Many of us spend so much time worried or excited about the future and stuck in the past, that the present moment passes us by.
The problem with this is that the present moment and our daily life is the only time we have to change what we do.
Here’s a guide to self-empowerment by living one day at a time.
15 reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time
1) Living in the present makes sense
There’s no need to get deeply philosophical. When it comes to living your life, there is only one time when you have control.
Five minutes ago, and ten minutes from now are not things you can directly determine.
That said, the future is something you can help shape.
But the point is you can help shape and mold your future by what you do right now.
One of the biggest reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is simply that it makes sense.
Yesterday is what you had.
Today is what you have.
The future is what you might have.
Why not focus on the one thing you can control?
“Essentially, the only thing you have any influence over is today, so, logically, the present is the only thing you have and can control.
“Dwelling on yesterday’s mistakes or tomorrow’s uncertain decisions means missing out on today.”
2) Leave the if / then world behind
Far too many of us, myself included, have spent years in a life of “if, then” and “when, then.”
This means that if something were different we would be different, and when something is different, then we will try again.
Let me tell you, this philosophy will have you still waiting on your deathbed.
Because waiting on the world to change is a losing proposition.
Many realize it too late, but the only power you have is inside you.
The outside world is not going to hand you anything on a silver platter or fill that hole you feel inside.
No amount of chasing love, sex, drugs, work, therapy or gurus is going to do that for you.
Instead, it’s vital to take it one day at a time in order to maximize your control and personal power.
You can’t wait for some day to be happy because let me tell you, someday might never come!
Furthermore, many of those experiences and achievements you crave often turn out to be very underwhelming once you get them.
Instead, focus on what you can do today to experience life.
“We believe that happiness is an “if-then” or “when-then” proposition: If I find love, I’ll be happy. If I get that job offer, I’ll be happy.
“When I publish my book, I’ll be happy. When I move into my new apartment, I’ll be happy.
“So we end up living our lives in a future state of mind that is completely detached from the present.”
3) Living one day at a time helps you find your purpose
Living one day at a time allows you to truly experience your life and find what you’re good at.
It allows you to find your purpose instead of having someone else tell you what it is.
The thing about purpose is that it comes first, because without a purpose your passing emotions, thoughts and experiences.
Finding your purpose is crucial in life.
What would you say if I asked you what your purpose is?
It’s a hard question!
And there are far too many people trying to tell you it will just “come to you” and to focus on “raising your vibrations” or finding some vague kind of inner peace.
Self-help gurus are out there preying on people’s insecurities to make money and selling them on techniques which really don’t work for achieving your dreams.
Sage burning ceremonies with some vaguely indigenous chanting music in the background.
The truth is that visualization and positive vibes won’t bring you closer to your dreams, and they can actually drag you backwards into wasting your life on a fantasy.
But it’s hard to truly live in the present when you’re being hit with so many different claims.
You can end up trying so hard and not finding the answers you need that your life and dreams begin to feel hopeless.
You want solutions, but all you’re being told is to create a perfect utopia inside your own mind. It doesn’t work.
So let’s go back to basics:
Before you can experience a real change, you need to really know your purpose.
I learned about the power of finding your purpose from watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself.
Justin used to be addicted to the self-help industry and New Age gurus just like me. They sold him on ineffective visualization and positive thinking techniques.
Four years ago, he traveled to Brazil to meet the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, for a different perspective.
Rudá taught him a life-changing new way to find your purpose and use it to transform your life.
After watching the video, I also discovered and understood my purpose in life and it’s no exaggeration to say it was a turning point in my life.
I can honestly say that this new way of finding success by finding your purpose actually helped me to appreciate each day instead of being stuck in the past or daydreaming about the future.
4) You can still be excited about the future but live in the present
Living in the present doesn’t mean that you are now just in a pure state of bliss or “ultra-flow” activation.
You will still think of the past and future: we all do!
But you won’t dwell on it as much, if you reframe your priorities.
You can still be excited about your wedding that’s coming up, or your goal of getting super fit by next summer. That’s great!
But each day you get up, you’re focused on the day ahead and what you can do in that 12-hour span.
You know there will be many more 12-hour spans ahead, hopefully, but you’re not centered on that.
You’re centered on the power of now, as spiritual author Eckhart Tolle put it.
Your longer-term goal is there in the back of your head, but your priority is the day in front of you, not a year from now.
One of the top reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is that it empowers you on a daily basis.
You can still have future goals, but this will help ensure they don’t just remain as daydreams.
What are your values in life?
When you know your values, you are in a better position to develop meaningful goals and move forward in life.
Download the free values checklist by the highly acclaimed career coach Jeanette Brown to instantly learn what your values really are.
5) Living one day at a time teaches you humility
Another one of the top reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is that it teaches you humility.
Many of us try to obsess over the past or what might happen because it gives us the illusion of controlling things out of our control.
For example you might think:
Well, if I meet a girlfriend I really love I’ll stay in that place, if not I’ll leave! Simple!
Then you move somewhere new only filtering it through this lens and miss out on many friendships, career connections and other opportunities because you were only hinging your move on romantic outcomes.
You then leave this place, ironically missing out on an ideal girlfriend you would have met if you hadn’t been only judging the new place on finding a partner.
And so it goes.
This is the problem with living in the future, it makes you feel more in control than you are.
It gives you the illusion of control without any of the reality.
Your real control is what you do today. Worry about next year when it comes. For today, live the best day you can.
6) Look after yourself every day
Living one day at a time isn’t the same thing as being reckless.
Within the present moment, you can be a very conscientious and detail-oriented person.
In fact, it’s crucial that you do.
You must pay attention to your health and wellbeing, in order to ensure you have the mental and physical tools to bring your full energy to each day.
“You can’t expect to thrive if you’re not giving yourself the necessary fuel and care day in, day out.”
This means eating, sleeping and exercising.
It means caring for your hygiene, your energy level, dealing with any health concerns and caring about the environment you live in and how it affects you.
7) Living one day at a time increases your confidence
Another one of the most important reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is that it increases your confidence.
It gets you into your body and out of your head.
Instead of being overshadowed by the past or drowned in anxiety or floating in hope about the future, you’re solidly rooted in the now.
Focus on each task you do and bring it care and attention.
This will help increase your competence and confidence.
As you see that you can do small things well, you will eventually build to larger tasks and goals day by day.
Many great achievements started with small, quotidian beginnings.
8) Living one day at a time makes you work harder
Living one day at a time actually increases your motivation.
Like I said, you can and should still have long-term goals.
The point is to drill down on your daily habits and tasks and get them done to the best of your ability.
By getting out of your “monkey mind” from time to time, you will be able to focus on the task at hand.
Your work ethic will improve, as will your focus.
Living one day at a time gives you specific parameters to work within.
Your schedule is day by day, and you do the best you can within that framework, come rain or shine.
9) Living one day at a time makes the bad times bearable
The truth is that many of us find it hard to live one day at a time because we’re dealing with situations in life, love or our job that make us feel like shit.
If you’re like me, the advice to live one day at a time might even sound naive.
But the truth is it can turn everything around if you can approach this the right way and balance long-term goals with your daily habits.
And it starts with getting out of the trap you feel you’re in…
So how can you overcome this feeling of being “stuck in a rut”?
Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.
I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.
You see, willpower only takes us so far…the key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.
And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.
Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there.
It all comes down to one thing:
Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.
Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having.
So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.
10) Living one day at a time helps you see the funny side
We’re living in a crazy and beautiful world, but the pressures and stresses of life can make us forget just how strange and hilarious life can be.
Living one day at a time is like lifting a small pressure off yourself.
You now have a second of mental and emotional space to look around and appreciate – and laugh – at some of what’s around you.
How odd this whole life thing is, in a way, don’t you think?
It’s all really quite mindblowing that we’re all here together sharing this human experience and struggling through our lives in different situations.
What an amazing, terrifying, hilarious and sometimes profound experience!
Soak it in.
One day at a time, like everyone else.
11) Living one day at a time reduces anxiety
That’s the thing about living one day at a time.
It takes a tiny bit of the pressure off, and relieves some of that difficult anxiety that many of us deal with at times.
One of the reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is that it helps you calm that anxious part of your physiology and mind which always wants to dwell on a future possibility or past event.
This habit draws us into anxious circles and can ultimately lead to really disturbing symptoms.
I suffered panic disorder for years after a particular crisis, but it didn’t end there.
For many years after I had debilitating anxiety, partly as a result of anticipating having a panic attack in public places.
These thoughts of what “might happen” then jolted me out of the present and I would then find myself shaking and collapsing while feeling I was dying in an ongoing cycle.
My fear of fear brought more fear.
Be careful of the trap of being overly worried about the future or what might happen, it can be a very time-consuming and exhausting path to go down.
12) Living one day at a time helps you avoid trying to be perfect
Another one of the great reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is that it helps you avoid the trap of trying to be perfect.
Of course you want to still perform at a high level and do your best.
But you don’t need to spend your time feeling like a failure because you didn’t get into law school or lost a job a few months ago.
Now you’re focused on what you can do today, even if it’s as simple as running further on your daily jog or eating a healthier meal tonight.
Starting small can have big results, as I said.
And living day to day gets you out of the mindset that everything needs to be perfect.
That’s a lot of pressure to live under.
Focus on today.
13) Living one day at a time is powerful
Another one of the key reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is that it empowers you.
So many things in our current culture are designed to sabotage your personal power.
One of the worst is the constant promotion of victim narratives.
Another is the fact that many of us feel lonely and alienated in a world of modern technology.
We’ve never been so connected and yet so disconnected at the same time.
So how can you overcome this insecurity that’s been nagging you?
The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.
You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.
He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.
Because true empowerment needs to come from within.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.
So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.
14) Living one day at a time makes you a better friend and partner
The truth is that one of the best reasons it’s vital to live one day at a time is for those close to you.
You become a much better romantic partner, friend, son or daughter and wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, when you start living in the present.
People feel more comfortable around you and absorb your chill atmosphere.
15) Living one day at a time boosts your self-awareness
Living one day at a time also helps you become much more aware of how your thoughts and actions combine.
You start to notice behavioral patterns and habits that are bad.
And behavioral patterns and habits that are helpful.
The key to this is focusing on small daily tasks which can eventually build up into much bigger projects.
“Try to focus on everything that you do, no matter how mundane. Attempt to concentrate on each moment as it presents itself to you.
“Be aware, checking frequently that your thoughts are not dwelling on the past or racing ahead to the future.”
Taking it one day at a time
The truth about taking it one day at a time is that it’s not easy.
But the more you do so, the more you will find that life is not only liveable, it’s enjoyable and worthwhile.
As entrepreneur Bob Parsons says:
“No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment.
“You can get through anything one day at a time.”