Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes we start a day with the previous day still in mind. We think about the mistakes we made in the previous day, how things went wrong, and how we felt bad about it. No wonder it becomes difficult to focus on the current day. And since we cannot fully focus on the day, our performance may drop and things may once again go wrong. This pattern could repeat again and again, where the burden from the previous day is taken to the current day and make it bad, which will then be a burden for the following day. The chain may be hard to break and your overall performance may drop, not to mention the difficulty to have a peaceful mind.
So it’s important leave the past day behind. Always start your new day fresh, without thinking about yesterday. This way you will be able to fully concentrate, do your best, and improve your performance.
Here are some steps on how to do that:
1. Take time to evaluate your day
At the end of a day, take some time to think about it. You should do it at the same day and not wait until the next day. You should finish dealing with your day before the next morning comes.
The purpose of this thinking time is not to regret how bad your day was, how things went wrong, or how people treated you negatively. This won’t do you any good to improve your life. Instead, the purpose of this thinking time is to extract lessons which you can bring to the following day.
2. Ask the right questions to extract lessons
To extract the lessons, you should ask the right questions. There are basically two questions you should ask:
- What have you done well?
There should be some things you have done well. What are they and how did you do them? What can you do to make sure that you can continue doing them well or even better?
- What have you done wrong?
Usually there are also some things that do not go as expected. What are they and how could they happen? What can you do to improve yourself and avoid the same mistakes in the future?
3. Make a commitment to apply the lessons
After you extract the lessons, you should make a commitment to apply them. To do so, find some actionable things you can do to apply the lessons. Next, remind yourself to do them. You may write them down if you want to.
4. “Close” your day
After you have spent the time to think about the day and extract the lessons, make a decision to “close” the day. Think of it as closing the door to the past day. You are done with it; don’t think about it anymore. You should close the door to the past day so that you can start your new day fresh.
Here are some things you should realize to make it easier to “close” a day:
- The day has passed; there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t change the past no matter how hard you try.
- Instead of thinking about something you can’t change, focus instead on the things you can change, and that is the present.
Having the mindset to focus on what you can change will make it easier to “close” your day.
5. Bring only the lessons to the next day and nothing else
After you “close” a day, you should not bring anything out of it to the next day except for the lessons you extract. These lessons deal with things you can do something about. They deal with the present, not the past. Instead of thinking about the past, focus on applying the lessons to the present. This way you will be able to start your day fresh without the burden of yesterday.