Sometimes, I have trouble starting my day off right. One thing I have discovered as I become more self-aware of what is happening within me and around me is that if a day doesn’t get off to a good start, it very rarely finishes as a good day.
Once a day gets away from us, we tend to go into survival mode. And a day can easily get away from us unless we consciously take the time to focus our priorities first thing each morning.
While listening to a Matthew Kelly talk, I found some clarity on my morning routine.
Approach life strategically
Matthew spoke about how we need to stop “stumbling through life.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus says,
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” –John 10:10
The idea of an “abundant life” is a nice thought, but many of us experience just the opposite.
Sometimes we need to take a step back, and take a look at who we are, where we are, and what we are doing. By taking a quick audit of where we place our energy and how we spend our time, we can make adjustments that can radically change our life. As Matthew often says, “our lives change when our habits change.” Seriously, stop and think about it. Life is a collection of days, and some days are better than others. This may seem obvious, and so we perhaps don’t question it. But, why are some days better than others?
How do your best days begin?
Most people don’t know. They might have a hunch, but they have simply never thought about it. If you look back on the past 90 days, some days are great, most days are average and others were pretty terrible. When you review those previous 90 days, there is a pretty good chance that if you start a day in a certain way, you have a massive influence on whether it is going to be one of those better days or one of those not so good days.
How my best days begin
After some serious thought, I discovered that my best days begin when I get to bed at a decent time the night before. Getting a good night’s sleep allows me to get up early and greet the day. Love it or hate it, but I’ve found that utilizing the morning hours before work is one of the keys to a successful and healthy lifestyle. (Note: I’m still working on this one. Believe me, getting up early stinks and it is a constant challenge to keep this habit going. However the rewards are well worth it.)
On these days, I actually eat breakfast and have a small window of time to spend with Nicole before she leaves for work. Also, when I wake up early I can spend time in prayer and conversation with the Lord. I have found that I usually have a spiritual routine. I read the daily scriptures from Regnum Christi and try to renew my daily commitment to prayer. Who knew that just by sitting in my lazy boy with a cup of coffee and talking to God would bring focus to my day?
Another way my best days began is getting to the office early. When I say early I mean about 7:30 AM. Once I’m at work, I intentionally wait to check my email until about an hour after I’m there. Instead, I spend some time just organizing my day. I map out my schedule and get a clear understanding of my top tasks for the day. (Recommended reading: 5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM)
It’s all about making it routine
Now that I have this knowledge, I have to put it to use. This hardest part is consistency. However, knowing that a day that doesn’t start well tends not to end well is a pretty good motivator.
So, I urge you to spend some time in reflection. Step back and ask yourself, “How do my best days begin?” Make some notes and put it in action. After all, life moves pretty fast… if you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Share “how your best days begin” in the comments below.
Image credit: jonapark