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How to Brighten Your Morning (and Whole Day): 7 Powerful Habits


“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

The alarm bell goes off. You slowly open your eyes. A new day lies before you.

A day of unexplored potential and opportunities. How can you make it more likely to become a positive and good day?

Today I’d like to simply share 7 habits that I have used to make my mornings and whole days better.

1. Have a reminder on your bedside table.

How will you start your very first moments and minutes of the day?

One good way to get off to a good start is to have a note, a reminder on your bedside table that will be one of the first things you see after you have woken up.

A couple of suggestions for what to write down on your note:

  • A low bar for happiness. Write down: “Today I will set a low bar for happiness”. Read it and try to keep it in mind during the day. This one helps me to appreciate things more. The food, my work, the weather, the people and the small events of the day becomes not everyday stuff but something I feel happy to have. The small things or what may be something one takes for granted becomes something I now often pause for a moment or two to take in and appreciate.
  • Your top 3 priorities in life right now. To keep your attention in the right place it is essential to remind yourself every day of what is truly most important. So what is most important for you this year? A project at work? Your family? Improving your social life? Your blog, photography, soccer or debt? Think about it and reduce what is important in your life to the top 3 most important priorities.

2. Give one genuine compliment.

Giving one genuine compliment to your partner, a family member, friend or co-worker during your morning can not only lift his or her day but also make yours a little brighter and happier.

So tap into what you can appreciate about a person in your life. Then tell him or her that.

If you can, make it something that may be a bit unexpected and something that person hasn’t heard a hundred times before. For example, a compliment about her great taste in music or his wonderful way with animals may be more appreciated and powerful than a compliment about looks and other more superficial stuff.

3. Positive information intake over breakfast.

Instead of watching the news or reading the papers and getting a negative and perhaps depressing start to your day do something that will inspire you.

  • Read one or a couple of new posts from positive, funny and uplifting blogs or websites.
  • Read a chapter from a book that inspires you.
  • Or simply have a fun and warm conversation with the people around your kitchen table.

4. Start your workday with your most important task of the day.

If you do then the rest of the day will feel lighter and easier. You will feel better about yourself and more confident as you move on to other tasks.

If you have trouble getting started with the most important task then just make a deal with yourself to work on it for 3 minutes. Then you can stop if you like. But you may not want to once you have gotten started. That seems to be the case for me most of the time.

Getting started is most often the hardest part. So make that part easier for yourself.

5. Go slow.

When I go a bit slower it becomes easier to fully focus, to keep the stress down and I most often do a better job with something the first time around.

I work with more clarity and I do not get stuck in doing busy work very often.

It may feel like I’m not getting enough done but at the end of the day I usually get more quality work done than if I tried to maintain a high speed throughout the day. Partly because the lower stress levels keeps my mind fresh and energy up even through the last few afternoon hours of the workday.

Try going a bit slower. See how it works for you.

6. Work out.

Often mentioned and for a good reason. It has many positive benefits.

I workout several times a week and by doing so I boost my energy, inner doubts and tensions lessen, I feel more decisive and my mind becomes more optimistic. And all of that makes the rest of the day lighter.

I highly recommend doing some kind of exercise in the morning. If you can’t go to a gym or work out from home early in the day then maybe you can walk or bicycle to work or school.

7. Do the right thing in some small or big way.

This one boosts your self-esteem. It puts a spring in your step and it at least makes me feel happier.

So do what you deep down think is the right thing.

A few examples that may resonate with you:

  • Perform a random act of kindness. Hold up the door or point out the way for someone who seems lost.
  • Help someone out practically or just by listening.
  • Get started with putting a dent in the most important challenge in your life.

Build upon just a small step, a small thing if you like. Start building an upward spiral of positivity and good feelings within. And then take further steps upward.

Towards what you know you really want and you know are the right things for you in your life.

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{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Great article as usual.
    I like your point no. 04- Start your workday with your most important task of the day.
    By doing this actually, we send a message to our subconscious mind that we have done the most critical task successfully and now other things we can do at a normal pace.
    This is the exact strategy I am following after reading Brian Tracy’s “Eat the Frog”. I am eating the bigger frog early in the day so I can keep going smoothly throughout the day.

  • Alan Philpott

    I used to do some of the things you suggest in the morning; but this is a wake-up call to do all of them! Thanks a lot.

  • Jeanette Miller

    I just wanted to thank you for all your positive messages. It really has helped me over the last year. I always look forward to sharing what I read to my friends and family!

  • Diane

    I loved this essay, and many of your others too. Why wouldn’t you add a share this Facebook button so I can send my friends your way?

  • Venetia

    Love your work! Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Thank you so much. You always inspired me

  • That’s positive, Thanks for sharing :)

  • I am not a morning person but I need to be. I really wanted to start trying to work out in the mornings but I cannot manage to wake myself up. Maybe these tips will help.

  • Heidi

    Thank you Henrik. I always appreciate what you send and love that you share how you have overcome things also. Appreciated!

  • I love point number one – set the bar low for happiness. When I first read that line I was thinking, surely they did not mean to write “low”, shouldn’t we set our bar high for happiness? But once I understood the point of being able to appreciate the little things in life and allowing yourself to let those be the things that can bring you joy – well, it was like breath of fresh air for me. I think we can exhaust and drain ourselves (and happiness) when we try to to constantly aim for MORE. Real joy and happiness can be found in contentment and appreciation for all the good that life has already offered.

  • Tiffany

    Thank you for the encouragement to stay positive, as well as patient :))

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