Louise Thomp­son

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14 Change your world by mak­ing your bed

How we start and close the day has a huge im­pact on hap­pi­ness and well­ness lev­els. A few small tweaks can make a huge dif­fer­ence to how you feel about your day, your pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els and your mood. Tak­ing a few min­utes to re­view your morn­ing and even­ing rou­tine is a fast well­ness-booster. The key, I think, is to be re­al­is­tic about your life. So many of the ar­ti­cles and memes on this ex­haust me just read­ing them. You know the ones — they trill some­thing like, “Just 19 sim­ple steps to start your day: Jour­nal for 15 min­utes, med­i­tate for 20 min­utes, make a de­li­cious fresh fruit breakfast with chia in it, stretch with an easy 10-minute yoga rou­tine, take a mo­ment to just breeeeeeathe, have a cold shower to in­vig­o­rate the im­mune sys­tem, lis­ten to a min­d­ex­pand­ing pod­cast”, and so on. I am sure I am not the only one hear­ing the voice in my head say­ing “Yeah, RIGHT”. To make all that good stuff hap­pen I’d have to start my morn­ing rou­tine at 3am!

Those 19 point lists will fos­ter noth­ing but feel­ings of in­ad­e­quacy and guilt. You need to work with your per­sonal cir­cum­stances and body clock to op­ti­mise what is gen­uinely re­al­is­tic to tweak for you. If the goal is not to reach in­sta­grammable lev­els of per­fec­tion, but to start and fin­ish your day feel­ing a lit­tle calmer, a lit­tle less stressed, and with more ap­pre­ci­a­tion and ease, then keep it sim­ple. Here are a two tiny tweaks you could in­cor­po­rate with­out drama.

1 Ad­mi­ral Wil­liam H. McRaven, a US Navy Seal, has a great two-minute mo­ti­va­tional talk (Google it) on “chang­ing the world by mak­ing your bed”. A sim­ple but mun­dane task, it means you have ac­com­plished the first task of the day early. It gives you a small sense of pride, and cre­ates the mo­men­tum to achieve the next task. As he so elo­quently demon­strates, the lit­tle things in life mat­ter: when we do the small things right we are more likely to do the big things right. Mak­ing your bed is a two-minute in­vest­ment, tops (un­less you have a se­ri­ous scat­ter cush­ion habit), that will start your day with pur­pose and dis­ci­pline.

2 Use your teeth-clean­ing rou­tine in the morn­ing to an­chor in some pos­i­tiv­ity. This takes ex­actly NO ad­di­tional time, but will also set your day off on the right foot. While you are brush­ing, ask your­self the sim­ple ques­tion, “What would I like to go RIGHT today?” Ac­tively force your mind to start the day worry-free and fo­cus on all the op­por­tu­ni­ties for con­nec­tion and pro­duc­tiv­ity you have com­ing up.

Take a mo­ment to re­view your reg­u­lar morn­ing rou­tine. It might (if you are hon­est with your­self) be “hit snooze four times” (time in­vest­ment 36 min­utes) and “noo­dle on Facebook first thing” (12 min­utes). In which case, a quick re­fresh is in or­der. These two tips, one phys­i­cal, one men­tal, can be in­cor­po­rated into your life no mat­ter how busy you are, start­ing each day with pur­pose and pos­i­tiv­ity.

Through her on­line Hap­pi­ness pro­gramme “Well­be­ing War­riors”, life coach Louise Thomp­son helps peo­ple un­lock their hap­pi­est and health­i­est life. Sign up at louisethomp­son.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/well­be­ing

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