Before we get into how to start off a great day, lets take a step back and talk about what needs to be done the night before. How you go to bed and end your night plays a huge role on how you will feel the next morning. This is something I personally struggle with... SLEEP! That's right! We've grown up hearing our parents nag us over and over again to go to bed early, get more sleep, blah blah blah. As much as I hate to admit it, I made the stupid mistake of not listening to them years ago. Now, I struggle very hard to find that discipline and sense of routine... That annoying little emphasis on sleep is actually one of the most crucial factors in overall health. This is the time we should be resting and allowing our bodies to repair and replenish itself after being awake and active all day! When we fail to give ourselves the proper amount of sleep, at the right hours, we completely throw off our hormones. Think about all the years of doing so... How does that effect our body, health, and mental state over time? I don't know about you, but when I sleep very late, there's no way I'm in a cheery mood waking up in the morning. It's either one of two things:
1) I'm extremely frustrated when my alarm goes off, and at that moment, all I want is to lay in bed, begging for more time. 2) I wake up on my own late in the afternoon, with so much disappointment in myself for wasting my day.
I absolutely hate feeling like I'm miserably dragging myself out of bed each morning and dreading all of my responsibilities. This is not an ideal way to begin your day! Often times I find myself rushing to make up from all the time lost sleeping in. And as a result, when I am in a rush, I am forgetful, clumsy, distracted, and completely unaware of my surroundings! I've come to find that the combination of going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting a good night's rest can really eliminate all of those undesirable aspects, and kick off my morning the right way! A big part of being able to do so is managing your time wisely during the day so that you aren't bombarded with a long list of things to do once the night approaches. Sometimes its as easy as just listening to that voice in the back of your head thats telling you to close your laptop... The one that tells you that its time to get off social media... Or to simply put the damn phone down! Although I am the last person who can say that I fully prioritize sleep, I'm slowly learning how to take better care of myself and practice more discipline in this area. Getting adequate sleep alone, can do so much for you the following day. Now lets talk about some simple things you can do from the moment you wake up to make sure you have a productive, awesome day.
We set our alarms each night to a specific time the next morning FOR A REASON! This is the time we intend to wake up... A time we've chosen is a good time to get up in order to get what we need to do, done. It should be honored! I can't tell you how many times I've snoozed with the intention to wake up after 'just a few more minutes', but instead, woke up over half an hour later! Let this be the first productive thing you do to take control over how your day will go. How awesome is it that before you even actually get out of bed, you can already say you have accomplished one personal goal for yourself! Waking up early/on time really allows you to feel like you have the power to make the most out of your day... And you do!!!
Okay, now I just feel like I sound like an annoying parent lol. But I'm serious! Growing up, I was never the type of person who saw how it made any sense to make my bed if I was just going to get right back into it later... But it's such a simple thing that you can do for yourself to develop better discipline and a routine. It may seem super unnecessary, but this little 'chore' takes less than 5 minutes to do! And I don't know about you, but keeping my room nice and tidy makes me feel like I have a part of my life under control! Haha. It also feels really nice to come back home to a clean room after a long day, don't ya think? Hmm... So lets see... within 10 minutes of waking up, you have already practiced 2 acts of discipline that can only contribute positively to your day!
Now this is very simple and easy to do. Depending on how you may particularly feel that morning, or how life is going for you at the moment, choose something you'd like to keep as your focus for the day. This can seriously be anything! These intentions can be creative, mental & emotional, relationship-based, immediate, or even long-term intentions. The list goes on... You can quickly do this in your head or even aloud. For example, one's intention may be: "I intend to maintain a positive mindset this week." It could also be, "I intend to create something today." Or even, "I intend to put out good energy into the world every day." You may even find that you have more than one intention you'd like to focus on. Either way, taking the time to think about things you'd like to practice, or areas in your life that you may want to strengthen, help to keep you mindful throughout the day AND throughout life. Setting a simple intention for your day can do so much to help promote personal growth, overall happiness, and get you that much closer to your goals! And the best part is, you can do this anytime and anywhere!
WHO DOESN'T LOVE MUSIC? I feel like there's a perfect song for any type of mood. When I get ready in the morning, I'm always playing happy, upbeat music to start the day. Even though it may be background noise, music is so powerful and it can subliminally change our mood without us even noticing! Pick your favorite song. It can be one you can't help but sing along to, one that instantly makes you want to dance, or even one that just reminds you of a really good time in your life. Its amazing what that can do & what kind of mood it can set for the way you choose to go about your day... Whether it be on the way to school, to the gym, or during my commute, I'm always playing music I enjoy. I personally feel that having this enjoyable stimulation throughout the day does a lot to keep me motivated, and powering on through my daily activities.
You're probably thinking "Duh!" right? Well, I'm someone who grew up never really eating breakfast, so as a result I never felt hungry in the morning. Because of this, I'd skip breakfast, go on about my day, then mid-afternoon realize, "Holy crap, I still haven't eaten anything." And if you're like me, you're not a fun person to be around when you're HANGRY! I realize this was a huge factor in why I was irritable, impatient, lazy, and extremely negative! I also would barely drink the total amount of a bottle of water by the end of the day. YIKES, I know! Now, I never leave the house without my refillable water bottle! Its no secret... WATER DOES SO MANY WONDERS. I now make it a point to either eat something before I leave the house, or take the time to pack some on-the-go snacks. Throughout my personal health journey, I can finally say I trust and care about just how important it is to fuel your body! And this doesn't mean loading up on junk just to feel full, but rather nourishing myself with beneficial nutrients and LOTS of water. What we put into our body has such a huge effect on not only physical health, but also mental health. Choosing nutrient-dense foods loaded with healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates gives you more energy, and more importantly, QUALITY energy... And this is so crucial when you consider: how can someone possibly have an amazing day when feeling sluggish and moody? Don't overlook the basics!!!
This may sound like a no-brainer, but I think it's safe to say that its easy to get caught up in our busy lives. I'm talking about those everyday things like school, work, kids, projects, going out, relationships, drama... You get the point. Its easy to feel stuck within our hectic schedules sometimes. Making it a priority to set out some time to do something that makes you happy, can dictate how you feel throughout the day. It can even be the sole determinant of why you feel that you had a great day! If you love getting lost in reading, find some time to pick up that book- even if just for half an hour. If you find your release is through exercise, then make sure you throw that into your day! It could be as easy as doing some squats while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Heck, if its dessert that makes you happy, the treat yourself! ITS OKAY. Understand that if it's little things like this that help bring pleasure to our lives and make us feel sane, we really need to make that effort to implement them into our day to day life. Of course however, in healthy amounts! Remember, Its all about balance...
This is something I've really been working on recently. Its something my mother always reminds me to do, but also something I struggle with often. Protecting your energy is really just taking control and making conscious decisions to keep yourself away from people, things, or situations that may be damaging to your energy. I personally am someone who cares a little to much... for everyone! Although its all for good reasons, I unfortunately spread myself too thin for others and often end up getting myself into situations that absolutely drain me of my positive energy. Protecting your energy can be as simple as deciding to stay in if you truly don't feel like going out. It can be making the decision to no longer be involved an unhealthy friendship... Deciding not to engage in a petty argument... Choosing not to respond to a text or answer a call because you have something more important to take care of.... Or even just speaking up against something that makes you uncomfortable. These are all simple decisions that should be easy to make, once you lend yourself your deserved respect. I've always struggled with the feeling of obligation to please others, but I'm beginning to learn that being selfish is okay! You have a right to feel safe, happy, and at ease. Do what you can to minimize the toxicity in your life and protect yourself from the contamination of negativity!
We are human! That's what we're meant to do... Communicate, socialize, share, and learn from one another. That type of stimulation is what keeps us alive! And I'm really not saying, if you're a shy person, go throw yourself at people. What I really mean is to make sure you have at least one meaningful interaction or conversation each day. And this can be with your family, your friends, or a random person you meet in line at the grocery store. & If you don't like making new friends, then at least have one person you make an effort to share your thoughts and feelings with. You can make small goals to try an put yourself out there in different ways. Meet new people. Crack a joke. Compliment someone. Go out of your way to do something nice. It can be as simple as giving a genuine smile to a complete stranger. These are truly the things that spark those feel-good, humanistic feelings inside. I remember a while back when I was first learning about mindfulness, karma, and all that good stuff... I practiced making it my intention not to hold back any positive thing I thought about someone- even if I knew I could possibly look like a weirdo. So at school on campus, if I thought a stranger's makeup was nice, if someone walking by had a cool, bold outfit, if I noticed the random girl in my class got a haircut- I'D SAY SOMETHING. And from finding confidence in put myself out there through this practice, this intention has become something I do on the regular today. And I am so proud of feeling the comfort to do so! Now note, this doesn't mean go out giving fake compliments to people thinking you'll get good karma. It's more so discovering that putting yourself out there to potentially make someone's entire day is SO WORTH it. Its extremely beneficial for both the giver and the receiver of the acknowledgment. I don't know about you... but it's just something abstractly amazing to realize that you have the power to make people feel things... to make someone smile... to make someone laugh... to make someone's day. That understanding alone, is truly enough to make me feel that I have the power to make my day, a fulfilled one.
To wrap up this post, I just want to emphasize that these are just a number of the things I personally practice, in order to hold some form of accountability over my life. I am very much aware that sometimes, shitty things just happen. Shitty things that may be out of our control... And in those cases, "making your bed" isn't gonna do jack to change anything. Ultimately, I just want to be able to say that I did my part. And by doing my part, I mean putting in the conscious effort to add whatever positivity I can to my life on a day-to-day basis. It's these little practices that make me feel like I have control. And its this feeling of control and accountability that will allow me to at least attempt to make the best of any bad situation. It's also important to point out that everyone is different; and what someone considers a "great" day, may be completely off from what another deems it is. It's all relative to who you are, how you think, and what your life is like. But no matter what kind of person you are- introverted, extroverted, everything in between, beyond, and so on... I really hope at least one of the things on this personalized list can be some type of value to you. Whether it be inspiration to try out a new practice, motivation to keep up whatever healthy habits you already hold, or even just something that provokes your thought... You have the power to take action and add supplemental happiness to your life- as minute as it may be. Create your own guidelines, follow what you feel, and remember that EVERY DAY IS A GOOD DAY TO HAVE A GOOD DAY!