Have you ever got out of bed on the wrong side? If you did, what happened?
Chances are, you went through the day with one bad thing happening after another. You were late for work, all the traffic lights were against you, it started to rain like crazy just as you walked to the office from your car, which of course was parked a million miles away, because oh yes…you were late.
This streak continued until worst case scenario you blew up at someone who didn’t deserve it, bringing you back down to earth or at the very best, you just about made it through the day intact and crawled back into bed that night wondering what on earth happened.
If you haven’t had a day like this yet, then you’re either not leaving the house enough or you’re one of the few people who has some excellent daily habits, routines or rituals – those things that you do, that get your days off to the best start and keep you in the right frame of mind.
So, what is the secret to having more great days, whether that’s in or out of the office?
One of the key elements is having a good nightly routine.
What do you do the last thing before you go to bed every single day? read? meditate? brush your teeth? The truth is that for most of us, apart from brushing our teeth and a daily facial care routine (and that’s pushing it!) our evenings tend to be not very well spent.
There are a few things that you can do to dramatically increase your chances of having a great day the following day, and no, none of them involve box set binges.
1. Plan the night before
Planning for the following day is a great way to make sure that you know exactly what needs to be done, so you can really get the most out of your morning, and not spend time trying to figure out where you left off and what needs to be done.
Leave a little time at the end of each day, before you finish work, to reflect on what you’ve achieved that day and what needs to be done the following day. Write it down and clearly define priorities. Be clear on what you will get going on first.
2. Credit where it’s due
One thing that we’re all guilty of is focusing on the negatives. We tend to spend the majority of our time thinking about what went wrong and what we should have done differently. While this definitely important for learning, it’s equally as important to spend time thinking about what went well and focusing on the type of results you want to see more of.
A great exercise for this is to run through the day in your mind and think about all the things that went really well, that you’re pleased about and proud of.
To take this one step further, you can even re-write the day. If there were areas in the day that did not go quite according to plan, as you run through them in your mind, think about how you would have wanted them to go and see it working out perfectly in your minds eye.
By focusing your mind on what’s gone well, you’ll go to sleep in a far better state of mind and you’ll also be training your brain to look for the positive. The more you do this, the better you will become at seeing things in a more positive light.
3. Practice gratitude
The power of gratitude can’t be stressed enough and just like how spending time thinking about what went well during the day will get your brain noticing the positives, when you practice gratitude, your brain will start to seek out more things in your life that you can be grateful for.
If that’s not enough to convince you to practice gratitude, there’s been plenty of research which links gratitude to feelings of happiness, more life satisfaction, more social connectedness and even better health- who doesn’t want that! (You can find out more here and here )
Clearly, your gratitude needs to be coming from a real place, and you’re not likely to feel great if you’re just saying the words. But truly taking the time to give gratitude will go a long way to improving your mental state which in turn will lead to better happier and more fulfilling days.
In addition to the nightly routines, there are some daily habits that can transform not just your days but your life.
4. Be intentional
Reflecting on what’s gone well and practicing gratitude attracts more of these things into your life and helps you to notice these positives. Being intentional on the other hand is about setting your expectation and intention for the day. Laying out what you want from and of your day, in advance.
Set the intention for your day by taking the time first thing to go through the day in detail.
What will you do, how will you feel, what will you be really happy about, what great things will happen. You can either think through this using visualisation or actually sit down and write about your day, as though it has already happened, in detail and in the present tense.
By doing this, you are preparing your state for this day and being intentional about the day that you expect to have. After all, you get what you expect, so, expect the best and that’s what you’ll get.
5. Change Your Words
Our language is powerful and affects us in much deeper ways than we realise. The more you repeatedly say something, the more it becomes ingrained into your psyche and the more you remember it, and the more you are likely to believe it according to the illusion of truth. Does this mean that the more you repeat negative self talk, speak about yourself in negative ways and be mean about yourself (or others) the more you believe it to be true? Perhaps- The question is, are you willing to take that risk and what is it costing you?
But it doesn’t stop there.
Can you remember the last time something or someone made you mad, cross angry – so many words to describe the negative emotions that you may have felt. The question is, what words did you use, and how did those words impact the situation? Did you start to get more and more wound up, het up and frustrated or did the situation calm down?
When we experience challenging situations, we naturally react by using the words which we would normally use (our habitual language) under these circumstances, but depending on which words you pick, you can either intensify the situation and escalate it, or calm it down, because your words become your experience More on this here.
So, the next time you feel negative emotions welling up, rather than reacting, try to use the least intense words to describe how you feel and see what happens.
Things will not always go your way and annoying and maddening situations will come up from time to time, the question is, what will you do? Will you react and let the situation and your language control you or will you choose to stay in control?