How to Start Your Day
Updated: Mar 2, 2020
How do you start your day? What do you need in order to create a day that serves you well? Try a few of these morning tips and see if they help you create the best day ever.
1. Get up. Snoozing actually doesn't translate into any additional sleep that counts as helpful. The "SNOOZE" button should really say "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?" We are only delaying the inevitable. We must get up. Snoozing only means we will be forced to rush through everything else in order to still be ready to go. There is a time and place for snoozing, like on vacation, but hearing that alarm and immediately deciding you are going to get ready for the day ahead is a more powerful start than another snooze. And if you are just too tired? Well, plan for more sleep at the end of this new day.
2. Stretch. You need not go through an elaborate series of yoga poses that can't be pronounced. Just lay in bed, arch your back and wiggle your fingers and toes, like a cat waking up from a nap. Sit up and do a few neck rolls to get the kinks out and reach your arms up to the sky. Feel your body come back to life. Your body supports you all day. Show your appreciation by giving it a little warm-up before you start the marathon.
3. Listen. Keep your eyes closed and just listen. To your breathing. To the noises outside. To the sound of your home humming to life. Whatever those sounds are - tune in. Breathe. Take a few minutes to meditate with it and relax. Judge nothing. Hear the silence, if you have it. Hear the activity, if you have that. Want for nothing more than what is there before you.
4. Be positive, inside and out. Make sure your first thoughts upon waking are not filled with criticism or negativity. Make sure your first words spoken are not angry or negative. It only starts your day down that path. Post an affirmation at your nightstand or on your mirror. Read something that inspires. Smile, even if no one is watching.
5. Write it down. Take stock of what your day looks like - meetings, appointments, errands, meals, phone calls, social visits - and put it down on paper. You are less likely to forget it. But, more importantly, you are more likely to embrace it and follow through with it if you have it written down. Documenting your intention to head to the gym at 5:15pm is more likely to happen if you have seen in sitting there waiting for you all day. You can plan on it, and plan around it. When we write it down, we hold ourselves accountable for what we are going to spend our day doing. And why shouldn't we be accountable for how our day proceeds?
6. Turn your "must dos" into "want tos". If I think about all of those things as "must do", then they feel like obligations. And they are. I am obligated to feed my children. I am obligated to have them dressed. But if I can think of them as things I "want" to do, then it makes all the difference. I want to feed my children healthy meals so I'm heading to the grocery to buy fresh food. I want my son to not lose his mind when he dresses each morning so I'm going to find his favorite socks. The things I want in my life are up to me. My choice. So yes - this day is full because of errands and mundane tasks. But this day is also full because of the life that I have chosen. Everything in your day is a choice. Remind yourself of that when confronted with a day you are struggling to confront.
7, Make your bed. Even big beds with lots of pillows take less than 5 minutes to make. And it makes the room look better and you walk away anticipating how nice it will be to return to that space after a long day. One of the best things about a vacation is heading away from your hotel for the day, only to return to a tidy and made bed. Making the bed up also prevents you from crawling back into it before it is really bedtime.
8. Get dressed. Those who know me are fully aware of my total distaste for jeans and my love for stretch pants and tunics. Living in the chilly Bay Area, I top any and every outfit off with a scarf and a hoodie. And even though I do a lot of my work at home, I still get dressed. I still put on my face and put in earrings. I still make myself presentable. When I have taken care of my appearance, I feel better about myself overall. I find that I'm more motivated to act when I like what I'm wearing, when I have a little lipgloss on. Getting dressed is not about doing anything fancy. It is about acknowledging that how you physically show up in the world will have an impact on how you feel and maybe even how you are treated. So why not show up looking like someone who cares?
9. Look forward to the possibilities, rather than back at the past. A conversation gone wrong. An embarrassing moment. A fender bender. A botched presentation. A day you want to forget. That was yesterday. We can't go back. We need not replay it and relive it. And we certainly need not fret this new day before us because of what happened before. Today can be different, and will be different, if we say so. Each day brings its own set of challenges. Don't make your new day more challenging by clouding it with past mistakes or errors.
10. Be grateful. You have a whole day ahead of you. The same 24 hours everybody else has to work with. Remember that each day is a gift, and each day is something to be thankful for. Wake up with that feeling of gratitude and embrace it until you close your eyes at the end of another precious day.
Great days don't just happen by luck. You create them. Craft your own ways to start your day the way you want. Don't just count the days - make the days count.