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HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED: Take It One Day at a Time

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

–MATTHEW 6:34

Life is truly a gift for when you woke up this morning, many people around the world did not make it to see this day. If you’re alive today, you still have a purpose and a high calling on your life. Mother Theresa, a Catholic nun and missionary, once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Let us begin to live today. “Let’s make each day a masterpiece” as John Wooden, an American basketball player and coach, once said. Each new day is like a blank canvas. Use what you have to create something magnificent.

With each new day, we get a chance to start over – to paint an amazing life with bright and colorful brush strokes. Think about it for a moment. Let it sink in. I need you to fully understand what each new day brings.

It brings an opportunity for you to start all over again. I don’t know what happened to you yesterday, and I don’t know what will happen to you tomorrow, but I know one thing for sure – You are alive TODAY.

Today is a gift to be opened as each hour unfolds. We do not know what to expect, but that’s the beauty of it all. Some people don’t like surprises. They shun away from them, but let’s welcome the day with open hands and an open heart. Expect good things to happen to you today.

Surrender the Past

Sometimes, we can’t “begin to live” because we struggle with regrets from the past. Regrets can be very debilitating. To regret, as defined in the dictionary, is to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.

In life, we have all kinds of regrets. We may regret not finishing school, or accepting a job position. We may regret loving someone who broke our hearts. We may regret befriending someone who betrayed us.

We may also regret saying or doing things we shouldn’t have said or done. We tend to constantly think about what we did and the consequences of our negative actions. This consumes precious time and energy which could be used to forge new courses in our lives!

Regret is like looking at life through dirty glasses, and everything you see is tainted with anger, shame, and guilt, which are very paralyzing emotions. With anger, we tend to get out of control; shame causes us to feel unworthy; and, guilt feels like a heavy burden.

If only we could go back to the past, and change a few things, right? No.

Unfortunately, time does not move backwards. As of this writing, I never heard of a time machine that could take us back to that moment where we could make different decisions or choices.

Don’t let your past hold your present and future hostage. Deal with your hurts, forgive yourself (and others), and move on. It’s easier said than done, but bigger, brighter, and beautiful things await us.

Alternatively, we can dwell on the good things of our past, i.e. “I remember when I had this or that. I remember when I was making tons of money. I remember when I was single. I remember when I was in a relationship with so-and-so. I remember when I was living in a nice apartment. I remember….”

Although those memories of the past are great and create a sense of euphoria when we recall them, they no longer exist in the now. They no longer serve a purpose. They are only alive and real in our minds and in the pictures we took of those moments, but we cannot return to them. I am not saying to push those good memories aside and totally forget about them, but to constantly dwell on them and expect your present and future to be similar to the good things you experienced in your past will only cause you to live a disillusioned life. When an opportunity comes your way, you may not be able to recognize or accept it because you’re stuck living the “good ole memories.” What you experienced in one job, you may not experience in a new job. What you went through in your last relationship, you may not experience in your present relationship.

“Few of us ever live in the present,” Louis L’amour, an American author, once said. “We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” You can’t live in the past, and you can’t live in the future. You can only live in the present. All we have is the “now.”
Don’t Rush Into the Future, Live In the Present

In addition, try not to rush into the future. Anticipation is always sweeter than reality! We tend to have very high expectations for our future that we forget to enjoy what we have now.

For instance, some people are impatient when it comes to marriage. They don’t enjoy the season of singleness where they can spend their free time to work on themselves and build their character. If they are not in a relationship, they feel unworthy, or think something is wrong with them. They fail to realize that a relationship, or anything else in this world, can never make anyone whole.

Some are anxious about their wedding day that they fantasize about the cake, the groomsmen, the bridesmaid, the wedding dress, and everything else in between. The only problem is that their wife-to-be or husband-to-be is nowhere in sight! Because of their impatience, they may end up marrying the first person who comes along their way and shows any interest in them.

Because of their impatience, they will neglect the red flags in the person’s character. Despite the warnings of friends and families, they still go ahead and marry the person, later regretting their choice of partner. Others force themselves into a relationship that shouldn’t have been entered into in the first place!

Some individuals want to fulfill their dreams and goals by tomorrow morning. That’s just not feasible. Some of our desires are worthy to be pursued, but it takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. It may take weeks, months, or even years for your dreams or goals to manifest. Be patient.

Some individuals may say, “If there was a ‘forward’ button on life, we would be much happier.” The truth is we need to live out today’s hours. Character is strengthened in times of adversity. Life is a process, and it only comes one day at a time. The good or bad, and the mountain or valleys of life will come and go at their own pace. Yes, you can speed up the process by learning from your mistakes and trying not to repeat them, but every good and worthy thing in life takes time.

I’ll paint an illustration by asking one question: Would you like to eat a microwave dinner or a home-cooked meal? It really depends on you. It also depends on how hungry you are, how much time you have, and how patient you are.

If you ever tried those microwave dinners in the frozen section of the supermarket, you know they are never filling. It usually takes two or three boxes to satiate your hunger. Sometimes, they leave an aftertaste.

In addition, there are full of preservatives. Sometimes, the vegetables don’t taste like real vegetables, and the meat doesn’t look like real meat. In fact, the actual meals don’t look anything like the meals pictured on the box. If you eat microwave dinners every night of the week, your health may be adversely affected.

I like to cook, and I try to provide nutritious and delicious meals for my family. I take my time to dice the onions, slice the green or red peppers, marinate the meat with fresh seasoning, steam the vegetables, etc. I measure the right amount of water to cook the rice for “perfect fluffiness.” I pay close attention to how long the meat or fish stays on the stove so that it won’t be overcooked or undercooked.

Now, if you compare these two modes of meal preparation, which one would you prefer? Would you eat a microwave dinner that took two minutes to heat up or a home-cooked meal that simmered on the stove top for 2 hours? Some people will choose the latter.

Are you willing to wait and prepare for your future, or are you willing to cut corners? As I have said, everything worth building takes time. When you rush things, you are bound to miss something very important.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” It’s true – all things become beautiful as time goes along. “It is my feeling that time ripens all things; with time all things are revealed,” said Francois Rabelais, a French author. Time allows us to make informed decisions about every aspect of our life, including our future spouse, jobs, etc.

Today, let’s focus on what needs to get done, and let’s stop worrying about the past or the future. There’s so much we can do in the next 24 hours. Let’s take life one day at a time. Tomorrow will worry about itself!

Cindy Similien-Johnson
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Cindy Similien-Johnson

Cindy Similien-Johnson isthe founder of CSJ Media Publishing and author of the bestselling e-cookbook series and popular cooking classes, "Cook Like A Haitian."
Cindy Similien-Johnson
Follow Cindy

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August 21, 2016

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Cindy Similien-Johnson

Cindy Similien-Johnson Cindy Similien-Johnson is the founder of CSJ Media Publishing and author of the bestselling e-cookbook series and popular cooking classes, "Cook Like A Haitian."


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