As you celebrate the decades, the runway gets shorter. Yesterday folds into tomorrow, and that thing that you always said you wanted to experience, or that person you dreamed of becoming, may be evaporating. If you find yourself rehashing yesterday or endlessly goal-setting tomorrow, you may have forgotten to activate something essential to your personal and professional mid-life growth.
The most powerful success and self-leadership tool that you have at your disposal is free and accessible to all.
It is a mindset tweak that enables you to recalibrate and reset over and over again day after day.
What is it?
It is the “present” of the present moment, only possible in TODAY. Yep, your daily activation of the 24-hours you are currently living allows your intentions and commitments to intersect. “Today” is a marriage of untapped choices and the action steps you need to take to support and enable your goals.
Here are five ideas for taking back today to catalyze renewal, jump start decision-making, and effectively manage change.
Get on your own “Today List.”
You are the CEO of your life, and as such, you lead you! Get on your own list and lead from it as a daily today habit.Every morning ask yourself, “How will I own and use today?” Then detail three “Today-List” items that you can take action on now. At the end of each day, before you go to sleep, recap your action steps. Ask yourself, “How did I own and use today?” Keep a log of your accountability and focus on what you can do so that your commitments back your intentions.
Capture daily wins.
It is easy to end your workday stressed about what you did not yet accomplish or in overthink about what may not have gone as planned. Circumvent this by reframing your workday from a different vantage point of what went right. Documenting your accomplishments will validate your professional growth and bring more joy into your job. Set up a dedicated journal or file to detail your daily highlights. As you end your workday, take a few minutes to review your successes. Even if you did not close the sale, get the client, or finish your pitch as planned, dig deeper to unearth what you did do that got you traction, perhaps even a new direction. Validate positive actions and small wins instead of seeking perfect pre-set results. Once a month, review your daily list of successes. This small success habit creates a ripple effect of awareness and bold choices.
Try something new, or create a hybrid of ideas, based not on the problems at hand but rather on the solutions you seek. How do you want to feel? What problem do you need to solve? Intersect your answer to those two questions and then inject a shot of serendipity into your next action steps. Incorporate a series of mini agendas to keep you forward thinking and today accomplishing. Include one mini agenda that supports the solutions you seek into every day and chart your growth beginning with that thought. As long as you stay in the choosing of solutions, you lead in the attainment of goals. Allow for the unexpected, curate what has not been explored, and ideate and innovate.
Unlike traditional set-in-stone goals, flex-goals flow with the day at hand, supporting the bigger picture of what you seek to achieve. Over time, goals and plans can become stale and may no longer align with or support you. You may make decisions on autopilot, watching the goal or dream you originally aspired to drop off a cliff of incompletion. In order to be accomplished, goals need to be re-evaluated frequently for meaning and alignment, set in shorter seasonal or quarterly time ranges, and like a muscle, they need to expand or contract with the business of the day at hand. If you permit yourself to pivot with flex-goals, you eliminate underachieving your dreams and instead refuel and refresh them.
Catch your thief:
Fear is a thief, and it can rob you of today.When you lead with fear, you compress and become smaller. Excuses get in the way. When you lead with possibility, fearing less so that you can do more, you expand outward. Since fears are fueled by negative chatter about tomorrow or leftover baggage from yesterday, it is only in today that you can lock down your thief and gain positive traction. Recognize red flag markers in your thought process. Where are you limiting yourself or holding yourself back? If you are feeling scared, stuck, or overwhelmed, schedule a fear meeting with yourself to create evidence. Take 30-minutes to hash through and write down all the possible scary outcomes you imagine. Say them out loud. Poke holes in them. Then toss your paper out. Rewrite a new list of all the positive possibilities that await your next choice, giving yourself an immediate “can-do” action step to take. Take that next step.
This article originally appeared in This is Brightly/ Career Craft.