We all know those people that seem to be happy all the time. Always smiling, always energetic and excited, they are the ones that are usually envied while everyone else is still half asleep at 7am. It is easy to blame bad genetics or circumstances for a lack of energy and happiness, but the truth is, a great day starts with you.
In fact, your ability to master your body and mind determines the quality of your day. Period. It´s not circumstances or “luck” that decide whether you will have a great day or not. These things surely influence your mood throughout the day, but they do not determine it. Your attitude does.
Now, we have all heard the advice to look at the glass as half full and not half empty, and while that is certainly a good idea, it is usually not enough to make your day great.
When you feel tired and things aren´t going the way you want them to go, it is easy to give in to frustration, sadness, or anger. However, all of these emotions are just temporary fixes and definitively take away from the quality of your life. The happiest and most successful people on earth know that, and use strategies every day to make sure that they have a great day, no matter what happens on the outside.
Here are the top 5 strategies you can use to make your day amazing:
1. DECIDE THAT YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT DAY!
This one may sound simplistic, but it can be truly helpful when you use it correctly. No one decides your attitude other than you, and the attitude you have every day will cause your day to be great or miserable. Have you ever decided right after waking up that you would have an amazing day, no matter what? If not, you should definitely give it a try! Decide that you will enjoy your day regardless of what happens on the outside, and just focus on staying positive on the inside. If someone asks you how you are, don´t just mumble “okay” or “good”. Say “I am great” with as much enthusiasm as you can muster. You will realize that if you do this several times, you will actually feel better!
So, how great will your day be today?
2. STRENGTHEN YOUR BODY EVERY DAY.
There is a feedback loop between your mind and your body. If you feel great physically, chances are you will also feel great mentally. Similarly, if you are tired and your whole body is aching, you also won´t feel very happy and excited for your life. It is therefore crucial that you take care of your body as well as your mind if you want to live a great life.
Taking care of your body is mainly about two things: Nutrition and exercise. If you do both of them correctly, you will have more energy and also feel better. If you don´t, expect to have less energy and feel bad physically and mentally.
Try to do something every day. Whether it is running, swimming, biking, or just a walk around the block, do something every day to activate your body and make it stronger.
3. MEDITATION AND VISUALIZATION
Whole books have been written on the topic of meditation, so I won´t go into detail here. However, let me just point out that if you want to reach your full potential in life, some form of meditation is a must! Whether it is through prayer, visualization, or just sitting still, developing your ability to focus and become aware of your thoughts is invaluable. After all, there is a reason why many of the happiest and most successful people suggest meditation!
The problem with meditation is, you don´t see any direct results. You don´t start today and master it tomorrow. It takes a long time of deliberate practice to get better at it, let alone reach a level that one could call satisfying. Progress is slow at first, so it is easy to give up.
I encourage you to give meditation a try, at least for 30 days. If afterwards, you feel like you don´t need it, you can still quit and only “wasted” a few hours of your life. However, I do believe that after you have done it for that amount of time, you will start to see the benefits of meditation and make it a life-long habit.
First of all, expect to be bad in the beginning. Your thoughts will be drifting around and going literally anywhere except your breath or whatever else you decide to focus on. That´s normal in the beginning, so don´t fight it or become discouraged. Instead, anytime you notice your thoughts drifting away, bring back your focus.
Secondly, start small. One of the biggest mistakes I made years ago when I failed to make meditation a daily practice was to just jump in and do it for 20 minutes every day. Because you don´t get any immediate results but have to use so much willpower in the beginning, it was easy for me to give up. Only after I learned how to build habits successfully did I realize what I had to do: Take it one minute at a time. After all, anyone can meditate for one minute, right?
When you are trying to build a new habit, you are not just doing that by grinding out more and more minutes, but rather, you make something a habit by simply repeating it often enough. Sure, meditating for one minute won´t do much good for you. But if you have done this for a few days, how hard is to go up to two minutes? Or three? You can increase the time every few days without even having to struggle with it! Just make sure you do something every day, even if it´s just a minute.
Lastly, I would advise you not to get caught up in the “how” too much. There are dozens of things you could focus on, from the cloths you wear over the exact position to be in to the right way to do it. And those are all great questions. However, in the beginning, they are the wrong ones. When you are just starting out, it doesn´t matter how exactly you sit or even if you are doing it the best way possible. All that matters is that you do it! Build the habit of meditating first, and then focus on the details.
Another great way to supercharge your day is to visualize your ideal day. See yourself succeeding in everything you do, handling difficult situations successfully, and loving and enjoying your day. This might sound silly at first, but give it a try, and you will find that this exercise will actually prime your mind to feel and behave the way you visualized it.
Visualization is one of the most frequently used tools in sports psychology to gain confidence and elicit peak performances, so I am surprised time and time again how few people use it to improve their performances in their jobs and life in general.
4. REVIEW YOUR “WHY” AND SET YOUR DAILY GOALS.
If you haven´t figured out why you actually do the things you do every day, head over here to discover why you actually get up every morning and how to supercharge your motivation and sense of purpose every day.
Reviewing your “why” daily helps you remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing and enables you to better align your daily actions with your purpose in life. Only when you are crystal clear on what you want in life can you be truly successful in getting it.
Use your “why” as the guiding principle for all decisions you make throughout the day.
Let´s say your “why” is to make your family happy. How does that influence your daily choices? Would it determine how much quality time you spend with them? Change the food you eat because only a healthy diet allows you to have the energy to be there for your kids? What books should you be reading and how hard should you be working on yourself to become the best you possible?
You see, all these decisions are guided by your “why”. Once you are clear on what that is, you are able to set better daily goals aligned with your purpose and long-term goals. Ask yourself, what do I need to accomplish today to get closer to my goals? How many sales calls do you need to make, how many miles do you have to run, and how much time do you need to spend with your family? Look at your big goal and break it down into smaller milestones and small, daily steps to make sure that you are making progress every day.
5. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.
When you are having a tough day, it is easy to get trapped into thinking that your life is bad and everything in it sucks. It is easy to forget all the blessings you have been given and all the good things that happen in your life every day.
That´s when gratitude helps the most. Every day, count your blessings and be grateful for all the good things in your life. Whether it is your family, a new job opportunity, or just the smile of a stranger, there are always things to be grateful for. It might be challenging at times to find the first thing, but once you get the ball rolling, you usually find more things than you ever expected.