One Day at a Time - only as necessary
Sometimes living one day at a time seems to be the only way to do it when life hits you hard. Sometimes the day we're facing is all we can handle, and we just don't want to deal with anything else.
It's understandable, and sometimes it's necessary to take that posture, but it's not the best approach to being successful over the long haul.
The future is coming, so reasonable life planning means we'll have to consider more than just what's in front of us now, but also what might be in front of us tomorrow.
Our tomorrows include next week, next month and several years ahead. The future is always coming at us, and we need to be prepared if we are to have a bright one.
In addition, if we ever hope to "get ahead" in life, we absolutely must know what's ahead of us and how one might handle those things with some degree of success.
There are several things that need to be said about taking things one day at a time so we have this in perspective.
An Approach to Crisis Management
Taking things one day at a time strongly suggests crisis management to me. It's the idea that things in front of us are so overwhelming that we need to handle just the pressing matters, and deal with less urgent matters as they present themselves.
Some people call this "putting out fires." And, as we all know, with only one fire hose, when we're trying to extinguish one part of a fire, another part can fare up somewhere else.
If we're living each day like this, then something is wrong. We're either into something way over our heads, taking on way too much, seeking or creating our own crises, or viewing life as largely an unforeseen event.
In any case, we'll need to do something to reorient our lives and our thinking to look into the future simply because it's coming and we'll be better off if we're expecting it, and much better off if we're prepared.
A Fatalistic View
Some of us adopt the one day at a time attitude as part of our fatalistic view of life. Fatalists largely believe that what happens in life is going to happen, and they're just along for the ride - nothing they can do about it.
It's the idea that someone else has the plan, and they're just playing a part in some larger plan, whether the outcome of their role is good, bad or indifferent. It's their lot in life.
People like this don't thrive as much as they merely survive. Like a friend of mine once said, "Survive is something that deer do in the winter." Get the picture?
Perhaps it's time we take charge of our lives and create our own life instead of simply living in someone else's version of what our life should be. Let's all be thrivalists for a change.
Many of us are good at making up excuses, and few of us are good at finding true reasons for what we do. Quite often we simply justify our behavior.
In other words, we aren't deliberate about our life, at least not from the standpoint of figuring out what we want and how we might go about getting it.
The "one day at a time" approach to life can be seen as one of the great excuses in life:
I can't plan, and I'm not proactive, so I take it one day at a time.
We can all do better than that. We'll have to if we're going to be successful and live a life filled with peace, comfort and satisfaction.
A Way Out
If we're going to get out of the mindset of "one day at a time," then we need to do several things. I suggest the following actions in the order presented below:
- Identify what is causing us the adopt the "one day at a time" approach to life; the "fires" we're fighting, the urgent matters that we're immersed in, the self talk that causes us to think that we can only live one day at a time.
- Find a way to defuse, avoid, shake off or escape the urgent situations that are causing us to be constant "fire fighters." It may take a while, but it's necessary that we do this. We need a clean start with minimal distractions.
- Figure out what it is we want in life. That means knowing what's important to us. We shouldn't go anywhere until we know where we're headed. And if we don't know where we're headed, we most certainly won't go anywhere, so let's get focused on what it is we want.
- Understand that we're in it for the long haul. Anything worthwhile is worth working for and it all takes time to get there.
- Start associating with people who have a plan for their life - people who have goals and clear evidence of being achievement oriented. Learn from these smart and successful people.
- Create a plan that centers on what we want to achieve. Lay out the steps to realizing our desires. Make our plan reasonable and give ourselves some milestone goals that are achievable so we can provide ourselves with positive feedback on our way.
- Be willing to update our vision as we go. Nothing is set in concrete unless we want it to be. Change our plans as we go because external events can create the need for a change. So, let's be willing to do so. Make certain we can change or compromise, but don't capitulate. When we get used to it, that's just another form of capitulation.
- Understand the difference between urgency and importance. These are the main driving forces behind people living one day at a time. Learn to focus first on what is important and urgent.
- Ignore the distractions. There are plenty of them out there that would like to throw us off course and tell us how to live our life. We don't have to crawl into a hole to ignore the world of distractions - all it takes is focus and mental toughness to see us through.
- Work the plan until we're successful. If we aren't being successful, then that means we aren't working hard enough or smart enough.
- Learn as we go and modify our planned approach based on insights that we gain along the way.
Let's not allow our life to be a crisis everyday just because that's what we've become used to handling. Crisis management isn't the way to run our life. It's a way our life runs us.
We need to stop living one day at a time, and trade in the drama for results - results that are based on clear goals, a focus on achievement, a plan for success, a can do attitude, and mental toughness necessary to see us through.
If all of this life planning seems a bit too much to handle in one bite, then let's start out simple. How about we start out with a modest plan to simply get rid of the factors that cause us to live one day at a time. After that, we can work on some more ambitious goals.
Done with One Day at a Time, back to Mindset of Frugality