"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
How we start our day is one of the most important things to design with purpose because it sets the tone for the day. If you have a bad morning, you'll likely feel more stressed and anxious throughout the day; and if you have a good morning, you'll likely feel more happy and energized throughout the day.
Whether you are aware of them or not, you operate based on habits (both good and bad) all the time—they are an integral part of your daily existence. Part of developing a healthy habit, is to become intentional with it. Most habits are formed because they are easy or along the path of least resistance. If you want to develop positive habits, then you need to put some intentional effort into forming them until they become part of your identity.
In his book, “The Miracle Morning” author Hal Elrod teaches a simple 6 step system for starting your day off right.
The way to remember the steps is the acronym: S.A.V.E.R.S.
S - Silence. Don’t start your day checking social media or email. Stay away from technology for a few minutes and just have some quiet time.
A - Affirmations. Be sure to think positive and have some positive expectations for the day. Saying positive affirmations like “today is going to be a great day” and “I can do it” will help get positive energy going.
V - Visualization. If you have important meetings or appointments set up, visualize them going well. Just like athletes, actors and musicians do before performing you want to see the outcome you desire in your mind before it actually happens.
E - Exercise. Get your body moving and blood flowing in the morning. A simple walk, yoga routine or calisthenics (some pushups, jumping jacks and sit-ups) will do just fine. This energizes your body and your mind.
R - Reading. Put some inspirational or educational information in your head in the morning. Start the day off feeling optimistic and powerful, not negative and depressed (by watching the news for example).
S - Scribing. Journaling. Write something you are excited about or grateful for daily. Smile when you do this as it stimulates the brain to release dopamine and endorphins. This lifts your mood and lowers your heart rate.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Your body needs nutrition to get started right. You just went 6-9 hours with no food or water overnight, so we must nourish ourselves in the morning. This is a key habit in pursuing the good life. A lot of people eat in the exact opposite way of how they should. They skip breakfast or eat very little. They then have a bigger, usually unhealthy lunch which leads to an afternoon lull in energy and then eat a large dinner. To make it even worse, they often snack just before bed. This pattern is unhealthy and leads to low energy and excess fat storage. Create the habit of eating a healthy breakfast and reduce your meal sizes as the day goes on except to fuel exercise.
Make your bed.
It might seem like a waste of time to you, unimportant, or unnecessary, but making your bed is a simple action you can take in the morning that makes you start your day feeling accomplished—and what better tone to set than a sense of pride and accomplishment? I started cleaning up my room in my early adulthood, putting clothes away and not having piles everywhere and it eventually became a habit. It is much less stressful to live this way and I am more confident just because of a few little habits like this.