Most of us start our mornings with the ear-piercing sound of the alarm clock. For most of us, slapping the snooze button is about the most satisfying part of our morning routine before we roll out of our beds and “carpe diem.” But what if we asked ourselves a few important questions every day before we hopped out of bed with one eye open?
I believe that with these 12 questions we can minimize the bad days, and maximize the days that we feel on top of the world. Why be a beggar in your own kingdom? Many of us live this way, in a state of frustration and noise, day in and day out. If you want to live a happier, more productive life, full of love and meaningful relationships, ask yourself these 12 burning questions before you get out of bed every morning.
12 “How was my sleep?”
When we don’t sleep enough, we can’t simply make up for it the next day with a solid eight hours of rest. After a long night studying, partying, or whatever we occupy our time with until the A.M. hours of the morning, we build a sleep debt that needs to be repaid. The sleep debt collectors will come knocking on your door in the form of a wicked headache if you don’t provide immediately. If the answer to your question is that you did not sleep enough, it may be an optimal decision to go back to bed or schedule in a nap so that your brain is working at 100% for the rest of the day.
11 “What is 100% necessary that I get done today?”
To avoid stressing out later in the afternoon or night, make a point to identify the top priorities or things you need to get done early. Perhaps this is a project you have due, an important conversation that can’t wait until tomorrow, or a bill you need to pay before getting charged tomorrow. Instead of putting it off and revisiting the thought in your mind every five minutes, make a list and get the tasks done before anything else.
10 “What would I do today if I had 24 hours left to live?”
This is a great exercise for a self-induced reality check. In other words, what’s really important in your life right now? What tasks, routines, or relationships have you set up that in the grand scheme of things don't really matter? Is there something you would do today if it was your last day that perhaps you haven’t done in years? Go for it.
9 “What’s something or who is someone that could possible get in the way of me having a less than perfect day today?”
It’s never pretty to recognize that there may be constant negative distractions in our lives that continually get the best of us. Instead of ignoring the beasts, it’s important to give them a little attention in the morning and be mindful of them so that you don’t buy into the negativity. Today is your day. No one else’s.
8 “When I go to bed tonight, how can I make sure that I am happy with the past 12-16 hours?”
When you’re reviewing your day tonight, how can you make sure that you rest easy and with a smile on your face? This visualization of yourself at a later date can help you get your priorities in straight and quit worrying about the things that won’t directly influence your happiness.
7 “Are there any big decisions I have put off recently?”
Tim Ferriss, author of New York Times Bestseller, “4-Hour Work Week” is popularly quoted for stating “A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” Act now or forever hold your peace.
6 “How will I get in at least one hour of exercise today?”
Moving around our bodies is vital for our health, both mental and physical, short term and long term. When we exercise for about one hour a day we build up stamina for the long term and immediately release endorphins, a chemical in our brains that produces a drug-like state of euphoria after a good workout. Let’s be honest, “you look good, you feel good, you feel good, you look good,” is one of the simplest, true statements out there.
5 “What foods are my body craving today?”
When we start the day without any eating plan, often times it can be a disaster. For those of us who commute to work or work far from home, lunch time rolls around right when our stomach feels like it’s beginning to eat itself. In this danger zone, we are at risk of consuming crappy food that ruins our energy levels and self-esteem for the rest of the day. Prepack healthy lunches and organize dinners with friends to make sure you stay social and happy every day of the week.
4 “If I had one day to live, who would I make sure I told I loved them?”
This one’s tough to wrap your head around, but a great question for those of us seeking to live a purposeful, loving life. When we open up our hearts in the morning, we’re able to tap into compassion and keep it alive all day long. Call your Grandma or Grandpa, sister or friend from grade school just because. You never know when will be their last or your last day, so make sure you are living with no regrets.
3 “Does someone I know need a little extra attention from me today?”
Apart from the obvious people you love, is there anyone you may be neglecting that’s going through a rough time? Reaching out to those in need is one of the most rewarding things you can do, and builds strong friendships. You’ll raise both of your self-esteems if you help a family member, stranger or friend out of a hard place.
2 “Have I scheduled in some me time today?”
Personal time and personal space is inherent to our success. Constant distractions get in the way of reaching our daily and long term goals. If the concept of me time sounds foreign to you, try getting into the habit of meditating in a quiet space for just 10 minutes in the morning or before bed. Me time might be a solo 15-minute stroll after lunch, cooking dinner alone, listening to music and singing in the shower, etc. Whatever it is, make sure you have it scheduled in, not just as a thought in your mind.
1 “Is today not the best day of my life?”
Seriously, today should always start as the best day of your entire life. It has every reason to be. Don’t sell yourself short.
Instead of dragging yourself out of bed after hitting the snooze alarm multiple times in the morning, there’s a way you can easily win yourself a better day (and better life in the long term). Ask yourself these 12 important questions before you fully wake up to remind yourself to act like a queen, and not a peasant, in your own kingdom of life. Don’t think too hard, just remember what’s important and how you can best follow your heart while honoring your health, hobbies, personal and professional goals. Get out there and carpe diem.