Have you ever had one of those days that seemed to start out so awesome and then all of a sudden, before you knew it, the day had become a disaster and everything you thought would happen didn't? Me …
Have you ever had one of those days that seemed to start out so awesome and then all of a sudden, before you knew it, the day had become a disaster and everything you thought would happen didn't? Me too, we have all had one of those days I am sure. But stay with me, because this column is not about the days that go horribly wrong, it's about days that start well and finish even better.
I have had more and more of the good days lately, many more actually, and I wanted to share some thoughts as to why I believe my days are getting increasingly better and minimizing the days that go in the wrong direction.
For me, starting my day begins with a spiritual moment. As soon as I wipe the sleep from my eyes and the fog from my head, I say a quick prayer of thanks as I greet the day. The very next thing I do is read Scripture and then share my thoughts with my accountability partner via text. For us, it is a fantastic way to ground ourselves and prepare ourselves for anything that may happen during the day. We focus on how we can apply what we just finished reading to the planned and unplanned events of the day.
The second thing I do is some sort of physical activity. It could be a workout in the gym, it could be a long walk, either way, it gives me more time to process what I had just read and discussed, and it also allows me to think about what the day will hold. 30-60 minutes of exercise provides an opportunity for more reflection and allows those stress-relieving, stimulating, and healing endorphins to start kicking in too.
The third thing to starting the day off properly for me is to have a healthy breakfast. This was not always the case. I used to justify my carbohydrate-heavy morning feast by saying that my workout earned me that stack of pancakes, extra side of bacon, a large orange juice, and maybe even a pastry or three. Not any more, now I cap off my morning devotional and workout with a sensible breakfast with the right proteins and healthy amount of the right kind of fats. This is important and relevant because ever since switching to this behavior, my days really have been getting better. My energy is higher, my focus clearer, and my patience is greater and even much more relaxed.
The fourth thing is to make sure I have told my family how much I love them and appreciate them before the work day begins. It could be a text, a call, an email, or if I am lucky enough I get to tell them in person.
Each day will bring exactly what we plan for and expect. And yes, many days also bring unplanned events, challenges, and disruptions that we least expected. Perhaps you have always done a wonderful job of staying the course and handling whatever life throws at you better than others. For me, it took some time and coaching to become better at responding to those unexpected and unplanned for situations. And my big aha moment was learning that the way I started each day would not only determine how most of my day would go, I was much better prepared to manage how each day would go, and also how each day would finish.
Starting the day is strong, but equally as important is how we finish. How we finish each day helps set the tone, mood, and expectations for the following day. My evening ritual includes reading, more prayer time and reflection, a review of the day's events, and then creating a list of what I need to do the next day. Even if it is in my calendar already, I mentally prepare better by writing my list out so I can further prioritize what I need to do and when I need to do it. And by the way, if there is a hard or difficult task, that always becomes number one on the 'to-do' list. Get it out of the way and off the plate.
So how about you? Are you starting well and finishing better or can you make a change or two to your daily habits to help set the tone and foundation for each day that will result in a better outcome? Either way I would love to hear all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we have a plan to start each day strong and finish each day even stronger, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.