Every day is new, with no mistakes in it

“Every day is new, with no mistakes in it.”

This is the first of two powerful life lessons I learnt long ago from the novel Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I quote it to myself often, especially when I find myself getting frustrated about falling behind in my daily goals and not achieving all I want to.

It’s so easy to beat ourselves up over failing to perform. Not enough words/exercise/networking. Too much TV/bad food/procrastination. There are so many obstacles to surmount when we’re aiming high. Let’s face it: the path of least resistance is NEVER the path towards our dream.

The good news is that even if we find ourselves meandering through a meadow of flowers (aka doing something pleasurable other than doggedly pursuing our goal), the route resets itself the very next day. The next day is our opportunity to avoid being lured down that pleasure-path and to instead tackle that tough climb up the mountain.

I’m not suggesting that procrastination is acceptable. That mindset will have us taking the meadow-path every time, doomed to circumnavigate that mountain, gaze up at the lofty peak for eternity. The only way to climb that mountain is to put one foot in front of the other and sweat it out.

But there is no point in dwelling upon the times when distraction overcomes us. It will happen — our mission must be to ensure it happens infrequently. But when it does happen, there is nothing at all we can do about it after the event, so we must banish it from our minds and focus on what we can control, which is our path on the very next day.

Look forward. Be positive. Take control.

Every day is new, with no mistakes in it. This sentiment, so simply expressed in Anne of Green Gables, really helps keep me positive, enhances my discipline, and allows me to refocus. Somehow it puts everything in perspective.

Yes, I stuff up, frequently. But every day is an opportunity to not stuff up.

(The second life lesson I learnt from Anne of Green Gables is never to hold a grudge… Poor misunderstood and much-maligned Gilbert Blythe. But that’s another topic entirely.)

So does anyone reading this have a tendency for self-flagellation when they fail to deliver on their daily goals? What is your approach to overcoming the disappointment and moving on? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Addendum 30 May
I thought I’d better check the actual quote from the book, which is:
“… tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it (yet)…”
It’s from the end of chapter 21 – A new departure in flavouring.

17 thoughts on “Every day is new, with no mistakes in it

  1. What a great quote to remind yourself of each day! I tell my kids a version of that when they feel like their whole day has gone awry. Funny thing is that I don’t allow myself that grace very often.

    Self-flagellation and I are well acquainted, especially when it comes to my writing. I tend towards the comparison thing – you know, “all the other writers I know are writing hundreds, if not thousands of words every day and you’re not!” Reminding myself that “Every day is a new…” could be my new mantra. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Oh I still suffer from poor comparisons with other writers! I strive for greater productivity all the time. Focusing on possibilities though feels less self destructive. I consider a day successful if I apply myself well without getting pulled off course too much, even if the output isn’t as high as I’d like.


  2. It’s sorta like the Weight Watchers philosophy, where every day starts with the same number of points, and if you have a bad day, you just start over the next one.


  3. Lovely sentiment. Lately I’ve been trying to make a point of acknowledging little accomplishments, of purposely feeling good about them. This is a much better place for the mind to dwell though it’s not easy!


    1. I know what you mean, because I try to focus on what I have achieved, not what I haven’t, also. Much healthier! Doesn’t always work though. Which is why treating each day like a clean slate helps me move forward.


  4. Firstly – never beat yourself up about what didn’t happen or what went wrong. By beating yourself up about things that didn’t go to “plan” you are re-inforcing the undesirable behaviour in your subconscious mind!!! (Scientifically proven. Try not thinking of a “blue tree”.) So if you are feeling really guilty about what didn’t get done to plan, then sit down and imagine what should have happened instead. Visualise it. It works. (Scientifically proven. I can even quote the study for this one.) Furthermore, when you visualise what should have happened, imagine it being a happy and fulfilling time that makes you feel great. If you visualise it being hard, then your subconscious will steer you away from doing it. It’s all a matter of perception. So the thought that it “needs to be hard” is wrong!!! Think of walking up a mountain. If you just stay focused, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, and praising yourself for every step you take forward, and thinking of it as a pleasant journey, then that’s what it will be. A pleasant journey, and you will get to the top of the mountain. What’s more … because it’s been such a pleasant journey, you will want to do it again! You will start craving another trip up the mountain, and you will shun other distractions.

    As for every day being new, with no mistakes in it – that’s true. Every day you get 24 hours. Use them wisely.


    1. I think the point of this post was that I’m trying NOT to beat myself up about stuff!! I agree however that it could be helpful to stop viewing the path towards dreams as ridden with obstacles… But I think you misunderstand me a little. It’s not that I don’t like writing/pursuing my dream – on the contrary, I love it! But it is HARD, no matter the self talk, and there are other things I also love doing that are much easier.


  5. I’m a big offender of beating myself up about the past, although I’m working on it because internal dialog is so important to my attitude and outlook.

    When I start this bad habit, I try to ask myself ~ what would I do if one of my kids were talking like this about themselves? ~ I would try to help them see the positive, of course. That usually gives me a virtual slap in the face to snap me out of it and to keep plugging away.

    I love the quote ~ I’ll use it. Maybe I’ll post it on my fridge!


  6. Sometimes it is not what we are thinking that is causing the stress (because of what we ‘should’ have gotten done) but it is the stress of stuff sitting there, building, growing, getting unmanageable. I need a quote for that.

    I think I need to take a cue from Sharon Clare and think of the things I did get done and not concentrate on the things piling up undone.


    1. Ah, when the list gets unmanageable I break it off into pieces and try to set achievable goals… If I don’t reach them, then I look to tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

      But yes, let’s try to be thankful for what we DO achieve.


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