Would you like to make this your best year ever?

Now, lots of things go into having a great year. Like setting out your goals and vision, creating a plan for getting there, and taking action. Plus, it helps to have a bit of luck along the way.

But while these are important things to do and have, they’re only part of the picture and a lot of it is outside your control.

Alongside the planning and the luck, you need a strategy that’s completely in your control and happens on a day-to-day level.

That’s where a key to success I learned from my father just a few months ago comes in. It’s helped him live a wonderful life and been a game-changer for me. Maybe it can help you too.

What I Learned from My Father

My father recently retired after a 60-year career in academia. His university hosted a 2-day celebration honoring his legacy, which ended with my father giving a personal speech.

After he’d thanked everyone for attending and shared some memories and highlights, he said, “… and I’ve enjoyed every day.”

And my father really meant it. He has enjoyed every day. Yet, things haven’t always been rosy in my father’s life.

In his youth, he and his family lived through times of war in China and ultimately fled the country with just a small bag each.

As an adult, he faced financial pressures supporting a young family plus various relatives on a junior academic’s salary, serious illnesses and deaths in the family, and challenges at work like being passed over for promotion and grant funding falling through. And that’s just what I remember.

Yet he found a way to enjoy every day.

Enjoying Every Day is a Choice

Enjoying the day is a choice my father makes every day. And since hearing my father’s remarks, I’ve made it part of my daily practice to remind myself to “enjoy every day” too.

“No one is a failure who is enjoying life.” – William Faulkner

Having that mindset as I go through the day has made a huge difference to my mood and the way I react to what’s going on around me.

When I feel anxious before a meeting or presentation, I’m reminded to enjoy the moments leading up to the event and to frame the event itself as something I’m looking forward to. And when I’m impatiently waiting for someone to finish making their point, it’s a reminder for me to appreciate that they’re sharing their views.

It can take some effort as you consciously build this habit of enjoying each day. Especially when there’s so much that can happen outside your control that knocks you off course or onto a different path altogether.

When I asked my father how he enjoys every day when things aren’t going well, he said he reflects back at the end of the day and appreciates what he’s accomplished and been a part of. Some days it’s just being grateful to be alive or looking forward to the next day to come, but there’s always something to appreciate.

So, having great days that add up to a great year – even your best year ever! – is about focusing on what’s in your control and appreciating what you have.

Creating a Virtuous Cycle

The practice of enjoying every day is powerful because it creates a virtuous cycle that has a positive effect on your life and career.

When you’re enjoying your day, you can’t help but bring positive energy. This rubs off on the people around you and makes them want to be around you and support you.

This, in turn, attracts opportunities to you which leads to a better future for you to enjoy. Like getting an unexpected introduction to someone who ultimately becomes your future “best boss ever”. Or having word get back to top management that you’re someone worth investing in.

All it takes is the daily practice of choosing to enjoy every day.

And when you enjoy every day, you can’t help but have a great year.

The Path to Your Best Year Ever

To have your best year ever, it’s important to set your vision and plan.

But it’s also incredibly valuable to create your daily practice of enjoying every day, no matter what happens.

Some days will be more challenging than others but that’s when this practice becomes more important than ever and will make the biggest difference for you.

So let's make this your best year ever.

What will you do to create the habit of enjoying every day?

Leave a comment and let me know.