1)Don’t waste today by being obsessed about tomorrow
This is the easiest way to squander your day. It’s so tempting to look ahead so that we can prepare, anticipate, or dread whatever is coming next. It’s not that looking ahead is a bad thing, we should take time to survey what is coming up on our schedule. We do that, however, in order to come back to today and make use of the minutes in front of us to think, prepare, and act. Today's moments are the only ones we have access to. We can’t get back yesterday, and we can’t scratch ahead to tomorrow, so today is the only wise place to invest the majority of our time and attention. So, slow down and be right where you are. Be present to the moment you have in front of you right now, without looking back with regret or grasping ahead for what’s next. How many wonderful meals have you eaten but not noticed because your mind was 1000 miles away? How many times have your friends, spouse, or children had to repeat themselves because your thoughts were somewhere else? There is a world of enjoyment to be found in the here and now; the simplest meals, conversations, drives, and walks can be life-giving if we will only slow down enough to enjoy them.
2)Make eye contact.
Your day may seem like an endless list of tasks to accomplish, but those tasks are often attached to a person or group of people. Taking time to look at the people around us, helps us remember that we exist for relationship and not simply for task completion. A bit of relational connection may be just what you need in the midst of your hectic day, or it may be what someone else needs. Either way, making good eye contact with others is well worth the practice. (As an unapologetic introvert I can attest that it may indeed require a bit of practice…)
It’s amazing how much physical disciplines like making eye contact and smiling can affect how you experience your day. Smiling doesn’t mean that you are pretending that everything is ok. It’s more of a determination that you make to see whatever you encounter that day in a positive way. We typically do not have a great deal of control over the circumstances of our days, but we can control how we react to those circumstances. Remembering to smile not only helps you, but it creates a better environment around you. It seems silly to have to say it, but people really do enjoy being smiled at (even the ones who pretend they don’t!).
The way we start our day often determines how much we enjoy our day. So, take a few extra minutes during your mornings this week, and give yourself the opportunity to start well. You’ll be glad you did!
I took the photo underneath a Japanese Maple at the home where I grew up. Like all things my mother touched, it grew beautifully.