12 in 24: 12 Ways to Create a Better Day

Illustration of heartbeat make 20141)      Rise 30 minutes earlier

30 minutes can add nearly two hours to your day.  Start 30 minutes earlier.  Use that time to center your thoughts, to mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepare for your day. It will eliminate as much as 10% of your time wasters (10% of your time right now).  This one change to my own routine has paid me back in unbelievable dividends.

2)      Resolve not to use the “snooze button”

Honor your decisions.  Integrity begins with the snooze button.  Yes- it really does.  Because when we agree with ourselves to RISE we need to honor our promise.  When we start the day by breaking a promise it sets a tone for everything else.  We just don’t feel as good about ourselves.  So skip the “snooze button”. Don’t use it.  Brian Tracy defines discipline as this:  “Do what you resolve to do”.  Start with this.

3)      Make your bed

I know.  This one sounds strange but there are some studies that back this up.  In her New York Times bestselling book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin holds that making your bed each morning can actually help you be happy.  That’s quite a stretch on the surface.  But she cites two reasons why this is true.  First is that it’s a small step that makes a big difference.  When you create outer order you are also creating inner calm. And in this chaotic life we live today that is saying something. The second part is that when we stay true to any resolve (keeping a promise) we create a stronger self image.  And from that grows confidence. You decided to do something and you have done it.  And since it’s a “first thing in the morning” action you begin your day with that boost. Plus it is a bit like burning the boat as well.  Once you make the bed, your day has truly begun.

4)      Make some decisions before you begin

My day starts easier because of the way I ended the day before.  My evening routine includes reviewing my plan for the next day and reviewing what is ahead. I can make some decisions before I begin that will make the day flow easier. Something as simple is deciding what to wear and making it accessible makes a difference.  (Note: Checking the weather is always a good idea!)

5)      Change what you do first

What do you do first? Change it. And change it more than once. Just never have checking e-mail in the first position. No electronics first unless it’s to check on a loved one.  Make a list of your Power 5 activities for the morning and change their order within the group.  Mine are Reading, Writing, Praying, Eating and Stretching.  I will admit that stretching in the first position helps me and I’m pretty partial to keeping it there because it makes everything else go easier. But beyond that, the rest are interchangeable.  And changing them also keeps them fresh and allows you to relish in the power of each with renewed appreciation.

6)      Eat breakfast

This is one of my Power 5 activities that took me awhile to embrace. For so many years I did not take the time for this. And over the years it took its toll.  Now I’m faithful to it.  And I look forward to it.  Rather like making the bed and other activities specifically associated to beginning our day, there is a shift that happens. And when we honor our body’s need for fuel from the beginning we honor and respect our bodies as the gift they are.  When we put self care at the level of importance it deserves we are in fact putting self love where it can serve us most effectively.

7)      Stretch

Another one of my Power 5 items is stretching.  When I began my own journey back to wellness at the beginning of 2013 I missed this one and throughout the year I began to see its importance and added it into my routines.  The act of physical stretching delivers mental stretching as well. Beyond the natural release of endorphins that happens naturally when we stretch, reaching up, down, and out creates a powerful energy beyond the physical.

8)      Practice Gratitude

There are many ways to do this.  For example, I keep a gratitude journal but I also have friends that keep a gratitude jar and they write down one thing each day that they are thankful for and put it in the jar. And I know others that keep a log, a very simple log with just one line entries randomly. But whatever method works for you, the change to your mindset will be significant. At least once a day be actively thankful for something (person, place, thing, experience, pet – be specific!).

9)      Move!

Our lives seem to become more and more sedentary.  Even those that are active have longer and longer stretches of inactivity. And this impacts every area of our well being.  Some studies show that even standing vs. sitting is beneficial. One study showed that the average person would burn 300 more calories per day just by standing 50% of their work day vs. sitting.  Walking has been the most beneficial to me.  But walking every hour is better for you than just walking for an hour. The key is to focus on movement.  Get up and move around. When you keep your blood flowing, your mind will follow!

10)   Call someone just to say hello

We are essentially social creatures that function most effectively when we have a sense of community. For some that quite often begins to focus solely on the work place. This can lead to life balance issues and unexplained feelings of isolation. It’s important to keep the right circle of influencers in your life.  And if your circle is balanced, it will encourage your own balance. Make it a habit every day to make contact with someone outside of your normal work.  And whenever possible, make that contact a conversation.

11)   Ask yourself “how can I make this happen” at least once a day

In his most recent book To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink talks about a study that found that by going to an interrogatory style of self-talk delivered far better results than just affirmation.  Our brains must go to work when we ask a question. So we need to ask the right question. A question that will put our mind muscle to work.  My favorite for this is moving from “I can make this happen!” to “Can I make this happen?” to “How can I make this happen?”  There is such a clear progression.  It is only on the 3rd iteration that I call myself to action.  I try now to ask this question at least once a day.  I keep it on my board so it passes my vision scape continuously.

12)   Take a picture

This is a practice that is more modern because quite frankly, when I was growing up and for most of my adult life this wasn’t possible for most people as a daily activity.  But that is not the case now and we need to take advantage of the life benefits of technology whenever we can.  We have so many ways to document our lives but none are more effective than pictures.  If you walk and come across a particular lovely flower, take a picture.  If you are with a loved one, take a snap.  Take a picture. It will re-enforce memory.  We’re not doing this to submit them to Life Magazine. We are doing this to create our own magazine of life.

 

Comments

  1. Great article with some wonderful tips. I think I really like #11.
    Nicole Bandes recently posted..Getting Some Mompreneur SupportMy Profile

  2. Thanks for sharing these! I do many on your list and I do make my bed daily LOL! I enjoyed reading all of these and will def be sharing this post with a bunch of my friends and family! It just might help them 🙂
    Karen recently posted..10 Random Things About MeMy Profile

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