3 Ways to Win Your Day—and Celebrate

Our days can pass in an empty blur, but with some clarity, we can make them precious
February 18, 2021 Updated: February 18, 2021

We tend to go through our days with our noses to the grindstone, doing tasks, getting distracted, jumping from one thing to the next. Go to sleep tired, repeat the next day. 

Our days become an endless cycle of getting stuff done and getting through to the next day—especially during this pandemic.

What would it be like if today were special?

I’m going to share a few simple practices that will elevate every day into something to celebrate.

Practice 1: Win the Day

Instead of starting the day with a list of tasks to get done, what if we identified 1 to 3 things that would make this day an absolute victory if we were to do them?

So the practice is to start the day with a simple entry in your notebook or on a simple text document: What could I do to make this day a victory? I like to title it, “Win the Day: Saturday Feb. 6” (or whatever date it is, obviously). Then I list 2 or 3 potential victories. For today, writing this article is one of mine.

I have other tasks and meetings on my list, obviously, but these are the 2 or 3 I focus on. Sometimes it’s just one. If I can get that single task done, or those 2 or 3 tasks, done, it will be a big victory for my goals for this month or year, or for my mission. Or it would just feel fantastic.

I keep this list front and center, and refer back to it multiple times a day. It helps bring me back to what I want to accomplish. And then I look back on it at the end of the day (more on this in the next section) and celebrate what I can. Sometimes I don’t get them all done, which isn’t a cause for disappointment but for learning. But most days I do at least 1 or 2 of them, and any progress is a huge cause for celebration.

Practice 2: A Brief Review

At the end of each day, it can be powerful to take a brief pause and review how the day went. Celebrate anything you can.

Here’s what I like to review:

  1. How did I do with my Win the Day list? Celebrate any progress at all.
  2. How did I do with my practices for the day? Again, any practice at all is a cause for celebration.
  3. Where did I see the divine today? (You may see it as the presence of God, or the sacred, or even magic. Use whatever  concept feels powerful for you.) For me, I often find divinity in nature, in people all around me, even in a quiet moment like the one I’m experiencing as I write this post. I find this a powerful question that helps me celebrate life.

This only has to take a few minutes. Set a reminder. I often will take a few more minutes to set my intentions/Win the Day items for tomorrow.

Practice 3: Ending Ritual for Tasks

We don’t have to wait until the end of the day to celebrate. We can do it after anything we do.

The practice is a simple ritual: Pause when you’re done with something before you move on to the next thing. And reflect. And celebrate.

For example, when I’m done writing this, I will have the urge to open up a browser tab and start tackling other tasks. Instead, I will try to remember to pause and reflect on how the writing went. What did I find sacred in the writing process? What can I celebrate and be grateful for? Then I’ll ask what my next intention is.

It takes seconds, but it means that throughout the day, we are finding moments of deep appreciation for life.

Leo Babauta is the author of six books, the writer of Zen Habits, a blog with over 2 million subscribers, and the creator of several online programs to help you master your habits. Visit ZenHabits.net