here's how to begin a great day

Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks “I hope I have a crappy day today.”  On the other hand, a lot of people wake up and launch into the day with no plan, other than reacting to their schedule and what life throws at them. This is not a good strategy for success.  Basically, they’re planning to have a crappy day.

Life is made up of days.  If you want to live a meaningful life, you have to live each day like it really matters, because it does! You have this one day in front of you, so make it a great day, a memorable day, and then this day becomes a template for another good day.

To have a great day, it really makes a difference to start your day right: mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically, because you are all of these things.  So I’m going to suggest a routine.

This is a long-ish routine, and I realize that you can’t do this every day.  There are days you have to jump out of bed and run out the door, and there are days you stayed up late the night before having fun with family and friends, and it was totally worth it.

But as often as possible, if you follow this morning routine, you will find your mind is clearer, your mood is better, your energy is steadier, and your patience with people lasts longer.  When everyone around you is biting each other’s heads off and running around like it’s the end of the world, you will be calm and rational.  You will have perspective and peace.

You will get to the end of the day, and because you took the time to begin your day right, you will look back and say “Today was a good day.”

So here’s my script for a good morning:

  • Wake up at least two hours before you need to leave.
  • Drink a big glass of water.  Even better, add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of cayenne.
  • Go outside and look at the sky.  Thank God for another day of life.  Even if it’s the depth of winter, I go out on the porch for a few minutes and breathe in the fresh air.  When it’s warm, I do my morning journaling and devotion outside on the porch.  It’s life-giving and centering.

Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude. Louie Schwartzberg

  • Write in a journal.  Write down your dreams if you can remember them, thoughts about the previous day, and hopes for the coming day.  Brain expert Jim Kwik says it’s important to remember your dreams because your brain is solving problems all night. A dream may hold a solution to a thorny problem, channeled from your subconscious mind.  And sometimes, I’m sure God is speaking to me through a dream.
  • Write down what you’re grateful for.  “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for,” Zig Ziglar said.  And, not to put too fine a point on it, but if you’re not grateful for what you have, why should God give you more?
  • Read the Bible.  My pastor’s mantra (Brett Fuller of Grace Covenant Church, check it out) is “Read your Bible every day.” About a year ago, I started a commitment to read two pages apiece from the Old Testament, the Wisdom books, the Gospels, and the Epistles every morning.  Most mornings I do it.  I can’t begin to describe the depth of wisdom and perspective I’ve gained from this daily habit, and also my prayers are so much richer and deeper.  Try it!
  • Pray. Sit with the Father for a few minutes and seek His will for your life.  Repent for the things you’ve done wrong, thank Him for everything He has done for you, pray for the people in your life, and seek wisdom for everything you are going to face today. You are going into battle, and prayer is your armor.  Don’t leave home without it!
  • Work out.  I do the same yoga DVD every day and I never get tired of it, but that’s me.  (Element 5-Day Yoga, highly recommend) Maybe you do better with a walk or a run, or lifting weights or doing Pilates. Whatever floats your boat.  Even a short workout first thing in the morning improves your mood, your creativity, your energy level, and your metabolism.

So that’s it, that’s the whole routine.  It can take me up to two hours, especially if I linger in any of the areas, which is not a bad thing. You could probably do all this in an hour if you’re more disciplined with your time. The other thing I do is make a big protein smoothie which I might drink while I’m journaling and reading.

The more I do this routine, the more I love it.  In fact, morning is my favorite time of day, and I hope it becomes yours!

Thanks for reading, and God bless!

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