7 Ways to Have a Good Day, Backed by Science

Why are mornings a barrier to having a good day?

No one wakes up with the intent to have a bad day.

Life happens, and it might end up that way, but I don’t believe anyone sets out to purposely make that happen. I do believe, however, that there are legions of people who wake up, open their eyes and think “s&%*, what fresh hell awaits me today.” I get it. The pressure of owning a business is tough. Add the job of finding harmony between work and home, staying profitable and paying the bills can sometimes seem overwhelming.

Sometimes those pressures hit you before your toes have hit the floor, and you end up riding the day on a wave of reactivity, slave to whatever issues crop up, but trust when I say – you can do something concrete to change it.

A good day is all about control

There is a psychological concept called the “locus of control” which essentially revolves around an individual’s belief system. It’s how much someone believes their actions have a direct impact on what goes on around them (and to them).

Someone with a high internal locus of control believes their actions have a direct impact on the results around them. Generally, people with a strong internal locus of control have better health outcomes, less stress, and higher self-esteem because they believe they can influence what happens around them. It’s a powerful notion and one which can radically change the outcome of a person’s life.

In contrast, those with an external locus of control tend to be the “finger pointers” of society. They are those who believe things happen “to” them through fate or luck. The problem is because they don’t feel they’re in control of where their lives or business is heading, they have higher anxiety and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and an enabler of the “I told you so mentality”.

Well to that, I’ve got some good news when it comes to changing the locus of control it can be some of the simplest ideas that yield the biggest results.

7 Proven Pathways to Happiness

  1. Make your bed – Your mother was right, folks. Making your bed is something is extremely doable. Set a schedule and do it for a month and I guarantee you will see results. Those who make their bed every morning, end up happier, more productive and healthier than those who don’t. In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg even goes so far as to call this a “keystone habit”. It’s super important, so mark it on your calendar and just do it – even more so when you don’t feel like it.
  2. Exercise first thing in the morning – just like making your bed, when you exercise not only to you get the obvious health benefits but you feel like King Kong because you’ve done something very few people do before most people are up and at it. This immediately leaves you with a positive state of mind. And because this article is backed by science, exercising in the morning will fuel you with a rush of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine that are proven to sharpen your mind and reduce stress – and you don’t need tons of time. You can get an adequate workout in 10 minutes that will pay dividends all day long.
  3. Join the 5am club. Robin Sharma has written and recorded lots on this. Just search“Robin Sharma 5 am Club” and you will see tons of results that point to the effectiveness of rising at a consistent time. Just like point #2, being up at 5 while the rest of the world is sleeping gives you a psychological advantage in knowing you have a head start. Heck, just carrying through with getting up feels like a massive achievement. And if the thought of 5 am turns your stomach, remember it’s not so much the time, but the act of doing it at the same time every single day.
  4. Verbally express either your gratitude or a sincere compliment to someone in your life. The law of reciprocity kicks into high gear when you do this and not in terms of the act being returned to you but in how you feel after you do it. If this is new to you, it may feel a bit weird, but you’ll get over that once you experience the payoff.
  5. Reflect on past successes and highlights. This one works particularly well when you are feeling a bit low. Reflecting on past successes helps to reset your mind and serves as a reminder that life is a roller coaster. Being low just means that your next event will be a way up. Here are some great questions you can ask yourself to help you reflect.
  6. Keep some simple promises you make to yourself. Which is the opposite of what most people do during the month of January as New Year’s resolutions fall to the wayside. The key to goals is to make it easy and keep the time frame short. (i.e. getting up when you say you are going to get up, sticking to your chosen diet for the day or clearing your inbox within a certain time period.) The more you keep these small promises, the easier they will be to keep. And as time progresses, your promises to yourself become golden. They are your integrity. Check out the basics on S.M.A.R.T. Goals if you’ve been under a rock for the last two decades.
  7. Know what you want from the day. Be clear on your top 3 priorities and be realistic about getting them done. Overachieving and failing consistently leads to a downward spiral. Keep it winnable and be sure your priorities are real priorities that will generate results. This article from Tiny Buddha gives some great insight.

Don’t forget to celebrate success

Listen, when I speak to my coaching clients, I don’t ever ask for perfection, but I do ask for a willingness to step up and commit to a new way of doing things. It’s the ability to get rid of blind spots that help business owners to jump off the hamster wheel and grow a business that lets them sleep soundly at night (by crawling into their freshly made bed).

So, maybe you didn’t make your bed every day in your first week trying, but you managed it three-times – celebrate! That’s three more than the week you started. Aim for four the next week and see where it takes you. Small steps lead to big things. Good luck!

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