Do you find yourself waking up feeling like today is just going to be a repeat of yesterday? Or maybe the second the alarm clock goes off you wish the day was already over.
I have wasted way too many years of my life being that person. But the reality is your life is happening here and now amidst the mundane. When you truly wake up and make an intentional effort to make the day count, you start to feel like you are fully alive and present in the moment. And you begin to realize that by making every single day count, you are putting yourself that much closer to achieving your goals.
If you’re ready to stop pressing snooze on your life experience, dive into this article to learn some tips to help you make today one for the memory books.
Why you should focus on today
It’s easy to think that today is just another day. And then spend your free time thinking about your weekend or all the tomorrows that are full of way more fun plans than today.
Trust me, I get it. I’m human and there are days when I tell myself to just get through the day.
But the research indicates that if we can become more present and mindful of the present moment, we will be better able to cope with any stressors that do come our way and we will experience greater levels of positivity.
And a study from 2017 found that being present in the moment is an evidence-based way to boost your psychological health.
I don’t know about you, but I sure could use all the help I can get when it comes to being better at dealing with stress and improving my mental health. And science makes a pretty strong case that I ought to be focusing on the present and make today count.
What happens when you always think about tomorrow
When you are constantly focusing on what tomorrow holds and living in a state of distraction, you really do lose your ability to enjoy today.
Not convinced? Well, let’s look at what the science says then.
A study from 2016 found that individuals who were more mindful and present were able to better regulate their mood than individuals who did not embrace mindfulness.
So if you’re in a funk in life, the solution might be starting to become present in the here and now.
5 ways to make today count
Now we know that all those cheesy signs in your mom’s living room that say, “Make today the best day ever!” aren’t totally full of crap. So let’s dive into how you can actually make today the best day ever.
1. Spend time with the people you love
One of the best ways to make today feel more worthwhile is to prioritize spending time with the people in your life who mean the most to you.
It is so darn easy to fill up your day with meaningless activities that leave you feeling drained and exhausted. But when was the last time you spent quality time with your spouse or best friend and found yourself saying afterward, “Wow - what a waste of time”?
I hope the answer is never. And if it’s not, you’ll have to read a separate article to figure out what’s going on there.
Every time I have a date night planned with my husband or I grab a coffee with a close friend, I feel like it brightens my day and helps me enjoy the moment.
2. Choose your attitude
I used to be a bratty teenager who hated when my mom would tell me I needed to change my attitude. My gut reaction was always to say something along the lines of, “Don’t tell me what to do!”.
But here is one of my millions of formal apologies to my mother because once again, she was right.
If you want to make today count, the best advice I can offer is to change your attitude.
Everything that happens to you today can be happening for you or happening to you. If you actively embrace an attitude that life is happening for you, then no matter what comes your way today you can experience joy and make the best of it.
This also ties in with our advice on how to not live life as a victim!
3. Take the next step towards your goal
Sometimes the reason we dread the day ahead is we’re not taking steps towards our goals.
There was a period in my life a few years back when I thought that setting and working towards goals was overrated. And when I look back on this period of my life, this is a time when I struggled to get out of bed in the morning and just trudged my way through each day.
Whether or not you like goals, the truth is that goals help give you a sense of purpose. And when you have purpose and feel like you are contributing to developing yourself or helping others, you are inclined to want to make the most of every day.
This doesn’t mean you have to take a massive step towards your goal. Some days my steps towards my goals look as simple as bringing coffee from home instead of picking it up on the way to work because I want to save money to help pay off my student loans.
4. Give back
I can’t be more positive about this one tip. If you’re going to ignore all the other tips, that's fine, but please don’t ignore this one.
Giving back in just about any way is an incredible way to not only make today count but also to totally shift your mood and outlook on life.
Whenever I get in a funk, I try to make it a point to sign up to go volunteer at my local food bank that Saturday. It never fails that after I leave there, I feel a sense of renewed hope and gratitude.
And if ultimately we all want to leave the world a better place, then I can’t think of a better way to make today count than giving back in whatever way you can.
5. Have something you look forward to each day
This one is particularly helpful for me when it comes to those times when I feel like I am in a slump with work.
Having something simple to look forward to each day helps me to remember that even weekdays are meaningful and that all the fun doesn’t have to be bottled up for the weekend.
Here are some examples of things or activities I will plan to make sure I have a little something to look forward to:
- Choosing a type of exercise I enjoy to do that day.
- Planning to take my dog to the park.
- Baking cookies in the evening.
- Having a specific movie picked out to watch that evening.
- Setting up a time to catch up with a friend in person or one the phone.
- Trying out a new evening class involving a fun hobby.
- Going for a short hike and spending time in the sun.
My list might sound lame or boring to you. And that’s why you have to create your own list.
But make it a priority to have some little nugget of joy that you can look forward to each day of the week.
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You don’t have to keep pressing the snooze button when it comes to living your life. You can make today count by implementing a few of the tips mentioned in this article. And when you make today count, you might find that you start to look forward to your alarm clock going off each morning.
What do you think? Do you find it hard to make every day count? Do you have a favorite tip that you would like to share with others? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!