A mid-January morning in North Dakota is not for the faint-of-heart. My phone shows -21 degrees. When I first step outside, the air hurts my face. Breathing feels…different. Sometimes I wonder why we live in this land of extremes.
I love the vivid beauty these extremes offer when I allow myself to stop to appreciate it.
These days, when dawn brings clear skies, my morning commutes are graced with stunning sunrises. The sun’s ascension coincides perfectly with my schedule. Other times of the year, I often miss this brilliant show by Mother Nature. Either the sun is already higher in the sky or it’s still too low to do more than tinge the horizon with light.
Now is when the sun dogs sparkle, halos of bright light to the left and the right of the sun. I think of sun dogs as our “winter rainbows”, spots of light and sometimes brilliant color on starkly cold days.
Sunrises are a beautiful reminder that each new day is a chance for us to start again. By now, some of the excitement we felt as we faced the beginning of the new year, full of high expectations, may have waned a bit. I know it has for me. Planning for success before we start is fun. Once the real work begins, some days aren’t so fun. I already feel like I’m slipping in some of the areas I wanted to improve upon this year.
But here’s the thing, folks. To live our best lives, we have to live in the present. We have to make today the best day we can because we can’t change yesterday and we can’t know what tomorrow will bring. Every sunrise can serve as a reminder to start anew. We can decide to start today with a clean slate and take some of those small steps we know we need to take to move in the direction we know we want to go.
If you’re a goal setter, be stubborn and tenacious about doing something every day to move in the right direction, but be flexible on exactly what that looks like. Sometimes life redirects us in unexpected ways, but that doesn’t mean we should ever give up on our goals. It may just mean the path to get there suddenly looks a little different.
My challenge to you, and to myself, is to start each day with determination. Start with a plan for the steps you'll take today. Arrange your day so you can accomplish as many of those steps as you desire. If you want to relax today, plan to do so. Stay conscious as to how you're spending your time. Aim for feeling satisfied at the end of your day. Make a little progress and let go of the idea of perfection.
Mother Nature shows us how a stormy day will eventually lead to a beautiful sunrise. Let go of all the disappointing yesterdays and enjoy today. It is a gift.
Cheering you on, Kim
I admit it. I’m guilty of it. I suspect most of you are guilty of it as well. I waste time. I’m not referring to an evening on the couch, watching my favorite shows. We all need a little downtime. I’m talking about getting stuck and coasting along for days, weeks or even months in the daily routine that becomes “life” vs. doing all of those things we keep putting off for “someday”.
As an accountant by trade, I help others figure out how to improve on their profitability. Together we look for ways to grow revenue and save on expenses in order to increase the bottom line. What I find fascinating, and have only come to appreciate over the past decade, is how careful and protective people are with their money ... but not their time. What a shame. I would argue time is a much more valuable resource than money yet we are all guilty of squandering it at times.
If you go to Pinterest and look up “time quotes”, endless examples pop up. We’ve heard many of them … numerous times … so many times we ignore them.
Time is a precious commodity. Each of us has limited time and, with a few exceptions, we have no idea how much time we have left. We can either chose to ignore this irrefutable fact, we can let it scare us, or we can use it to fuel our sense of urgency to focus on the things that are most important every day.
I’m going to try something. I want to start treating my time as I would money in a bank account, to think of it as having a “plus” and a “minus” column. We can’t measure time like we can money and know exactly how much we “have left”. Remember, that's what makes time so valuable - none of us can afford to waste it. But we can all make better choices with our time.
I have a question for you. When someone asks you how things are going, is your immediate response something like “Oh, I’m so busy!” Mine was until I realized what a boring, excuse-based answer that one little statement represented. It started to feel like what I was actually saying was “My days are filled with small, inconsequential things that I simple have to do, blah, blah, blah.” Now I try to avoid saying “I’m busy.”
We each chose how we spend every hour of our days. I know it can often feel like we don’t have a choice. Maybe we feel “stuck” in a job we don’t enjoy but we have to be there from eight to five, five days a week. Is it time to look for a new job?
Maybe we have kids involved in lots of activities and our days are consumed with running them around. Remember, the kids didn’t just magically get signed up for the activities. Either you personally signed them up or you allowed someone else to register them. Are all those activities valuable? Does your child even enjoy them?
If you don’t like doing the things that are consuming your hours, make different choices. Sometimes it will take conscious effort to implement changes but if it is important, do it.
We can chose to use more of our time to do things that might give us more hours on this earth like going for a walk to get some exercise or cooking a healthy meal vs. a fast-food drive-thru. This can help on the plus side, although there are no guarantees. We can say “no” to more things that consume our time but don’t fit in with our own priorities. I know this isn't easy but it isn't impossible.
What things do you do that, if you are being completely honest with yourself, feel like time-wasters? This will look different for everyone and I’m not here to pass judgement. What I would like to do is challenge you to think about how you are spending your days, and if you aren’t wild about how things look today, find ways to make some tweaks.
It’s like setting goals. Take a step back and figure out what you really want then figure out what you need to do to make it happen. If you want to spend more time with the people most important to you, plan that time. Free up some of your own time and schedule it with them. If you want to “find” another hour in the day to exercise or start writing that book, set your alarm clock an hour earlier (across the room so you can’t hit snooze) and actually get up when it goes off and go get started.
None of us would leave a wallet full of our hard-earned cash laying out where anyone could help themselves to it. Why do we do that with our time?
I can’t help but leave you with a quote by Harvey Mackay that sums this up for me:
Time is free, but it’s precious. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.
What have you been putting off because you feel you don’t have time for it? What are you going to do “someday”? Someday is never guaranteed so get started now. Live life without regrets.
Here’s to ditching the excuses and making the most of every day! Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!