Part of Franklin’s daily schedule includes focus setting each morning and a review each night. The intent is to go some amount of good in a day in addition to working on moral perfection. (He was an ambitious man.)
I have been doing the same as part of the morning protocol that started this summer. And I’ve been struggling with that “good” part of the prompt.
Not in the existential sense but more in scope. What is enough good to achieve in a day. I’m not going to make the world a better place in a single day nor do I want every day’s goal to be “do specifict work thing”. Aside from that being boring and that I have hobbies, my work day is pretty jammed with must-dos already.
So, that leaves little person goals, I guess? The first few days of Temperance Week I used the [edict list][http://www.abmann.net/list-of-virtues/\] I write on Sunday to inform my daily goals. 12/28 included “stop eating before you feel full.” 12/29 was the very specific “maintain temperance with food + drink”. 12/30 and 31 had “properly hydrate” which I failed both days.
These seem vaguely useful but, if I am setting more specific virtue goals, it feels as if that undermines the point otherwise. So should I not try to accomplish some other useful good?
I think in my mind the virtues are inward focused goals, self improvement’ and the daily goal should be outward focused improvement. Though Benjamin Franklin was well aware of the personal benefits to be gained from his projects — city militia, the post office, lending a press to his apprentice when he left for Boston — so many of them had community improvement at their heart.
If that is the intent, doing some small, external good, how do I define those? I had a few last week that were a blend like “be patient with Alyska” which I could always be better at. The goal was still about my own conduct and interfacing with the world.
So then do I make them about work? Do I do more things for other people? How will I get my own stuff done? Do I attempt some community service each day? Do I have time enough to do that amongst other responsibilities?
And you see the dilemma…
The answer is almost assuredly “calm down, do what you can.” A simple kindness, even to yourself makes the world a little better.
If you had to set a small, external goal for the day, what would it be?
What good would you do in a day?