How to Get a Great Start to Your Day: 7 Simple Tips

How to Get a Great Start to Your Day: 7 Simple Tips

“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

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

It’s still dark as your alarm bell goes off. You pull up the curtains and the world is waiting for you outside of the window.

As you stumble out of bed and into the shower a new day begins.

So how can you make it more likely that it will be a good or even great day?

Well, in my experience, what you do early in the morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day.

So let me share 7 simple tips that have helped me to create both better mornings and days.

1. Plan the night before.

Put down just 1-3 of the most important things you want to get done on a to-do list.

By keeping the list very limited it becomes easier to actually get the most important thing(s) done.

And to not start procrastinating by doing a few of the less important and often easier tasks that I know I always used to add to a longer to-do list.

2. Prepare the night before.

Reduce the stress during your morning by getting the simple details out of the way the night before.


  • Pack your bag.
  • Prepare and pack your lunch.
  • Put your keys, wallet etc. in their “home” if they are not already there so you can quickly find and grab them before heading out the door.

3. Keep a simple reminder on your bedside table.

What you see during your first minutes after you have woken up can in my experience have quite the effect on the morning and as an extension of that the whole day.

So try putting a small note with a reminder on your bedside table.

Three things you could put on that note are:

One of your favorite quotes.

A powerful and timeless quote is one of the easiest ways to charge the mind with positive emotions and to find a helpful perspective.

So write down one of the own favorite quotes. Here’s a list of 101 of them about happiness if you want some help.

Set a low bar for happiness.

I love this simple reminder.

I tell myself: “Today I will set a low bar for happiness”.

And then I keep that thought in mind for the rest of the day as best I can.

It helps me to feel grateful for the little and everyday things that I too often take for granted like having a roof over my head and all the tasty food I have available.

It makes it easier to stay positive and to find a simple happiness throughout the day.

Write down your most important whys.

Here's a quick exercise that I use to recharge my motivation again.

It involves finding your deepest and most personal reasons for why you want to make a positive change in your life.

Keeping these most important reasons written down on your bed side table can give you a powerful start to your day and make it easier to stay on the right track from the moment you get out of bed.

4. Go slow.

When I start my day slowly and keep doing things at a slow pace then it becomes easier to keep the stress away. It becomes easier to focus on what I am doing and keep my priorities in mind.

When I go slow I stay in the present moment more of the time and so less negative feelings come my way.

And I appreciate the everyday things in life more because my attention is focused outward and not aimlessly inward towards what happened in the past or may happen in the future.

When I start my day slowly I sometimes get worried that this slow pace will mean that I get less done during my day.

But at the end of the day I most often discover that I got more done.

Because I did things well the first time and because when I go slow I tend to spend less energy on draining feelings and on having my attention bouncing around between many things.

And so I have more energy during the last few hours of my workday to spend on things that matter to me.

5. Get some positive information into your mind over breakfast.

Start your day with something that does not depress you or makes you feel powerless to change your life or the world in some small or bigger way.

Add inspiration and optimism by for example:

  • Reading one or a couple of new posts from positive, funny or uplifting blogs or websites.
  • Listening to a podcast that boosts your motivation.
  • Reading a chapter from a book that inspires you.
  • Watching a motivating or uplifting video on Youtube.

6. Start your workday with the most important task.

Find the most important task on the very limited to-do list you created. Do it first thing when your workday starts.

This task is in my experience often quite hard so it is easy to fall for the temptation to procrastinate.

If you feel that urge, then just be still and do nothing. The most powerful part of the impulse to procrastinate by checking email or Facebook passes pretty quickly.

When the worst is over then go easy on yourself instead of trying to push yourself hard.

Tell yourself that you will only work for 1-3 minutes on this important task. Then you can stop if you like.

But you may not want to do that once you have gotten started. This seems to be the case for me most of the time.

Because getting started is most often the hardest part.

7. Build a right thing string.

Doing what you deep down think is the right thing will make you feel good. It will boost your self-esteem and put a spring in your step for an hour or more.

One way that I like to do that is by creating what I like to call a right thing string.

Here's what you do:

Do something that you deep down think is the right thing. Do it right now.

  • Give a genuine and encouraging compliment to someone at work or in your life.
  • Help someone who seems lost with directions.
  • Unclutter your workspace for 2 minutes.
  • Go and work out.

Then add another thing that you think is the right thing to do.

Have an apple instead of an unhealthy snack.

When you feel like judging someone in your life or on TV or in the newspaper try to find a kinder and more understanding perspective. Smile and ask how someone's day is going (and really listen to the reply).

Then add another thing. And another.

Build a small string of doing the right things during for example 10-30 minutes to boost your energy and the positive feelings you have about yourself and your life.

Continue the string during your day as best you can.

After you have added a right thing to your string – no matter how small it is – make sure to take a few seconds to pause and to appreciate the good thing you did.

I usually think one of these things to myself:

  • Awesome!
  • Well done!
  • That was a good thing to do.
  • That was fun!

This boosts the positive mood within and ups the motivation to add another thing to your string.

If you break the string, no worries. Don't beat yourself up.

Take a deep breath and then start a new string instead.


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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hi Henrik,

    Truly wonderful post about Bruce Lee and I’m a fan of him.

    Live life as there is no tomorrow and you will appreciate life to the fullest. Always do the thing that matter to you most first thing in the morning. For me, I give thanks to GOD to start of my day and ALWAYS stay positive no matter how tough the day goes.

    Thanks for your tips.

    • Anonymous

      Go ahead

  • mielly

    Tnku very much. Been so lost. Out of no where i found ur site. It helps. Been scared and alone. I a stay home mom and it gets lonely, depressing, i have no friends, no one to talk too. So all this negative thoughts are driving me nuts. I just started getting nervous when going to store by my self .my leg was shaking uncontrollably while driving. It was scary. I will keep reading and looking for help tnku for writing such beautiful words

    • Donna

      Mielly I read Henrik’s blog and read your comment. I want you to know I said a prayer for you. It seems you are in a hard place right now. I hope soon you connect with a kind friend and have someone to talk to. Just sharing and venting can help immensely. May God bless you.

    • Elissa Joy

      Hi Friend! I encourage you to check out Byron Katie’s The Work. Google it for her website for free resources to help you release your negative beliefs and find inner peace and freedom.

    • Susan B

      Being a domestic engineer is what I like to call it (stay at home mom) is a big challenge i did it for 18 years, try and connect with some moms at your children school. When lonely moments came in I would but on some soft jazz or music to help tune out those negative thoughts and feelings. Know that you are important also try and get out the house do yard work create a hobby for yourself take a tax class or insurance do something for yourself. You matter as well

  • Meena Pillai

    Wonderful read. Hoping to be more practical in life. Life is so short that it has no place for regrets. Thank you for the inspiring words and post!

  • uday

    Excellent, best thing to start your day is gratitude and watch or listen or read anything which energises you and triggers you to start your day to make an impact to your life

  • I enjoyed reading this inspirationl post. Setting a low bar for happiness is a good philosophy, and gratitude is a powerful tool for cultivating positivity.

  • Great tips on starting your day out right Henrik. I like to start with a cold shower. Nothing says, “Wake up” like a cold shower.

    After that I I meditate to visualise my day unfolding with success and happiness.
    R.G. Ramsey

  • Thank you so much for this reminder. As a human being, it’s almost always normal for us to think

  • Truly loved reading your blog. I have been following the first two tips since the start of my student life. Planning and preparing the night before help to start the new day peacefully.

  • Great article. He gave me another kick and a lot of tips. 7 such simple things that I never thought about. And now I will be! Thank you.

  • Getting a good start in the morning can make the entire day useful and full of positive energy. Some of the nice tips to make your day, you can start with something you love. Hoping for more insights on this.

  • Fred

    why is it a privilege to be alive ….sounds like someone can take it away

  • TBT

    I really like your point about thinking about the why’s of the actions that you take as it gives you a sense of purpose and sets a goal in mind (which motivates you to reach it). I also really like your point about taking it slow, and how doing this can actually help you get more things done. I think the added benefit of this tip is also that it allows you to be present in the moment (rather than quickly checking off one task after the other without processing what you have done). A weekly tip I would suggest is to do a brain dump every Sunday. This means that when you wake up on the Monday, you will feel refreshed and ready to get things done.

  • I enjoyed reading this inspirationl post. Setting a low bar for happiness is a good philosophy, and gratitude is a powerful tool for cultivating positivity.

  • Liz

    You always have such good posts. They make me feel great and positive!