better today than yesterday

You’ve heard the saying, “Be better today than you were yesterday,” right?

It may sound cliche, but the truth is if you strive always to improve on what you were or did yesterday, with each new day, over time you’ll reap enormous benefits.

Much like the tortoise and the hare, small, even slow, steps, done consistently over time, will get you to your goals.

Big Dreams, Huge Goals

You set huge dreams for your life. You dream of attaining lofty goals. You set out with enthusiasm and energy, only to find that reality is a ruthless negotiator.

Life gets hard, you hit obstacles, you feel buried under an avalanche of demands, and suddenly those dreams and goals don’t shine as brightly. They lose their luster.

They begin to seem too difficult to attain. They require too much of you.

You get tired. You feel besieged.

You quit.

How depressing.

What’s Stopping You?

So be honest. What have you started with great enthusiasm, only to quit when things got tough?

And before you think I’m judging you, rest assured that we’ve all been there. We’re only human, and it’s perfectly normal to feel at times like whatever it is we’re striving for just may be out of our reach.

And sometimes we should stop chasing something that no longer, or maybe never did, really fit in our lives. But other times, it’s a matter of digging deep and finding that spark again. Finding it and reigniting it.

You Can Do This

Want a few simple strategies to help you stay in the game when you feel like giving up? Okay. I can do that. ┬á­čÖé

1)  Choose your passions wisely.

This advice may sound all new-agey and silly, but it’s a critical component for future success. To illustrate what I mean, consider for a moment that you decide for some unfathomable reason to be a sketch artist. Sounds like a noble goal, right?

But let’s also imagine that you don’t have an ounce of artistic talent. You couldn’t draw your way out of a paper bag. But by golly, you’re going to be an artist because — well, how cool would that be?

You’ll soon find out that it’s not cool at all, and in fact, is a real downer. You regret your lack of abilities, you feel out of your element.

It’s hard. You hate it!

You quit.

Why? Being a sketch artist is a good thing to strive for, isn’t it?

Well, yes, if you like to draw, and you have some natural ability. But if you don’t, the first bump in the road is going to chuck you right into the bushes. Because you chased an unrealistic dream.

Be sure that whatever dream you decide to pursue is something you truly love to do and that you possess at least some natural ability to realistically expect you’ll be able to build upon. Otherwise, even small challenges will kick you out of the game.

If you don’t love what you do, chances are you won’t stick with it. So make sure that you have a genuine and real passion for the dream you chase.

2)  Set challenging, but realistic, time frames.

When you set super tight timeframes to reach demanding goals that are at odds with your lifestyle and other time demands, you’ll be setting yourself up for disaster.

Nothing will make you want to quit faster than constantly feeling under pressure and forced to neglect other important areas of your life, like time with your children. For most moms, the choice between their kids and just about anything else always comes down to choosing the children.

And that’s a good thing.

But instead of giving up on a dream because of an unrealistic timeframe, simply readjust your schedule. Loosen it up a bit and give yourself breathing room. So what if it takes you a little longer than someone else to reach your goal. You won’t walk away completely if you factor in some wiggle room.

3)  Take small steps along a vast path.

When you look too far down the road, the view can be daunting. It’s overwhelming, and that leads to giving up. You look ahead and cannot imagine ever reaching the goal. It’s just too far away; there are too many obstacles.

It’s just too much.

But when you look only a few steps ahead, it’s much easier to keep going. You’re covering the same ground. It just seems more doable. This is what it means to make today better than yesterday.

Small bites. Baby steps. Take them consistently and pace yourself. Each day will be better than the day before.

4)  Compete only with yourself.

The only person you have to measure yourself against is who you were yesterday. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or how fast they’re going. They have a whole different set of challenges in their life.

What is easy for one person to accomplish quickly and easily may take longer for you. That’s okay. As long as you continually work toward making yourself better each day, you’ll reach your goals.

5) ┬áUnderstand that you’ll never be done.

It’s rare that any of us will ever reach a set goal and then say, “I did it. I’m done now.” Not when it comes to what matters most.

If we don’t have a goal to strive for, a dream to follow, then what’s the point? You should never expect, or even want, to stop setting goals for yourself. Once you’ve hit a goal, set another. Work toward that one.

The days will pass whether you have a goal or not. You may as well work toward something worthwhile.

It’s Worth It

Nothing worth having ever comes easy. The most important things in our lives are important precisely because they don’t come easy.

Without effort and overcoming challenges, the rewards would not be as sweet.

Embrace your challenges.

Learn when to breathe.

Know that it will be worth it.

Choose your battles wisely.

And never, ever give up on your dreams just because they don’t come easy.

Your dreams and goals are much too important to give up.