More Today Than Yesterday…
I loved that song when I was a kid.
More Today Than Yesterday by Spiral Staircase - 1969. (Not that I remembered who sang it or the date, I had to look that up.)
And for those of you doing the math, I was only 2 at the time – which means the song was still rockin’ the airwaves throughout the early 1970s.
“IIII love you more to-day than yes-ter-day, but only half as much as to-mor-row.”
It only gets better – it keeps getting better. That’s what they’re singing their hearts out about.
I love that.
It’s true you know. Or at least you can make it true.
And not just about love. The message can be true about absolutely anything you point it at, because it’s actually a song about focus.
It’s about where you choose to plant your attention.
“I love you more today than yesterday.” Woohoo!!! Today is a HUGE win.
“And only half as much as tomorrow…” What? There’s more?! OOOH, the anticipation is delicious.
When we’re here, in the moment of today, we can bask in the glory of that win – and feel grateful for that growth.
We can even enjoy today’s anticipation of what tomorrow will bring.
It’s real, as long as we stay here – in the present moment. What happens when we leave this moment and evaluate the same story from the past or the future?
Well, then yesterday kinda’ sucked. There were clearly all kinds of problems with it – otherwise it would have been as good as today.
And today? That sucks too. If you’re loving me twice as much tomorrow, what’s wrong with me right now? Clearly, I need to fix something. Or you do. There’s something wrong with one of us here…
And just like that, gratitude turns to rumination and anticipation turns to fear, blame, or dread.
But, but, but…
Go ahead. I know what you’re thinking.
Yeah but, what if it really does suck? Bad shit happens for real.
What if I got fired today? What if tomorrow is my mom’s funeral? What if nothing nearly that dramatic happened but I’m stuck or scared or empty?
That, my friends, is step two.
Step one is stay in the moment. Because everything, (and I mean everything) that is real for you right now is only in this moment.
Step two is what you choose to think about – it’s called framing – and it’s every bit as important to living a mindful, intentional life as staying present.
2.5 steps to make every day better than the day before (even when sucky things happen.)
Too many people associate gratitude and framing with skirting reality – aka wearing rose-colored glasses.
But the opposite is actually the truth.
The only way it keeps getting better and better is by keeping it real. This ain’t no hearts and ponies rodeo.
Get Present – Stay Present. Stay here. Stay with what is right in front of you.
This is a skill.
It's a simple skill, but one that takes lots and lots of practice to master. Do what you’re doing; typing, talking to your kid, shopping for sparkly flip-flops…whatever.
Focus on that thing. And when other thoughts intrude (and they will – a LOT) simply redirect your attention back to your keyboard, or your kid, or Zappos.
Over and over again.
If you do this enough, half of your anxiety, negative self-talk, and blame will disappear so completely, you’ll forget how often it was there in the first place.
Re-frame it for-real. This too is a skill that requires lots of practice and lots of repetition. And this one isn’t so simple.
It’s about finding something 100% real that you can be actually grateful for even in your darkest hour.
This isn’t easy friends.
Sometimes the things we have the energy to feel grateful for are small and seemingly insignificant. But if you dig deep enough and find them, the memory of that pineapple lifesaver you found at the bottom of your purse when you kept clearing your throat during a phone interview will actually bring a smile to your face.
It's got to be 100% real and you need to actually feel grateful for it in this moment. It’s why “I’m grateful for the roof over my head” doesn’t always work. Sure it’s 100% real, sure I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head. Duh. But it’s not setting off my gratitude in this moment. The lifesaver though…
Which brings me to the next important point. No judgement.
Of course, you’re grateful for your girlfriend. But if it’s bacon that makes you smile in this particular moment, that’s the one that goes into today’s gratitude journal – no judgement.
It’s also about choosing what thoughts you allow in about your reality. That’s the framing part. And this really takes practice.
I love you more today than yesterday…
We saw what the past and future tense stories can look like. “What the hell was wrong with me yesterday?” This may feel 100% real right now, but it doesn’t actually serve you, it doesn’t move you forward.
What’s another story you could tell that also feels 100% real? “Wow, he just keeps falling more madly in love with me…” “Hey, she’s singing me a song…” “Gee, look at the way he’s looking at me right now…”
You get the point.
Keep it 100% real.
Keep it judgement free.
Keep it in service to moving you forward
2.5. Be your own champion. Remember, today, you’re twice as good yesterday… and only half as good as tomorrow. XO