How to set your 2018 on fire: Part 14 of 18
14. Change your world by making your bed
How we start and close the day has a huge impact on happiness and wellness levels. A few small tweaks can make a huge difference to how you feel about your day, your productivity levels and your mood. Taking a few minutes to review your morning and evening routine is a fast wellness-booster. The key, I think, is to be realistic about your life. So many of the articles and memes on this exhaust me just reading them. You know the ones — they trill something like, “Just 19 simple steps to start your day: Journal for 15 minutes, meditate for 20 minutes, make a delicious fresh fruit breakfast with chia in it, stretch with an easy 10-minute yoga routine, take a moment to just breeeeeeathe, have a cold shower to invigorate the immune system, listen to a mind-expanding podcast”, and so on. I am sure I am not the only one hearing the voice in my head saying “Yeah, RIGHT”. To make all that good stuff happen I’d have to start my morning routine at 3am!
Those 19 point lists will foster nothing but feelings of inadequacy and guilt. You need to work with your personal circumstances and body clock to optimise what is genuinely realistic to tweak for you. If the goal is not to reach instagrammable levels of perfection, but to start and finish your day feeling a little calmer, a little less stressed, and with more appreciation and ease, then keep it simple. Here are a two tiny tweaks you could incorporate without drama.
1. Admiral William H. McRaven, a US Navy Seal, has a great two-minute motivational talk (Google it) on “changing the world by making your bed”. A simple but mundane task, it means you have accomplished the first task of the day early. It gives you a small sense of pride, and creates the momentum to achieve the next task. As he so eloquently demonstrates, the little things in life matter: when we do the small things right we are more likely to do the big things right. Making your bed is a two-minute investment, tops (unless you have a serious scatter cushion habit), that will start your day with purpose and discipline.
2. Use your teeth-cleaning routine in the morning to anchor in some positivity. This takes exactly NO additional time, but will also set your day off on the right foot. While you are brushing, ask yourself the simple question, “What would I like to go RIGHT today?” Actively force your mind to start the day worry-free and focus on all the opportunities for connection and productivity you have coming up.
Take a moment to review your regular morning routine. It might (if you are honest with yourself) be “hit snooze four times” (time investment 36 minutes) and “noodle on Facebook first thing” (12 minutes). In which case, a quick refresh is in order. These two tips, one physical, one mental, can be incorporated into your life no matter how busy you are, starting each day with purpose and positivity.
More columns in this series
- See How to set your 2018 on fire: Part 1
- Part 2: I will face forward
- Part 3: In 2018 my body will move my mind
- Part 4: In 2018 I will speak up, not eat up
- Part 5: In 2018 I will (sometimes) accept the unacceptable
- Part 6: I will set boundaries around my phone
- Part 7: I will be happily less than perfect
- Part 8: Let them do them. You do you.
- Part 9: I will claim my power
- Part 10: I will be my own cheerleader
- Part 11: I will say something when there is nothing that can be said
- Part 12: I will be a deep listener
- Part 13: I will be mindful of the stories I tell myself
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing