6 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Morning for a Happier, More Productive Day
Just a few minutes of self-inquiry is all you need to set the day up for your success.
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You want today (and every day) to be awesome. I do, too. So how do we get there? While there are tons of different morning routines that can get your internal motor going and no magic formula that's going to work for everybody, a great day is all about the mindset you start out with. So ask yourself these questions as soon as you can after waking up:
1. What's worth getting exhausted for?
If you're not willing to put the last of your strength and endurance into an activity, it probably means that that activity doesn't fully align with your vision or priorities. Try to eliminate what you don't have a sense of purpose for from your schedule by asking yourself if you'd regret not spending that time on something else.
2. How do I feel?
One of the biggest traps people fall into all over the world is getting up and letting a sense of obligation override their sense of physical and mental self-awareness. They focus on what they have to do, not what they need, and so they start the day in self-abuse rather than reasonable, healthy self-care. Acknowledge where you are in the moment and adjust your behavior--and calendar, if necessary--accordingly.
3. Which individuals can I connect to?
Even if we're introverts, we need to have a sense of social connection to support our sense of self-worth, security and happiness. Asking this question helps you avoid unintended isolation through work and can get you not only to strengthen existing bonds, but to explore new ones. You might see opportunities to help others and do good that you'd otherwise miss. Try to connect to someone different every day or to have deeper conversations with those you know.
4. How do I want this day to go?
Sure, you want it to go "well", but what does that mean? Get specific. Leave room for a little flexibility, of course (life requires it), but you're ultimately the captain of your ship. Paint a picture in your mind of your ideal pace, conversations, accomplishments, etc. Once you have that concept and clarity in your head, you can think about--and go get or set up--what might be necessary to make the vision reality.
5. What do I regret about yesterday?
There are two highly positive reasons to ask this of yourself. The first reason is so that you give yourself the opportunity to consider what happened at an appropriate time and don't have it popping into your head distracting you later through the day. This is known as intentional rumination. The second reason is to encourage yourself to learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself why what happened didn't make you happy and what you'd do differently. Then make an actionable behavior modification plan you can resolve to stick to.
6. What good news is there?
Yes, there are awful things happening in the world we should try to rectify. But in the face of those tragedies and difficulties, we need to know that not everything is dark. Without that understanding, it's easy to lose hope and get lost in the feeling like we'll never make it. Find at least one good thing on your TV or online (try these good news sites, for example), talk to your loved ones about the positives in their lives or reiterate the core message of your faith to yourself.
You're welcome to add more to this list, of course, but these are a good foundation for setting the day on the right track. And if you happen to derail for a moment, just remember. It's one moment. The rest of the day still is for the taking. Pause. Reset. Don't let yourself spiral down. You're way too busy and valuable for that.