One day at a time

November 21th, 2011

Sometimes, the challenges of life can seem overwhelming, no matter how big or small our problems are, we can find ourselves truly swamped: by work, by worries, by responsibilities, etc.


The truth is, more often than not, the feeling of overwhelmingness comes directly from our head, we tend to think of our challenges as an enormous mountain that seems insurmountable, and we loose hope, we feel totally powerless and sometimes, we even give up.

If we looked at the short few steps ahead of us, instead of seeing the whole mountain, the challenge would look less intimidating and we would be more at peace and in control. And sure enough, one day, we would find ourselves on top of the mountain! The key is to focus on the present moment and do just what we can do now.

We can all develop the capacity to live one day at a time! or better even... one moment at a time!

By developing this skill, we can become more focused and calmer, therefore, much more effective in navigating/solving our challenges.

In my personal journey towards this goal, I feel I have come a long way from where I was a few years ago and although I still have work to do, there are a few tips that have helped me, and I wish to share them with you:

  • Prioritize: There are some things that are not as important as others, try to filter those out and start taking care of the most important tasks first, while you do so, forget about the rest, remember, the rest is NOT so important! When you do this, try to pick just a few tasks (2 or 3 max.)

  • Let go of Control: You won't and never will control everything around you, you can only control your actions, but not the outcome, so focus on the action you need to take, do it the best you can and forget about the outcome! It will be what it will be.

  • Do not project into the future: I am big on worrying about what may or may not happen. So this is a hard one for me, but it really helps NOT to imagine all the possible outcomes (often negative ones), because that brings only fear into our minds and hinders our ability to deal with the tasks at hand.

  • Be open to change: Unexpected change is sometimes scary, when it means that things are not going our way, and we fear that it will further affect us in a negative way. However, unexpected change can sometimes be a blessing, try to accept, adapt and trust, as much as you can.

  • Stop thinking and start acting: We often think so much about what we have to do or how we need to do it, that we end up wasting valuable time that could be used in actually DOING what we need to do, so focus more on actions and less on thinking.

  • Follow your intuition: "Intuition is what you know, before you think". This goes in line with the point above, in the sense that we all have an internal guidance system that can help us greatly, but if we think/rationalize too much we break it. If you wish to read more about intuition, I have another post on it that you may find interesting: Can We Awaken Our Intuition?.

  • Calm the chatter in your mind: If you find it impossible to stop thinking about all your problems or all the things you need to do, or all your fears, try to break the cycle by exercising or meditating, both these activities can help calm your busy mind.

  • And finally:
  • Don't be too hard on yourself: life is a learning process and we are never really done learning until we leave this earth, so respect yourself for trying, allow mistakes and forgive yourself for them, don't beat yourself up!

All these tips can be used for different kinds of challenges, whether you have too much work or whether you are dealing with a difficult personal situation, just try to see one day at a time, tackle the one task at hand and adapt to what the present moment is without blurring your vision with imaginary scenarios or endless to-do lists.

Remember, we can only live one day at a time! Make this day the best you can with what you have at hand.

Have a Wonderful Week!
and Happy Thanksgiving for all my US readers!


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