The way we start our day can strongly influence how the rest of the day goes. Whether we are concerned in making that first hour of the day the one that sets the tone or use the morning to create a great day throughout, we need to take the early part of the day to set up success for the rest of the day. Here are seven tried and tested ways that I use to kick start my day.
1. Wake Up Early
Leaving yourself enough time before work helps you to feel more in control of your time and less rushed. Personally I really like my sleep, so I am not suggesting you have to get up really early if that doesn’t appeal to you — but getting up in plenty of time before you leave the house or start your workday really makes a difference. I used to stay in bed till the last possible moment, but found that I always carried around a feeling of being forced out of bed and rushing into my day. Give yourself a little extra time and start your day in a relaxed and positive way.
Exercising is a really great way to kick start your day. Again, find what suits you; you don’t have to jog ten miles or do a triathlon! I have a half an hour walk each morning, which gets me out into the fresh air and in contact with some daylight, which is important especially in the winter when we generally spend more time indoors. That half hour walk really sets me up for the day. If the weather is very bad, I do 15 minutes of yoga using a DVD at home. Some form of exercise will help you start your day on the right foot. Find what you enjoy and what fits in with your schedule. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; start small and build on it.
Meditation is a really simple and effective way to start your day well. If you haven’t meditated before, just carve out five to ten minutes from your day and sit quietly. Some people leave their eyes open. I prefer closing mine to shut out distractions — but find what works for you. You can stare at a candle flame or concentrate on your breath. I have a CD with guided meditations on that I find really helpful but you can also find other meditations free on the internet as well. Even sitting quietly with a hot drink once you get up can make a huge difference to your start to the day. It is amazing how much of a difference spending even ten minutes a day unplugged from the outside world makes.
Affirmations are a great way to promote positive thoughts and create a successful mindset for your day. Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts and the things we say about ourselves are affirmations. When we say we are bad at math or good at cooking, for example, it is an affirmation and that thought becomes the truth for us. Choosing positive affirmations is a great way to change your thoughts and start the day right. I use affirmations each day in front of a mirror and it really helps me to remember who I really want to be in life and what I want to focus on.
5. Have a Good Breakfast
A good breakfast is a great way to start your day. Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day and for good reason; it provides the energy we need to start the day and also provides us with essential vitamins and minerals. I have a smoothie or porridge as I have a tendency to get very hungry around mid-morning and I find both have a good slow release of energy. Experiment and find out what works for you and what you enjoy.
6. Be Prepared
Get as much ready for your day the night before. Make your lunch for the next day, get your clothes ready, write a to do list and do whatever you can to free yourself up for the next day so that you can concentrate on enjoying your morning and starting your day off well. This doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, but setting up some simple systems to prepare for the next day will make a big difference to your mornings. Leaving yourself plenty of time will help you start the day in a relaxed way, rather than in a rush or panic.
7. Create a Simple To Do List
I find creating a to do list each day keeps me focused and clear on what I need to do, but I really try to keep it simple and just write two or three big important tasks. Be realistic about what you need to get done and bear your schedule in mind. If we always try and get too much done we can feel like we’re never achieving enough. Keep it simple.
How do you start your day? What ways have you found to start your day on the right foot?
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true point about waking up early, I find I can get most of my work done early in the morning.
Absolutely Wasim, I’m the same. If I can get the most important work done early I really feel on a roll!
There’s an old saying that goes like this:
Early to bed,
Early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
I think it works two ways. I know I have a hard time getting up early. But once I do, I know i can achieve a couple of goals. If I have, I get pretty amped and it keeps me going with the idea “See, that wasn’t so hard!”
Discipline is really important for everyone. And sadly, it doesn’t come cheap.
Jen this is an excellent list!!
You are so right! I’m a morning person so for me the sooner the better. Relating to work, I wrap 6&7 together. Before I leave for the day, I put together a list of items that i know that i need to address or look at when i first get in. Nothing special just write them down on a yellow stickie. As I get ready for bed and ‘summarize’ my day in my head, i think of anything else i write them down on the notepad next to the bed.
Thanks for the great tips!
Thanks Dave! It’s great to hear what works for you. A little preparation and thinking ahead makes a huge difference doesn’t it?
I think you hit the nail on the head here, your list includes all the top things I can think of to kick start the day.
Something else that helps me from time to time is to do something creative like a crossword, puzzle, or art. It warms up the brain and it keeps me focused.
I really like your idea of doing something creative .. definately sounds like a good way to train your brain, I will try that!
Waking up early and having a good breakfast are definitely two important factors in starting my day, though I find eating a light, healthy meal works best. Anything too heavy and I feel sluggish which ultimately defeats my entire routine, is that just me?
I’m the same Rondal, porridge or a smoothie are my favourites. Diet is so important and as you point out getting your breakfast right helps you to feel on top form.
Good post. I start with prayer and early rising.
Thanks Jennifer and what a great way to start the day. 🙂
Wake up at 5am and do all of the above before 8am to be ready to go out the door.
You’re good Roberto! I’m not such an early riser but it’s great of you can do it!
I will give this a shot!
Great Stella! 🙂
Hmm so i must change a little my day plan. We have new year now, so it will be good to start, with this tips ;D
Thanks a lot.
Hope the tips help Jakub. 🙂 Happy New Year.
My mornings are usually disorganized, I believe this plan would be of a significant help to me, Jen. I’ll really much like to begin the year on a good note. Happy new year!
Lots of great points! The item about affirmations is really interesting. I once heard it phrased “we spend too much time listening to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves.” I know my thoughts often run rampant in the morning, especially if tired or stressed. It helps me to pause and acknowledge that I don’t have to own these thoughts. I can shift my focus to what is I know to be true, or read the Bible to gain God’s perspective on the issue.
“You can’t keep a bird from flying overhead, but you sure can keep it from building a nest in your hair!” – Martin Luther
moving out of bed is hard for me.thanks for the advice
Yes, Being an early riser is all well and good; However, if you are NOT a morning person and, therefore, errors occur resulting in errrrr mistakes in this early hour.
Quite simply, your mind is not fully “Booted-Up, if you will.
SM/GM and THe Green Team
I hope that I am making sense- I HAVE EARLY MORNING “INFO-OVERlOAD.”
Have a great day Jen – Great Article
It’s a great post and these are definitely the top few things for a great start of the day. I would however like to add one more, based on my personal experience. Start your day with exchanging greetings – lots of warm handshakes, good morning hi/hellos and smiles with the people around you with whom you are going to spend your entire day and It rejuvenates you.