For the last pandemic year, I found myself saying the phrase, “one day at a time,” in response to anyone who was struggling. It’s a mindset that has helped me through some of my darkest days and often became one-second-at-a-time to survive. I consider it a deliberate, doable action plan that pulls you into the present moment where you can be successful in small increments and feel good about that along the way.
When COVID-19 left life so uncertain, taking things day-by-day was a reasonable way to live. As with other challenges in life, each day brings its own unknowns and is also an opportunity to move closer, even if by millimeters, to our goals.
This mantra reminded me of a book I read a while back where the main character had many crippling addictions that drove him to the brink of suicide and insanity. He was on the verge of losing everything, including his life. Worse, he was in complete denial that his habits were actual addictions, even though he admitted he couldn’t last one moment without thinking about them. In the story, when a recovering addict explained that he had been sober for thirteen years, the main character was astonished. He couldn’t imagine abstaining from his addictions for even one day, let alone over a decade. The recovering addict said it was easy. He never committed to a life of sobriety; he only committed to being sober for ONE DAY. One day became the next day, and the day after, until every day for thirteen years, he was still sober.
That was powerful, and it resonated with me. After all, all we have is one day: today. The past is gone, and the future isn’t here yet, so living in TODAY makes total sense.
The trick is to take this concept and translate it into action. We all know how hard it is to meet a long-term goal. Losing the extra weight and keeping it off…for good. Exercising until we are fit enough to run that marathon. The dream we’re chasing is one we want so desperately, but it always seems to be one foot out of reach.
I happen to be a person who is motivated by long-term goals. I want my experience to be so challenging that when I’m finally rewarded, there is no doubt that I earned it. Yet even for someone like me, traveling down long and difficult roads gets exhausting. Sometimes you want to get out of your car and hop into a spaceship that transports you to your destination instantaneously.
Like any worthwhile goal, book-writing is a time-consuming and strenuous process. I struggle with it daily amid the pandemic and new life as a mom. But with this mantra in my back pocket, I do a little something every day, no matter how small, to get there. And when I look back, I’ll know exactly how I managed to write a seemingly impossible book, as you will with your goal.
No matter how long the road, how difficult the journey, never give up on your dreams. YOU CAN DO IT.
One day at a time.