Step 1: Set your alarm half an hour earlier.

I know, this sounds terrible, but this simple step can improve your mornings and by default, the rest of your day. Think of mornings as one of those sand hourglass. Every morning at 7 a.m. the hourglass flips over and you’re awake. You now need to get yourself (and if you have them, kids) showered, dressed, fed, and out the door in an ever-decreasing amount of time. That’s stressful. It can lead to a lot of rushing around, hurried eating, yelling, and forgetting. Now imagine if you added a half an hour to this morning- no hurrying. No rushed eating. No yelling. Maybe you even get the chance to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee before making sure everyone has their lunches, homework, musical instruments, etc. as you casually walk out the door.


Step 2: Keep a bottle of water at your desk.

Remembering to drink more water doesn’t sound like something people would forget, but it happens. You’re at your desk, typing away, and before you know it it’s been hours. You’re feeling parched, but the office kitchen is just far enough away that it’s an inconvenience. A straightforward solution is to keep a water bottle at your desk. Filling it up at the start of your day and keeping it within arm's reach to keep you hydrated.


Step 3: Before you buy, read the ingredients.

It’s a no brainer to want to know what you’re putting into your body, and a great source of information are food and drink labels. But it’s important to understand what you’re reading. Sometimes ingredient lists can be deceiving. Many items that we watch out for can have different names. For example, an item can appear to be low in sugar but also list additional ingredients with names like high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt syrup, sugar cane, or agave nectar. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these ingredients and get in the habit of checking the ingredient lists before purchasing.


Step 4: Make your bed every morning.

We all probably forgot about making our beds every morning once we moved out of our parents’ house. But this excellent piece of advice has become popular again thanks to Navy Adm. William H. McRaven who during a now famous 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas parted some wisdom he had learned over his 36 years as a Navy Seal.

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day, it will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

You can watch the entire speech here.


Step 5: Always have something to look forward to.

We all look forward to something. It might be a vacation. It might be an upcoming concert. It might be lunch. No matter what it is though, we all need something. Because that something leads to anticipation and no matter what else is going on in your life, rough day at work, a terrible commute, dreary weather, having that something to look forward to gives you hope. It gives you a sense that everything will be okay. And it doesn’t matter that the anticipation tends to be more enjoyable than the actual thing we’re looking forward to. Everyone should get out their calendars and mark off a couple of things every week/month to look forward to.