How did your day start out today? Did you wake up feeling rested and ready for the day? Did you make time for a healthy breakfast to get you started on the right foot and take you through the morning with energy? Did you take a few minutes to set an intention or plan for the day so you can go into it with clarity and confidence? What about exercise? Do you make time in your schedule for it? If mornings don’t work for you, do you have a plan to fit it in somewhere in your day?

We live busy lives and often feel that “fitting one more thing in” just isn’t going to happen. Yet, there are ways to set ourselves up for a successful day that can affect the quality of our lives in a big way, and they don’t necessarily take up a lot of time. Successful days add up to a rich and rewarding life, and all it takes is establishing healthy habits that become routine over time. Taking 10 minutes for a brisk walk, some inspirational reading or quiet meditation can significantly affect how we feel and the quality of our day.

Here are some daily habits you can start now to make a real difference in the bigger picture of your life:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. How you start your day can make a HUGE difference in just about everything – your mood, appetite, and level of performance and productivity. How much you need is individual – most research suggests anywhere from 7 to 9 hours per night.
  2. Water – Upon waking up after a night’s sleep your body is naturally dehydrated. Drinking a large 8-12 oz glass of water after waking up provides your cells with the necessary hydration to feel energized and will also flush out any unwanted toxins. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to go.
  3. Exercise – The proven benefits of physical activity are many: more energy, stress relief, weight control, a better mood, a good night’s sleep, a sharper brain, improved focus and learning. Regular exercise is essential for health of body, mind and spirit.
  4. Quiet – We live in an age of constant stimulation: emails, phones, texts, social media – the list goes on. With all that going on, finding some space in our life for quiet and silence is vital. Even 10 minutes a day can improve physical and mental wellbeing and enhance one’s feelings of relaxation and control.
  5. Remember what’s really important. Taking time to connect – daily – with those people who mean the most to us is essential to wellbeing. When asked for a definition of positive psychology, psychologist and university professor Chris Peterson said it could be summed up in three words, “Other people matter.” Research shows that close relations with others – family, friends, community – reduces stress and increases emotional well being so making the effort to nurture close relationships is well worth the effort.
  6. Reading stimulates ideas, broadens knowledge, improves analytical thinking, speaking and writing. It encourages interest in the world and people around you, while making you more interesting at the same time. An added benefit in this over-stimulated world is improved concentration – immersing yourself in a good book or interesting article can be one of the great pleasures of life.
  7. Do something for someone else. Research shows that doing kind acts for others also benefits us – we feel good about ourselves, more ethical and positive. People who are caring and kind to others reap the benefits of being happier people themselves.

One of my life’s treasures – with Matthew.

What about you? Do you have a daily practice or habit that adds value to your life? What has worked best to set you up for a good day? Please post comments on my blog – I’d love to hear from you!