How did you start your day today? Did you rise and shine? Or rise and whine? Did you leap or drag yourself out of bed? Were you ready and alert for all the opportunities of the day? In that first hour of the day, the choices you make can set you up for a stellar day…or a stinker.
Most people wouldn’t consider leaving their home undressed, yet many leave the house mentally “nude” and unprepared for the day ahead. Whether you scurry around getting yourself or family ready or simply go on autopilot, starting the day without any sort of mental intention is like leaving it all to the fates. Bad or tired moods persist, frustration can easily build, and at the end of the day you come home tired, cranky and wasted. Sound familiar? So why not break the cycle and choose something different?
The key to having a great day begins first thing in the morning. Making choices to do things that launch you in a positive way can build a sense of calm, control and optimism that can carry you throughout your day.
Here are some of the choices I’m talking about:
1. Get a good night’s sleep. There’s no remedy for not enough shut-eye. Schedule sleep as you would a business meeting or an appointment with your doctor. Stick to the schedule.
2. Wake up early enough so that you have some time for yourself, even if it’s only 10 minutes. This isn’t always an easy habit to begin but it’s worth the rewards. This means waking up earlier than your spouse or the kids or by simply carving out some time for your self.
3. Visualize. Spend a few minutes in bed before getting up. Spend a minute or two visualizing, with your eyes closed, how you want your day to go. What are you doing? Who are you with? Where are you headed? How is work going? Picture the best case scenarios. Many people wake up thinking, “ugh, another day”. Retraining your mind to think positively about the day ahead can change your whole perspective.
4. Set a non work goal or intention for the day. Make a goal for meeting your own personal needs. Ask yourself what you need – a neck rub, a walk, a few minutes with a magazine, a new gym bag, whatever – and then make it a goal to make sure that you get that at some point throughout the day.
5. Make your bed. This seems like such a simple thing but it brings order to your life. Create a ritual of making your bed each morning so that it represents this feeling of organization.
6. Ditch the news. It’ll just bring you down and why do this to yourself at the beginning of the day? Instead spend some time reading something that interests or inspires you. Whatever it is, a favorite blog or magazine, take a few minutes each morning to read and focus on it.
7. Get some exercise. Although its sometimes a hard push, its very beneficial to exercise in the morning before you start your day. Whether it’s yoga, hitting the gym or just a series of short stretches or a quick walk around the block, you should make time for this and make yourself get in the habit of doing it.
Follow these choices diligently for 2 – 3 weeks to train condition your mind and body. By this time, if not sooner, you could well be noticing a marked improvement in both your energy level and attitude throughout the day.