Measure Your Day

It’s a new month. It’s the start of a new week. It’s time to evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and what you need to do bridge that gap. It’s time to plan for the month, the week, and the day ahead. It is time to make every day count.

Each day that we are given is a day to build on all the previous days and each one of those days lays a foundation for our future. Therefore, it is important that you invest your time doing something, no matter how small, to move you closer to reaching your goal. What’s that you say? Yesterday was awful. You couldn’t find time to do anything to support your goal? You are stuck in a job that doesn’t align with your long-term goal.  Are you filled with “I can’t…,”  “I didn’t…,” and “I wish…” statements that are holding you back and focused on your lack of success?

If you look back and all you see is failure and you feel like you will never get to where you want to be; it is time to change your thinking about those situations!

Every day provides an opportunity for you, even the days that didn’t go so well for you.  You have to be willing to find that opening, rather than focus on all the other thousands of moments that don’t match your plan. All it takes is one action each day to keep moving forward. You have to decide what that action is today and then do it. Maybe that action is looking at what didn’t work so well yesterday and correcting how you will respond today. Maybe it is looking for something new that supports your long-term goal, even if it means taking a risk. And maybe it is as simple as accepting that you are where you need to be today because this is the point from which God wants you to grow. Maybe you aren’t stuck; you just aren’t seeing the potential in where you are in your life today.

It’s the season for basketball and hockey playoffs. I have watched these players rise to the challenge after a night of demoralizing loss. They have a choice—throw in the towel and book their flights home or come out ready to win. They have to believe that they can rise above their setback and believe that today they can be more productive. Some teams will of course end up packing their bags as another team moves forward toward the shiny trophy. For those who leave unsatisfied there is no question that they will look at what didn’t work and make a correction—build on their ‘failure’ to improve in the next game or the next series. Even the winners are looking at what didn’t work so that they can improve their odds in the next game. They never stop trying to be better. They never stop working their plan, even if it is to watch tapes or talk to someone about their performance.

Are you looking at your ‘failures’ and ‘mistakes’ as a way to improve? Are you capitalizing on what doesn’t work so you can find what does?

If you are going to focus on what has yet to happen for you or what you did wrong or how difficult your journey forward is, you will never reach your goal. I can almost promise you that. However, if you are going to look at the missed opportunities or mistakes in the previous days, I suggest you do it with an eye to make some course corrections. Do not focus on what didn’t work but focus on how to improve today. Although there may be some things beyond your power to change right now, you have the power to make where you are work for you. Ask yourself what you can do in the midst of your circumstances to build a bridge, plank by plank, in your plan. Don’t waste another minute measuring your failures. Measure your day by what you have done right and what you will do right in the moments ahead. Measure your day by what God is doing in your life and find joy in knowing that you can learn and grow and keep moving forward. It will change everything you do to simply measure your day well.

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?” Job 6:11

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Blind Spots

I am convinced that there is something wrong with the thermostat in my apartment. I have programmed it to warm up the apartment just before I get out of bed so that I’m not stepping into the freezing cold. It, however, seems to think it is much warmer than it actually feels—at least in my bedroom. So most mornings I get up and manually turn it up a couple of degrees to take the chill out of the air. Then I realize it is too late to warm up my bedroom because I’m already up and out of my comfy covers. I keep repeating this behavior, thinking this is the morning it won’t be so cold. Ha!

Blind spots. Those things we don’t see or aren’t willing to acknowledge about ourselves. My thermostat is reading the air near it. The living room area is much warmer than our bedrooms and so it doesn’t think it needs to do anything. Our bedrooms are its blind spots. I have a blind spot in setting the thermostat to match when I wake up. After several cold mornings I need to make an adjustment if I don’t want to get up in a cold room. And I STILL haven’t fixed it. Part of that might also be because I don’t want to accept that winter is coming and I hate the cold.

Life coach Georgia Shaffer says that we all have blind spots that impede our process forward. One of those areas in which we get stuck is not seeing the reality in our situation. In my example, the reality is nothing will change in my morning ritual unless I do something to change the environment and circumstances. We may be living out a fantasy in hopes that what we wish for will come true. It can be painful to look at our situations and realize that we are the problem. I have to accept that I don’t live in California and it is getting colder. In some cases, we may be stuck in a make-believe life because the alternative is unknown and scary.

Do you find yourself sitting in an office day after day and feeling that something just isn’t right with the business practices or the people you work for? Do you tell yourself, “it will get better” or “I’m just imaging things” and go home feeling drained a little bit sick. Are you waiting for a promotion or raise that is never going to come? We tell ourselves a lot of things out of fear when really we should move on. Are you refusing to see the reality of whatever situation is not benefiting you at work when it is time to find something new? Are you missing beneficial opportunities because you don’t know what to expect? Has someone told you this is as good as it gets and you are lucky to have this job?

Are you in a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect you or treat you well? Are you hanging on because most of the time it is ok and ignoring the other not so great times? Are you thinking that the longer you stay the better it will get—that they will come around? Are you compromising who you are so you won’t be alone? Reality check. Most times the person we are in a relationship with is not going to change. If you have shared your point of view and it is ignored, the chances are it is not going to get better. Are you willing to commit to someone that steals your joy and who only makes you happy if you ignore all the other stuff? Are you conceding who you are so that they will love you? Your blind spot may leave you committed to something that compromises who you are and stops your personal growth.

There are many areas in which we have blind spots. I can’t seem to lose weight but maybe that is because I am sneaking in candy bars. I can’t pay off my bills because I cheat on my budget. I am not getting promoted because there is no opportunity or I am not putting enough effort into the job. I can’t find a job I like but I am not putting much effort into preparing myself for a career. I’m not growing spiritually but I’m also not making time to read my Bible or to pray or go to church.

I can’t…I don’t…I won’t…Those are killer words that might indicate you have a blind spot that is holding you back. Ask yourself what the truth is in your situation. Ask yourself if you want it to be better. Ask yourself if you are really ready to stop ignoring the things that are clear to others and make a change. Are you negotiating which truths you want to believe in to the point that you don’t know what you value or what truth means anymore?

You matter. You are valuable and worthy of success and good things in your life. You have the right to make decisions about your happiness, even if there may be some pain along the way. You have the right to reset your thermostat and greet the day with hope and promise. You have the right to set a new positive course for your life. Start by being honest and pulling back the curtain to let the light into your blind spot. Breathe in the truth and make the changes that align you with that truth.