We all have days when we wake up and feel as if we can handle whatever comes our way as well as days when (for no apparent reason) we feel the heaviness of the day-to-day. It's part of being human. The key to making most of your days in the positive category is learning how to "win" your day.
Winning your day is an intentional daily practice of locking in a feeling of optimism and purpose at the beginning of your day, which typically sets the tone for the rest of your day. Successfully repeating this process over the long-term will reap immeasurable results.
Discovering the best way to win your day is a personal endeavor because we all don't respond in the same way to the same things. But learning how to win your day is critical to your day-to-day happiness, your long-term success, and your ability to make the most positive and meaningful impact during your life.
Over the past seven months I've been more intentional and consistent about self-betterment than ever before, and here is what I've concluded about winning my days:
- Winning my day is more in my control than I previously thought.
- Winning my day is more important than I realized.
- Winning my day is the key to achieving long-term results.
- Winning my day takes discipline, planning, and intention.
- Winning my day is so worth the effort.
What You Will Learn In This Post
In this post, I will share 15 possible ideas to help you win your day. I share these ideas because I've noticed that when I'm intentional about winning my day, it flows better in every way. I feel a stronger sense of general well being and purpose, which brings about the actions that enable me to move closer to my vision.
Before I get into the 15 ideas, I want to stress how important it is to have a vision of where you want to head in the future. This vision should be detailed and involve how you want to see yourself in the future and what you are aiming to accomplish. By winning your day, you will not only feel a better sense of well being but also guide yourself in the direction of your vision.
I suggest trying the ideas below that resonate with you as well as adding what else works for you so you can ultimately come up with your own list of best ideas. Here we go ...
The Night Before
1. Winning your day starts the night before. The best results I've experienced with winning my day hinge upon getting up early (even better, before you have to respond to anyone), but being able to rise early means getting enough sleep. The amount of sleep I need to feel rested is seven hours, but that does vary from person to person. Once you begin to experience the benefits of winning your day, the night before you'll start to look forward to rising early, and you'll become more diligent about getting to bed on time. When I don't get enough sleep and still try to get up early, I really feel the difference.
2. End your day with 1) a request to your subconscious and 2) with gratitude. As you go to bed, it's always a good idea to use that time before sleeping to intentionally think about a few things. First, think about something you'd like to accomplish or a problem you'd like to solve tomorrow or in the near future to move you closer to your vision. This will enable your subconscious mind to start working on those things right away and what you may find is that as you go about your day, solutions and ideas will come to you-- so magical. Thomas Edison was known to have said, "Never go to bed without a request to your subconscious." and being that Edison holds 2,332 patents worldwide, he must've had good results with this idea. Finally, close out your day with a little gratitude by thinking about all of your blessings and feeling grateful.
"Never go to bed without a request to your subconscious." -Thomas Edison
Things To Do Upon Waking
3. Get up earlier than you have to. From my experience, I have found there is something very powerful and positive about building in a quiet "bumper" of time into the front end of my day. This means I can start my day without feeling rushed, and I have time to think about exactly what I want to accomplish. It also provides time to "gel" my mindset for the day by practicing some mindfulness techniques. This time has proven to be so worthwhile and enjoyable that I actually look forward to getting up in the morning.
4. But first, coffee (or tea.) I set my coffee maker up the night before and the first thing I do in the morning is turning it on to brew. It's a great way to kick off igniting your senses for the day. And a hot, fresh and unrushed cup first thing in the morning is comforting. All of these positive associations further increase the likelihood of winning your day and the continuation of the routine.
5. Second, light a candle. Set a peaceful and relaxing vibe and get some fragrant scents filling the room as you take your first few sips of coffee. Most likely, this is the most rested and peaceful window of time you'll have during your day, so take advantage of it. And lighting a fragrant candle continues to wake up your senses.
6. Meditate, even if only for 10 minutes. I have always wanted to have a meditation routine, but I never figured out how to work it into my day. What I've come to realize is that this is a perfect time because you're rested, no one needs you, and the vibe is right. What works for me is having my headphones plugged into my computer when I wake up. The night before, I shut my computer down and plug in my headphones so when I wake up, I'm not distracted by open tabs on my computer. This gives you a sense of a fresh start to the day and you are training yourself and your mind not to react to external stimuli before you've gotten in your meditation. If you are new to meditation, I suggest initially trying a guided meditation.
7. Next, watch a motivational YouTube video and/or listen to a favorite energizing song. After coming out of meditation, I feel relaxed and primed for the day, and I've found that listening to a motivating song or YouTube video gives an extra boost to my energy. Did you know you can create a playlist of videos in your YouTube account so you can access your favorites quickly?
8. Look at your schedule & plan your day. Next, I look at what have on my calendar and what my goals are to accomplish that day. I take out a blank index card and on the left side, I write my schedule and what I need to accomplish during the day (the next activity to work toward my vision, an activity to make me stronger (gym), appointments, and errands), and on the right side, I write what I have going on in the late afternoon and evening (driving kids to practice, kids' sports, what's for dinner, etc.). Sometimes I write this out the night before and in the morning I just review it. In fact, I think it's probably better to write this out the night before, depending on whether you have time to do so.
9. Eat 25-30 grams of protein within the first hour. Now that I have my action plan in place, it's time to eat a protein-filled breakfast. Depending on whether or not I plan on going to the gym, I have either a protein shake or a veggie omelet, 1/4 cup of unsalted nuts, and a glass of water. Eating a good breakfast gets your metabolism going!
10. Make your bed & get ready for your day. I'm a big believer that making my bed every day is a good idea. It gives me an initial sense of accomplishment and is a cue to myself that I'm officially in daytime mode.
Things You Can Do As You Go About Your Day
11. Get out in nature every day, even if only for a few minutes. When we get out in nature, we immerse ourselves in a stress-free zone and realign our energy. This is such a powerful practice, especially as we go about our day and start to feel worn down. Living so close to the beach, sometimes I park my car, walk up to hear the sounds of the crashing waves and birds, feel the sun and wind on my skin, and take a few deep breaths. I always feel refreshed after doing this. Find some close by places where you can access nature in its purest form and soak it up every day, even if only for a few minutes. Be as present as possible so your senses can soak up the sights, sounds, and sensations.
12. Rampage of Gratitude & Appreciation. I first learned about the concept of the rampage of gratitude and appreciation from Donna Sica of Soulful Awakenings. Donna taught us to use this practice when, for example, stopped at a stop light or in line at the food store. When you find yourself in situations when you are waiting and may even feel a bit of angst bubble up, look around and think of all you have to be grateful for in that setting, no matter how small. In the food store, for example, you might be grateful for the trucks that delivered the fresh produce. You might be thankful for the employees who stocked the food on the shelves overnight. At a stop light, you might be grateful for some beautiful landscaping you see out the window. You might be grateful for the stop lights that enable traffic to flow smoothly. You get the idea. Angst and gratitude can't coexist so when you find yourself feeling angst, flip the situation on its head and acknowledge how you're grateful for what's right in front of you.
13. Be present in whatever you are doing. In a world that applauds multi-tasking, this can be a new concept. We think, "I'll check my email when I walk my dog" or our minds wander to all we have to get done while washing the dishes. This creates mental fatigue and anxiety. Instead, be present with your dog while you walk him and enjoy the sound and feel of running water as you clean the kitchen. You will carry a stronger sense of gratitude with you throughout your day, leaving you more mentally resilient for whatever is coming next in your day.
14. Do something every day that brings you joy. Whether it's that time you spend in nature or a latte with a good book, don't forget about yourself. Remembering yourself is not selfish because ultimately you'll feel less resentment and have more energy for others. I call it "reset" time.
15. Keep your vision in mind and make progress every day. Again, have a vision for where you are going, who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. Keep it alive by taking small steps toward it every day. As Tony Robbins frequently says, "progress creates happiness" so by winning your day and making incremental progress, you set yourself up for happiness along your journey.
Once we become more intentional and disciplined about winning our days, we soon realize how much control we have over how we feel and we start to experience fewer "bad" days. This new pattern helps us enjoy life in the short term and work toward our vision in the long term. Sure, it takes some planning, awareness, and discipline at first, but once you figure out the best ways to win your day, it becomes enjoyable and second nature.