“DUHHH-na-na-na… na na!” The dreaded noise triggers you from a dreamy state into the harsh reality of a full day ahead of you. Eyes shut, you paw over to the alarm and click a button to shut it up. Only five minutes longer you think, trying to resume where you left off in your dream.
In this drowsy condition, the only thing giving you enough motivation to leave your comfy bed for the day ahead is the “To Do” list awaiting you (that, or fear of reporting late to your boss). However, starting the day reactively has a lot of negative effects.
If you are woken up by someone, you start your day reacting to them.
When you spend your waking moments scrolling through social media, you start your morning caught up in someone else’s life.
When your morning consists of scrambling to get ready so you get to work on time, you are reacting to the fear of disappointing someone.
If you spend your morning answering emails, someone else is defining your day.
In the words of a sermon from Highland Park United Methodist Church, “You are starting your day reacting, which will put you into a pattern of reaction for the rest of the day.”
In order to gain control of your day and essentially your life, you need to reconsider how you are spending the first 15 minutes of your day. It is proven that these first few minutes set the tone for your entire day. So, why start it on someone else’s terms? Why start it grouchily? Why start it with such hesitation?
Starting your day proactively and intentionally helps you live a life with purpose. In following these five simple steps, you will reap the benefits of a more positive mindset.
1. Get Up With Gratitude
Instead of thinking of all you need to start your day, try beginning with reflecting on all you have. Showing thankfulness and appreciation not only betters your relationships with others and yourself, but has benefits for your mental health and wellbeing. Practicing gratitude can be as easy as noticing the little things in life, like flowers blooming, or journaling a list of things you’re grateful for when you wake up. This will promote positive emotions, relish good experiences, help deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
2. Self-Care Satisfaction
Taking care of yourself in the morning seems like common sense. Of course I am going to brush my teeth, do my hair, and get dressed, right? We all think so. However, it is the first thing to go the minute we are in a rush.
Self-care can be as simple as wearing an outfit you feel great in, washing your face, or spraying some perfume. Yet, in a national survey done by Mental Health First Aid,Americans cited benefits of self-care as great as: enhanced self confidence (64%), increased productivity (67%), and happiness (71%).
3. Never Run Out of Resources
Everyone has that thing — that silly little drink that you go to bed thinking about (like a Vanilla Oat Latte or a cup of lemon water), banana bread they indulge for breakfast, or their jam-session on the commute. Whatever yours may be, make sure you stay stocked. There is nothing worse than an aspect of your routine falling short. Keeping up with whatever your “thing” may be is a simple solution to an effective day. When you have something to look forward to, it keeps you energized and motivated for the day.
4. “Mindset” Without Setting It Is Simply Just In Your Mind
How are you approaching your “to-do” list? Do you see it as impactful? Do you see it as having greater purpose, or do you think of it as meaningless? Are you simply trying to just “get through” the day?
Demir Bentley, a Forbes Council Member, says that “just getting through another day” isn’t enough. You must give meaning to what you are doing. Bentley achieves this by constantly setting high goals for himself. He says this mantra every morning: “Every conversation today is a chance for transformation, and I take that responsibility as a sacred obligation.” In doing so, his conversations have more intention and are more transformative, letting him see his day as more important.
5. Power of Prayer
The sermon done by Highland Park Methodist Church poses this question: What if the first of your 35,000 decisions, the first minute of the rest of your day, was a time for you to reflect on Scripture and to pray? In giving God the first 15 minutes of your day, you are dedicating your day to Him. Challenge yourself to ask God in the mornings, “How can I best serve you today? How will I look like you today?” In doing so, it will set a greater perspective. You will live your day on a mission with a bigger purpose, feel like you aren’t alone, and walk like Jesus does.
Taking these 5 steps towards a more mindful morning will integrate into many aspects of your life, like your relationships, your self-image, and your productivity. It can even create an entire new mindset on life: one more optimistic and determined. Challenge yourself to these simple 5 steps and reap the benefits of a more full life.
“I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full” John 10:10
Riley Hostutler is a 21-year-old experience junkie, who says yes to everything from managing a freelance job while in college to moving to Europe alone for three months. Her strengths include writing. Her weaknesses include sports. She is a full-time student studying creative advertising and marketing at the University of Kentucky. There, she is also the editor of the university’s fashion and lifestyle magazine. In her free time, she enjoys publishing her own work on her blog, rileyhostutler.com, and has every intention of making a full-time career out of writing once she graduates.