Each day is fresh
Each day begins at your first moments of consciousness. That’s when we first make choices that will empower, or limit, your day. Start each day fresh and with power!
Do you immediately get online and do social media? Stumble to get coffee? Read the often depressing news? I fall into those habits. But I know there are better ways to get a fresh mind, a positive attitude, and take empowered steps to achieving goals.
You are the designer of your day. Starting it right sets the path that guides you through the day, the good and the bad, including through all the unexpected and difficult things that might lie ahead.
Everyone is different. There are many ways to energize and empower your day. This is my program for beginning each day. I encourage you to think about how to start your day with confidence and happiness. I ask God, for all of us, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).
Start the day by asking for help
None of us can do anything alone. We need family, friends, community, and we need God. He’s always been and will always be. He’s eternally with us. I need him. So, I’m committed to starting my day with the “first light prayer.” It is a simple and important way to begin each day. I begin each day with a simple prayer, “Lord, Here I am. Help me.” Such as pray, as one writer put it, is “short, simple, humble, potent.” It may be the most important daily habit I need to help me change my life and overcome issues that are holding me back. I pray it works for you, too. You can add to this as you like. One addition is saying Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Nothing prevents you from longer, deeper prayer. But A first light prayer gently starts you on your day’s journey. [See D60: Transformation Through Discipleship for more information.)
Watering the brain and body
There are so many positive reasons for drinking water first thing in the morning, from weight loss, to increasing alertness, improving skin. Read this article here for a list of benefits that may surprise you. One point that convinced me is how critical water is in keeping my brain at its highest level. Our brain is 70 percent water. If the brain isn’t hydrated, the brain is operating on less fuel, so we feel drained, experience fatigue and mood fluctuations, and have reductions in memory and brain performance. Drinking water, and particularly water with lime/lemon, is an easy and sensible habit.
Exercise… move it!
I’m not a fanatic, but I enjoy exercise. I also completely agree that natural movement is as good as a two-hour gym workout. See how these centenarians are doing! For me, nothing beats a morning or evening walk. To start the day, however, I need to move carefully and intelligently because I wake up walking like a robot.
My routine is simple: UP: run in place punching the air for a count of 20 in all four compass directions; stretch calves. DOWN: situps and a full body stretch. UP: jumping jacks, one minute; holding thigh stretch and side-to-side stretch. DOWN: cross legs stretch; abdominal work; stretch leg stretch. It’s about developing a habit for me. I can do it in just a two or three minutes, or for over 10-15 minutes. Doesn’t matter. For me, it’s just do it! [I also walk, go to the gym, and swim. But life often gets in the way; the morning exercise is simple, efficient and effective.]
Plan the Day, with Gratitude & Goals
Which is better? To end each day setting the next day’s “to do” list and schedule, or to begin your day this way? I try to review my day in the evening, but then start the day with a more intense review. Either way works. But I must start my day with gratitude. I have a gratitude journal on the iPad. I try to joy down something each day. Even on tiresome days, there is something for which to be grateful if you think reflect deep enough. You are still breathing, therefore you have hope to do what might have frustrated you the day before! Perhaps you saw one beautiful flower? Spoke to one wonderful friend. Walked one kilometer. Keep building these smaller points of gratitude and your mind genuinely changes, so you are more positive and motivated to move ahead.
As far as to-do lists and goals. I look at my goals and reflect on where I am and where I need to go. The to-do list comes from that. Each time you check one simple thing, there is that one small step that changes how you feel. I set them in the beginning of the day and check them off. Because I’ve reviewed my goals, I’m motivated—this is the path I want to walk today, despite any difficulties. Maybe I won’t get them all done. But even one thing checked is progress.
Start each day fresh, and with power. However you start, ponder it, plan it, and do it