To explain what making every day count means, it’s best to describe it. If you’ve ever had a deadline, you’ll be familiar with a scenario similar to this:
You have a paper due in a month. Well, a month is a long time, and the paper shouldn’t be that hard to write anyway because you know the subject really well. You’re sure you’ll have more than enough time to do a good job. A week passes, and you still haven’t started writing it. You’re not worried. You’ll make it – there’s still time. You keep procrastinating.
It’s the Saturday before the Monday when your paper is due. You panic. There’s no way you can make it! You try anyway and write a subpar paper, the bare minimum so you won’t fail the exam. The sad part is, you know you could have done a stellar job if only you had started in time.
Where did the time go? While you were putting off writing your paper, you lost your chance of doing a good job, and while you managed to complete it, it’s not work you’re proud of. If you look at this as an analogy for life, one thing is clear: if you’re putting off what you need to do, in the end, you’ll end up with regrets.
Why Is It Important To Focus On Making Every Day Count?
Making every day count is important because time is limited. And when something is limited, we must make an effort to make it count. If you only had a single piece of your favorite snack to eat just once in your life, would you eat it quickly and mindlessly, or would you savor it?
Life is unpredictable, and you never know what’s waiting for you around the corner. Wasted time is a great loss, so you must make time for what you want. Living a fulfilling life is how you use the limited time you have if you don’t want to end up with regrets.
When people reflect on their lives, these are the most common regrets they have:
1. Not spending enough time with their loved ones,
2. Not allowing themselves to follow their passion,
3. Not expressing their feelings,
4. Not taking risks,
5. Not letting themselves be happy.
No one regrets not working hard enough or not buying enough things. People regret the things that matter. Notice that people mostly regret the things they didn’t do.
Do you ever feel like time is passing you by – that the years are getting shorter and the days are slipping by? This is a sign that you’ve fallen into a routine. Your days are all the same, so they’re blurring into each other. You’re coasting instead of choosing your direction.
Being the best version of yourself and living the best version of your life requires doing things that matter. Making every day count means choosing to live life intentionally. When you’re where you want to be, with the people you love, doing things that make you happy, time won’t fly by so quickly.
The amount of time is the same, but the amount of things that happen during that time is very different. The more memories you create, the slower time will seem to pass. When you focus on making every day count, you give those days meaning.
How To Make Each Day Count
To make each day count, do something that matters to you on a daily basis.
People often prioritize the things they have to do over what’s important. This is hard to change because it’s not only a matter of choice. When you have to work a job that isn’t everything you dreamed about to support your family, it’s not that easy to get up and leave.
When you have responsibilities, it seems like it would be hard to think about having a sense of purpose.
But this isn’t true. Being responsible doesn’t mean sacrificing your needs and personal growth.
1. Live on purpose
Don’t let things just happen to you. In every area of your life where you can live purposefully, choose to do so. Make time for yourself and what you need.
Do things because you want to do them, not because they were thrust upon you or because someone expects you to do them. To make everyday count, you must establish boundaries and limit those activities that don’t make you as happy as possible wherever you can.
This includes things like not taking your work home. Even if you love your job, to be fulfilled, it shouldn’t be the only thing you focus on.
Another example is not spending time with people only out of a sense of obligation or going somewhere just because it’s expected of you.
2. Learn to say ‘no’
No one can only do what they love, but you can choose to spend your free time doing what you want instead of doing something out of a sense of obligation. This is how you balance your responsibilities and those things that bring you joy.
When someone wants you to do something, ask yourself if it’s something you truly want to do or something that’s good for you. This doesn’t mean that you should be selfish and uncaring, only that you shouldn’t go out of your way to please people if the act itself isn’t something you want or if it doesn’t contribute to your happiness in the long run.
3. Do what matters (to you)
Spending time doing what you love with people you love is essential to make you feel fulfilled. Of course, the details vary from person to person – what’s important to you doesn’t have to matter to anyone else, and things other people consider important might mean nothing to you.
Things that matter can mean getting out of your comfort zone, enjoying the little things, or a combination of the two. It’s up to you to figure out what it means to you. Set aside some time every day to do something that matters to you. This is what will make you feel fulfilled instead of feeling like you wasted your day.
Doing what matters might mean trying to learn something new every day or spending as much time as possible with a family member. It might mean accomplishing a big task or spending some time listening to your favorite playlist.
4. Surround yourself with people you love
Relationships are everything. People are what make us want to grow, change, and move. People who enrich your life are what matter. Don’t waste your time trying to get people to like you; instead, make space in your life for people who bring out the best in you. Those are the people who:
• support you,
• teach you,
• openly care for you,
• believe in you,
• stand by you,
• heal you,
• make you want to be a better version of yourself,
• validate you,
• give you energy and drive,
• inspire you,
• make you laugh,
• encourage you,
• let you be vulnerable,
• ground you,
• help you recharge,
• challenge you,
• let you vent,
• know you,
• are there for you,
• love you.
You should surround yourself with real friends – people who embody one or more of these qualities. Make an effort to connect with them and show them what they mean to you. Be present when you spend time with them. Ask them questions and listen to their answers.
Don’t lose touch with important people just because you forget to pick up your phone. Never keep a tally on who called last when it comes to those you truly care about and who care about you. Life gets in the way, so be the one to push through.
Days spent nurturing relationships by showing the people who love you that you appreciate them are days that count.
5. Be creative
Don’t skip this item if you think that you’re not a creative person. Creativity doesn’t only have one meaning. You don’t have to be artistic to be creative – just do something that expresses who you are. It’s a sure way of making every day count.
This isn’t an item to check off on a list just because it’s supposed to be done. Think back to when you made or did something that made you feel like yourself. You were probably creative in some way. What does it even mean to be creative unless you’re making a work of art or solving a problem?
It means going the extra mile when you do anything.
For example, cook a meal in a new way instead of how you’re used to doing it. Wear something you’re afraid to wear because it seems too much. Move your furniture around and decorate your space until you feel relaxed in your surroundings.
Any of these or something else you can think of will bring color and brightness into your life. You can be creative in your daily life in more ways than you think. How can you be creative if you think you’re not a naturally creative person?
• For a moment, stop thinking about being productive and think like a child.
• Enjoy the process instead of thinking about the outcome.
• Be curious and use your imagination to explore different solutions to something you’re working on.
• Don’t be afraid to fail, make a mess, or end up with something that you don’t like.
• Listen to your instincts instead of doing things a certain way just because that’s what you’ve done in the past.
• Let yourself be inspired by the world around you. If you see something you like and wish you could be or do, go for it.
6. Count your blessings
Acknowledge the good things in your life. Being thankful for what you have and who you are will make you look at life completely differently.
Accept the things you can’t change and trust that they have a purpose.
Gratitude makes your worldview more optimistic. By focusing on the good in your life, you stop thinking about the negative circumstances and negative emotions.
This kind of thinking releases you from bitterness and resentment. When you truly dedicate yourself to being thankful for what you have in your life, gratitude removes the burden of wondering why things can’t be different. It inspires you to actually work for what you want instead of expecting it to just happen.
7. Do something that helps you improve
Always challenge yourself to be better than yesterday. Focus on self-awareness, self-improvement, and self-care. This isn’t one of those things that are easier said than done because this can mean anything you want it to mean. Just do one thing that brings you closer to being the person you want to be.
Ways to improve yourself are different for everyone, but here are some suggestions.
• Practice self-care. Eat right. Enjoy some form of exercise. Get enough water. Get proper rest. Practice self-compassion. Nurture your spirituality. Do what helps you feel well.
• Work on your goals. Take small steps each day to achieve them. Wake up early and start your day productively. Have a plan. Create new habits. Complete your tasks.
• Learn something. Read an article. Start a book. Watch a tutorial. Take a class. Talk to a mentor.
• Self-expression. Try journaling. Talk to a friend. Talk to a therapist. Do art. Be honest.
• Manage stress. Have a laugh and make others laugh. Find the time to play and be silly. Meditate. Spend time with loved ones. Choose in-person interaction over social media.
• Challenge yourself. Do that thing you’ve been meaning to do but keep putting off. Do something you’re not doing because you’re afraid of being judged. Do something you’re scared of. Start saving for something you’ve always wanted. Do something in a different way than you’re used to.
8. Do something that helps someone else
Doing things that help others helps you remember that you’re not alone. When you lend someone a hand, you’re reminded that you’re a member of a family, of a community, of society, of humanity. You’re just like them, and they’re just like you.
Be unconditionally kind – always choose kindness and don’t expect anything in return. When you can’t do anything to make someone’s life easier, at least don’t make their life more difficult. Every time you make someone’s life just a little bit better, someone’s day a little bit brighter, you’re making every day count.
• be rude and mean,
• complicate things for someone,
• take out your frustrations on others,
• hold grudges,
• expect people to behave a certain way.
• pay someone an honest compliment,
• show compassion,
This will nurture an environment of kindness around you, attract kindness in return, and make those you helped want to pay it forward. This is one of the best ways to make your day count.
9. Grow through your pain
Sometimes the world can seem like a cold and cruel place. Bad things happen, and people show their dark sides. There’s corruption, injustice, and tragedy lurking around every corner. These are facts of life that are difficult to accept.
How to make every day count when nothing makes sense? How do you not only cope with personal tragedy and the fact that life is unfair but turn it into something that helps you grow?
Some people are strengthened by their belief systems, and that’s what helps them handle pain and injustice. Spirituality and belief that there’s something greater than us is often a source of comfort and acceptance. For others, trust in the universe or the belief that everything happens for a reason is a way to move forward.
Some people find it helpful to create something out of their feelings and celebrate the good. For example, the loss of a loved one can motivate you to join a support group, and by sharing your pain, you can inspire others to heal. Being angry about a social issue makes some people take steps toward fighting the source of injustice.
How you choose to handle the bad, the painful, and the maddening depends on your own values and worldview, but there are some ways to make negative emotions caused by external factors help you grow and change for the better. This is how making every day count is possible, even on the bad days:
• Experience your thoughts and feelings, and allow yourself to process them.
• Share your thoughts and feelings with others to help you understand them.
• Take things slowly. Focus on one day at a time.
• Learn from your reactions and look for what they tell you about yourself.
• Accept that you can’t control everything and that you’re only responsible for yourself. This can be difficult to achieve but is ultimately freeing.
10. Find beauty in the world
Look for joy in the little things. Find beauty everywhere around you and poetry in every moment. This enriches life immensely. It turns a drab and ordinary day into a colorful and magical experience. Some people have a romantic streak and do this naturally, but how do you do it if you’re not so sensitive?
Start with being present in the moment. Where are you now? Are you comfortable? Are you warm and cozy? Is your chair creaking? Does your wrist hurt from holding your phone for too long? Is there a nice smell coming from somewhere near you? Become aware of your senses to check in.
When you start noticing what you’re sensing and feeling, think about where you are and your place in your surroundings. Stop overthinking and notice the world around you. Open your window and look outside. A cool breeze caressing your cheek. The trees are green, and you can probably hear some birds. There’s noise coming from a block away, but it’s part of the symphony of the world around you.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
Making Every Moment Count
When you spend every day doing things that give your life more meaning, you become happier. The longer you do it, the more fulfilled you feel. By appreciating your time, you start to appreciate yourself and your life much more. When you realize how valuable every moment is, you place more value on yourself.
Living your life mindfully and intentionally, making an effort to place value on how you spend every moment, and looking for every chance to do something important to you is what making every day count is all about.