Late in a year, most of the resolutions we made with such determination have been broken. Some have been kept. New habits are hard to form. In fact research indicates that it takes more than 21 days for a new effort to become a habit. That means 21 reminders that what I’ve chosen as a goal are worth the effort.
The good news is: you can change your life – one day at a time. Unfortunately, you can only change it one day at a time.
Let’s begin with today. This day is your opportunity for a masterpiece! That doesn’t require a perfect day with no mistakes or errors. I once visited a well-known artist at work on a magnificent painting. It took shape each day as she worked on it, but after several days she cleaned the oil off a certain section and began again. “It just wasn’t right,” she said.
That resembles a lot of days in my life, starting off with great intentions and plans and then running up against a barrier or an obstinate problem. One option would be to quit – just to give up and wait for another day to try again. But like the artist I can choose another alternative, I can change the “colors” of my day by taking control of the problem and making a fresh start. Here are some hints to do this:
1. The masterpiece day is made of many minutes.
A few may be wasted; some can be squandered, but how I use the majority of them may determine the evaluation of the entire day. Try not to judge yourself too early in the day. Look for some ways to turn things around. It may require an apology to change an ailing relationship. Perhaps the plans will have to be revised for a project going astray. But you have that opportunity. Change the next minutes and build toward a masterpiece day.
2. A masterpiece day can be redeemed by a new discovery.
A wise man wrote, “Discovery is seeing what other people see and finding a new way to describe it.” In therapy changes occur when a person can find a new frame of reference. The limits of the old view can be challenged because there are new possible parameters for the problem. Discovering a new view allows new opportunities for examining and changing the approach. Today may be one of those days when you have to step back and take a fresh look to gain that new perspective.
That truth – today is the first day of the rest of your life – waits to be fulfilled. Perhaps it can begin by trying the advice my mother’s placemat brought me. Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece.