Getting a good start in the morning is the difference between having a mentally and physically good day and a terrible day. Unfortunately, starting your day off the right way isn’t as easy as it sounds. If it was, we’d all be doing it well. Like most things in life, having a successful start to the day begins with good habits. So consider doing the following, so that you can have a great start every day…
- Remember That Your Morning Actually Starts the Night Before: Many of us wake up feeling more tired than when we went to sleep. Why? We aren’t getting enough of it! Why not go to bed at 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.? There is nothing on television that is worth losing sleep over. Go to bed early and read something inspirational before you drift off. That is the way to give your body those 8 or 9 hours of peaceful rest that it so desperately needs.
- Choose What You Listen to Carefully: We have a lot of choices in the morning as to what we can listen to. There are, of course, the TV and radio news shows, but frankly, they are noisy and not terribly edifying. Instead, try listening to soothing music in the morning or an inspirational audio book during your commute. Or just enjoy the silence and give your mind some time to rest before you start the day.
- Eat Well: Most of what they sell for breakfast in the grocery store is highly processed and full of sugar. The more you can stay away from processed foods in the morning, the better you will feel throughout the day. Consider eating oatmeal or a scrambled egg with toast for breakfast. Eating something wholesome and warm in the morning feels so much better.
- Exercise: We all have different schedules in the morning. Some of us work from home and have a very flexible schedule. Others have to be on the road quite early. Regardless, try to do at least some amount of exercise every morning. It may be as simple as doing 20 sit-ups and 20 push-ups. Or if you have more time, you may be able to take a walk outside or ride on your exercise bike for 30 minutes. When it comes to exercise, every little bit counts. As an added benefit, exercising in the morning will rev up your metabolism for the rest of the day.
- Get Up Earlier Than Necessary: There is nothing worse than rushing in the morning. It is a recipe for being stressed out and frustrated for the rest of the day. Get up early enough so that you can (a) have a relaxed breakfast, (b) get out the door with 15 minutes to spare, and (c) leave your home with the bed made and the breakfast dishes cleaned up. Not only will you start your day in a relaxed fashion, but you’ll return to a home that is tidy and clean.
- Think the “Right” Thoughts: If you are under stress, mornings may be your time to worry. Whenever thoughts creep into your mind like, “I won’t be able to handle today,” or “I’m afraid that I’ll fail,” instead remember Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Remind yourself that if you simply do your best each day, God will take care of the rest.
- Give Thanks: You woke up to another day. At some point, that won’t happen. So, before you even get out of bed, give silent thanks for another day on this earth. Then give thanks for the people who are most important to you. Give thanks for your food, shelter and clothing. Those may sound like simple things to be thankful for. However, realize that there are many people on this earth who would love to have the very things that you take for granted. Starting your day in gratitude will give you the right attitude for the rest of your day.
- Pray: Your morning prayer can be short or long. The amount of time doesn’t matter. Rather, what is important is to start your day with God. Through prayer, we remember that we are God’s children, and we are called to hold ourselves to His standards (not the standards of the world). By starting our day in prayer, our behavior for the rest of the day hopefully will be more patient, less judgmental and kinder.
- Set Small Goals for the Day: If you are a list person, you may write your goals for the day on paper. If you are a techie, you may put them on your phone. Either way, it is good to jot down some small goals each day that you reasonably can complete. Setting daily goals is the way to ensure that your day is spent largely meeting your priorities – not solely the priorities of others.
- Set Your Mind in A Positive Direction: Make a decision every morning that you are going to remain focused on the positive, no matter what comes your way. Admittedly, that is hard. On occasion, we are surprised by bad news. Or we receive a frustrating email or phone call. Or someone is rude to us. The best thing you can do is to make a decision at the start of each day that you aren’t going to let anything ruffle your feathers. Believe it or not, that is a choice we make not just in the morning, but every moment of every day.
Starting our days the “right way” is the key to having a lifetime of days that are relaxed and happy. But that won’t just happen. You have to employ good habits every morning (and even the night before!). Having good days is a decision that we make every day before we even walk out the door.