Whether said as a polite formality, or genuine and from the heart, the phrase “Have a great day” is tossed around daily.
But as the receiver of that message, do we ever stop to take it to heart? To really hear it?
Far too often we are preoccupied with the tasks and challenges of the day that we fail to appreciate the fact that we have another day above ground, and the opportunity to do truly great things.
What’s worse is that many times we only assess whether or not a day was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at the end of it, when the vast majority of its potential is already behind us.
Why can’t we instead flip each day on its head and have a great day right from the start and build on that positive momentum from morning to night?
Well, we can – so let’s talk about it!
Life is an incredible teacher when you allow yourself to look at, listen to, and experience what is going on all around.
This post is actually inspired by someone that I still do not know, but who made a lasting impact on me during one of my train rides to work.
It was a morning like any other – my wife and I running around to get our daughter ready for school. I was sucking down my cup of coffee to get the mind going for the day ahead. It was a typical daycare drop off, followed by the drive to the metro.
I found my seat and was ready to open up whatever business / personal development book I was reading at the time when the doors shut and the conductor captivated his audience.
His voice filled the cabin with energy, positivity, and excitement – not just for his own day, but for the benefit of everyone else’s as well. He welcomed us aboard, gave us the weather report, threw in some humor for good measure and created a positive environment and experience.
It was clear that he enjoyed what he did, and made every interaction with his customers as positive and upbeat as possible. What stood out most was his sign off which he delivered after each station stop when he whole heartedly welcomed or bid farewell to his customers: “Make it a great day – on purpose!”
Not only was I listening, laughing, and smiling, but so many people around me were doing the exact same. People were actually interacting as a result, as opposed to our typical stone faced, quiet and reserved demeanors during any other morning.
It really got me thinking – Am I making the most of my day? Or is the day happening to me in the trap of the daily grind?
If I’m being honest, most of the time I was purely reacting to the day happening to me instead of owning it and making the day my own.
Be intentional about creating your great day
If there was one hard lesson I learn on almost a daily basis, it would be that you need to happen to the day instead of the day happening to you. It’s a lesson I keep relearning, as the smallest of disruptions could take the potential for having a great day and turn it into a domino effect of negativity.
By no means have I guaranteed myself a great day each and every day, but I am building a routine in hopes of making that vision a reality. Here are some of my morning practices to create the foundation and momentum to purposefully build a great day:
- Get up before everyone else – I set my alarm well before I actually need to so I can get in some quiet time before the craziness of the day actually begins (on the weekend too!). It makes a huge difference to allow your body and mind to ease into the day rather that going from 0 to 100 miles per hour as soon as the alarm goes off.
- Give your spirit a workout – not saying this is for everyone, but it works for me. One of the first two things I do each morning is read the Bible. This is a relatively new practice for me – I’ve been using the One Year Bible which has a breakdown of passages for each day of the year. It’s a great way to inject some positivity and spirituality into your morning.
- Meditation – big shout out to Headspace which is the first meditation program that I’ve been able to stick to for close to half a year (as I’m writing this). Meditation really helps me to get my mind centered, and makes it easier to recenter myself when crap of the day tries to ruin my momentum.
- Don’t forget gratitude – It’s so much easier to focus on the bad than take the time and energy to reflect on the good. To combat this natural tendency, I use the 5 Minute Journal each morning to write down 3 things I am grateful for, 3 things I will do to make it a great day, and finally write out a daily affirmation. The affirmation changes over time, but my current one for the past several months is, “I am optimistic, hungry, humble and focused, and I will win the day.”
- Make your bed – I admit this sounds strange. I actually took the practice from a story I heard about the ancient Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Despite leading the most powerful and expansive empire the world has probably ever seen, it’s been said that Marcus Aurelius would make his bed every day. The reason? Despite not being able to control many of the events he was faced with on a daily basis, he could control that moment in the morning and create order before facing the day.
Eventually I want to expand my routine to include exercise, but for right now if I can get all of those things done before my family wakes up (minus making the bed – my wife would be pissed!), then I’m in a better position to attack the day and win!
In closing, I want to leave you with a reality that we must never forget. No matter how wealthy, successful, popular or powerful we may become, we will never have the ability to buy more time. Let’s treat every day as the gift it truly is and make it a great one – ON PURPOSE!
What do you do to take control of your day on a daily basis and how do you make it the best day possible?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."