Here’s how to seize the day, every day…
1. Prepare For The Day
Do whatever you can to make tomorrow morning smoother. It’s much easier to decide what you’re going to wear at 9pm than it is at 5am, so set our work and exercise clothes before you go to bed. Same goes for: packing phones, tablets, computer equipment and chargers; preparing breakfast and coffee materials and making your lunch; ensuring your wallet, keys and transportation passes are together in an accessible and obvious place. The less you have to think about and do in the morning, the less daunting it is to get up and get into the day.
2. Power Down Properly
How you bed down each night has a lot to do with how you wake up. Crash out on the couch drunk and you’ll be unlikely to have any sort of spring in your step the next day. Same goes if you’re tossing and turning at night because you’ve had caffeine too close to bed time. So be sensible with both. Waking up energised and ready to rip into the day will be easier if you go to sleep at a reasonable hour and after a day that has included exercise, moderate caffeine intake and little or no alcohol. An hour before you want to go to sleep, power down your phone, tablet, laptop and TV because the blue light given off by screens interferes with our bodies’ production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Instead, read a book to relax.
3. Picture Tomorrow Positively
Before you go to sleep, tell yourself what you’re going to do tomorrow, right down to the time and duration you’ll spend on each activity. So you might visualise the start of your day like this: wake at 5; dress in workout clothes; have coffee; hit gym at 5:30, work out until 6:30, shower and change by 6:45, get into the office at 7:00, etc. Incorporating this sort of thought process —along with maintaining detailed to-do lists of what you want to achieve on a daily, weekly and yearly scale — “programs” your mind and reduces pressure related to decision-making processes. You know exactly what you have to do. Now you just need to do it.
4. Be Alarmed
You don’t absolutely need to get up early to be motivated and a high achiever. But it sure helps, particularly if you want to incorporate exercise into your daily routine while maintaining your usual workload, social life and relaxation time. Getting up early also confers a psychological advantage: you feel as though you’re ahead of most of society, seizing the day while those slackers slumber on. To ensure you get up early, buy an alarm clock and place it far enough from your bed so that you have to get up and moving to turn it off. By going old school on this, you remove the “need” to have your phone by your bedside and do away with the temptation to check it when you should be avoiding sleep-disturbing blue light. By not being able to reach out and hit the snooze button, you force yourself out from under the blankets. Once your feet have actually hit the floor, it’s much easier to actually launch into the day, especially as the above steps mean you know the flow of how it’s going to go. If you’re not an early bird naturally, ease yourself into earlier starts on a weekend. For instance, if you set an alarm for 6:30am on Saturday and then 6:00am on Sunday, by Monday a 5:30am start won’t be as much of a shock to the system. Get up early consistently for a few days and your mind and body will adjust so that you wake up easier—or even wake up naturally just before the alarm. Leaving the curtains slightly open also helps, allowing morning light to do its part to bring you out of sleep gently.
5. Reward Yourself
It’s easier to get up and feel great about it if you’ve got things to look forward to. Love good coffee? Investing in an espresso machine will give you more reason to bounce out of bed than a dreary cup of instant muck. Same goes for quality products in your bathroom and clothes and shoes that makes you feel and look good when you step out the door. Music can also be a great motivator — having your most upbeat playlist ready in the bathroom, bedroom, lounge, car and/or office can provide an energetic soundtrack to keep you moving.
6. Take Stock
Towards the end of the day, do an audit of what you got done. If you have a physical checklist (hint: you should) then tick or cross off what you’ve achieved. The process feels great, motivates you to do more and acts as a score sheet of your progress. Don’t feel too bad about things that didn’t get done. Just carry them over to the next day and promise yourself to do better.