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I can only do my best today.

I can only do my best today.” These are powerful words – and they’re my daily mantra, regardless of what kind of day I’m having.

They originally stemmed from a very stressful time in my life, several, really, each time my parents were in hospital after suffering a stroke. That feeling of lack of control over the situation, paired with knowing I needed to keep my business alive through the months in hospital with them supporting them during rehab – I needed something to ground and centre myself. One day I said to myself “I can only do my best today. If that means that I don’t get anything done on my to do list other than being here for my parent, then that’s what I’m doing today, and I’m going to do that the best I can, with the best attitude that I can.” I instantly felt a weight off my shoulders. I had released myself from my internal struggle with guilt that I couldn’t do anything about what was happening. It helped me feel as though I had some control over the situation by making a decision to not be so hard on myself, and not feel as though I had to do it all. Sometimes my “best” meant that I needed to be in my office working, instead of at the hospital, and the guilt I felt that I wasn’t with them – even though my sister was there – was really hard, but I knew I could only do my best. Those days, my best meant I needed to work to keep up with my responsibilities to my clients.

They’re words I often say to myself even now, if I’m feeling overwhelmed or struggling with something that I don’t feel is going as well as it “should”. Balancing work and life, a to-do list that’s gotten out of control, or even something as simple as working out. Maybe yesterday I felt I had more energy than today, and I’m starting to feel like what I’m doing isn’t good enough, because I’m comparing it to yesterday. It’s my reminder to focus on where I am right now, because I’m still doing my best today.

I made this graphic for my desktop, and I make sure that none of my browser windows cover it (the desktop version has the text on the far right), so I can remind myself that as long as I’m doing my best today – I should still be proud of myself. If you’re doing the best you can today, regardless of yesterday or the day before, you should be proud of yourself too.

What’s your daily mantra? What helps you get through those tough days when overwhelm sets in?

I can only do my best today. (kbarlowdesign)

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