Walden Pond

I love this quote:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

The frankness it takes to call your negative thinking, “your old nonsense,” makes me smile and thrills me—it’s so liberating!

I use this quote on a daily basis to put the day to bed and come to some peace about what happened—good and bad.

1) When the day is over so is your interaction with it. A brief inventory to inform future choices is helpful. Fretting about it or beating up on yourself is not.

2) You did the best you could—even if that wasn’t the best you’ve ever done. In hindsight, we could have ALWAYS done better. But you can’t be in the past and the present at the same time. Thanks, Ram Dass!

3) Honor the promise of tomorrow by not sabotaging it with today’s “mistakes.” You’ve got a clean slate to start with—no point in mucking it up with yesterday’s baggage.

While it may inspire us to read Emerson, how do we put these ideas into practice?

One way is through affirmations.  

Not the kinds of affirmations you may be thinking and certainly not like the affirmations of Stuart Smalley.

Neuroscience has shown that our thoughts can rewire our brains.

Affirmations as spoken thoughts—positive sentences we repeat out loud—helps create our reality.  

For some science rather than woo-woo, read more about the neuroscientific research here.

An easy-to-read, fascinating book about the plasticity of the brain is Norman Doidge’s book.

This article in Psychology Today explores whether or not affirmations work—apparently they do.

If you need a jumpstart in creating your own affirmations, check out examples in the Huffington Post and if you like woo-woo, swing by the “Queen of Affirmations” Louise Hay for a healthy dose!


Create a personal affirmation to help you achieve the goals in Emerson’s quote.

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About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

Find him on the web at andrewmellen.com.

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