What do you want for your life? A simple question, for which most of you will have many answers: love, success, health, children, longevity… maybe even something like wisdom or a close relationship with God. Big, important, meaningful goals, which rarely seem to draw any closer.

A harder question, then: what do you want for your day? Not some hypothetical, future day, either, not even tomorrow—but this day, as you read these words, even though the day may have already taken an undesirable turn.

Let me tell you why this is such an important distinction. Too often, we shunt the most important things in life ahead of us, into the future, where it feels more possible. The present moment always seems to have so much baggage, but tomorrow is another day.

Most of you, I’m sure, can already guess what I’m going to say next: this idea of the future is a pleasant fiction, and only rarely becomes more than that. The hard, self-evident truth is that the present moment is the only time we can actually do anything. Some of you may even dread the inevitable follow-up: that the key is simply to be aware of this, keep your goals in mind, focus your energy on the present moment, and perhaps use my interventions to clear the way.

But I’m not going to say that part, because most of you have already done most of that. And because despite what the self-help world would like you to pay them to tell you, willpower is almost never enough.

Let’s assume that things like willpower, focus, intelligence, and so forth are limited resources. That means that they are not entirely under your control, and that if you’re unable to live a day the way that you really want, the message therein is not one of shame and recrimination for lacking the internal faculties, but simple cue that you need to keep building, keep learning, keep moving forward. How liberating is that thought!?

If you’re serious about reducing your sense of responsibility to only those things over which you have total control, then what does that leave you with? Only one thing, really: intention. You can practice a sincere intention to put what resources you have to work for the good of yourself and others—and it is 100% in your capability, every single time. Everyone in Alcoholics Anonymous knows that they do not have total, unilateral control over their actions. But if you only take control of intent, then everything else is just a lesson, and a chance to grow.

Have a blessed, wonderful day!

Dr. Alex Loyd


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