I love this quote:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The frankness it takes to call your negative thinking, “your old nonsense,” makes me smile and thrills me—it’s so liberating!
I use this quote on a daily basis to put the day to bed and come to some peace about what happened—good and bad.
1) When the day is over so is your interaction with it. A brief inventory to inform future choices is helpful. Fretting about it or beating up on yourself is not.
2) You did the best you could—even if that wasn’t the best you’ve ever done. In hindsight, we could have ALWAYS done better. But you can’t be in the past and the present at the same time. Thanks, Ram Dass!
3) Honor the promise of tomorrow by not sabotaging it with today’s “mistakes.” You’ve got a clean slate to start with—no point in mucking it up with yesterday’s baggage.
While it may inspire us to read Emerson, how do we put these ideas into practice?
One way is through affirmations.
Not the kinds of affirmations you may be thinking and certainly not like the affirmations of Stuart Smalley.
Neuroscience has shown that our thoughts can rewire our brains.
Affirmations as spoken thoughts—positive sentences we repeat out loud—helps create our reality.
For some science rather than woo-woo, read more about the neuroscientific research here.
An easy-to-read, fascinating book about the plasticity of the brain is Norman Doidge’s book.
This article in Psychology Today explores whether or not affirmations work—apparently they do.
TODAYS ACTION: Create a personal affirmation to help you achieve the goals in Emerson’s quote.
BONUS ACTION: Inspire others in our community to create their own affirmations by sharing yours via Facebook.
One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.