We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and how you choose to spend your time will determine where you will be tomorrow, and every day for the rest of your life. If you wake up just giving yourself the exact amount of time that you need to get ready for work and then you go to work, skate by doing the bare minimum, go home and crack open a cold one, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more days pretty identical to that.
On the other hand, if you wake up every day with a purpose and make every one of your moves with strategic intention behind it, the results may not only surprise you, but they may make you feel alive.
How do I know if I’m going to achieve my goals? How do I know that I’m making progress? How can I work more efficiently? How do I take advantage of my time to make the most out of every day? These are all questions that people with goals tend to ask themselves on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are answers to these questions that can stop the curiosity from impeding your growth.
There are many different ways that people are able to make the most out of their days, and I base a lot of my routine around science and, well, what works for me. There are six things that I must do every day in order to claim the day as mine.
1) Stop waking up like an accident.
I can’t even stress how important this strategy is to having a successful day. Tonight before you go to sleep, figure out what time you need to wake up to give yourself plenty of time to avoid rushing around in the morning. Then, mentally prepare yourself for waking up at that time by reaffirming why exactly you are waking up at that time. It’s not enough to just think well, “I have to be at work at 9:00 am, so I better get up at 8:30 am.” Why are you going to work? What value and benefit will be reaped from waking up and going to work? Maybe you’re working to provide a life for your family, or maybe you just love to strive for achievement in your role. Regardless of the specifics, if you have any type of goal that you’re working towards, every single day needs to start with that vision.
2) Create a hustle list.
Write down 3-5 things you must do each day that, if completed, will progress you on your path towards reaching your goals. Your days can start feeling extremely monotonous if you’re simply going through the motions like a robot programmed solely to make it through the day unscathed (for some of you, this is a.k.a. not getting fired). When you start each day with your vision and reflect on why you’re about to do what you’re setting out to do today, and accompany this with your hustle list containing tasks that will put you that much closer to achieving your vision, you will inevitably make progress and potentially even cultivate a sense of meaning in every one of your days.
3) Exercise in the mornings.
This may not work for everyone, but there is scientific evidence backing this process of exercising early in the morning. When you kick-start your day by getting the blood flowing with either cardio, weight lifting, stretching, etc. your body will naturally release chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger a sense of happiness, positivity, and an overall higher sense of well-being in the body and mind. These feelings will not only help to get you through your day, but can also help you be more productive, efficient and creative.
Your body and mind are delicate ecosystems. It’s not enough to just take care of one of the two. Feed your mind the ingredients it needs to flourish, and you will be fortunate enough to reap the rewards. Whether it’s helping take the edge off when you’re feeling stressed, increasing your sense of self-awareness, or simply optimizing your positivity for the day, meditation has been scientifically linked to countless health and wellness benefits. When looking for the right way to begin meditating, there are multiple apps that you can find in the app store. I sat down to talk with the CEO of an RIA (Registered Investment Advisory) firm, and she personally recommended Headspace. I’ve been using and loving it ever since. Try and find anywhere from 3-10 minutes a day to regain your sense of self-awareness and even sharpen your focus to cultivate sustainable energy for the long haul.
5) Watch your eating habits.
We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat,” but does this phrase actually hold any true meaning? Yes! Absolutely! If you feed your body greasy junk food, you’ll most likely be feeling rather sluggish, tired and lazy after doing so. On the other hand, if you feed your body the sustenance it craves that optimize energy levels, focus, performance, happiness, etc. you may feel like a completely different person. There are many different foods that are known to have significant health and well-being benefits, and even just adding a lemon squeeze to your water can give you a boost of energy. Try adding foods like avocado and almonds to your diet to deter your hunger by providing your body with healthy fats. Different types of fruit have also been shown to have significant health benefits (just make sure to manage your portion sizes). Blueberries are known for a multitude of health benefits, including improvements to our memory, cognition and even intelligence.
6) Be thankful for what you have – for being alive.
When you learn to appreciate the little things in life, a whole new world will open up to you; one that is filled with positivity and happiness. This type of thinking can actually even make you feel more energized throughout the day. Spending your time focusing on the negatives will eat you alive. No matter who you are, where you are in your life right now, or what you’re going through, there’s someone else out there who has it 10x worse. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re able to block out the external noise and distractions of everyday life, and simply appreciate life itself. I’m finding that this single strategy is fundamental in providing the fuel that I need to propel myself through each and every day with a smile on my face and passion in my heart.
If you’re fortunate enough to be alive and reading this right now, you’ve been granted the beautiful gift of life. Go out and make the most of it. Don’t be that person that looks back, furious and disappointed for not taking advantage and control of your one and only life.