Did you know you can change your life in just five minutes? If it sounds too good to be true, think again. We are the sum of our smallest behaviors, and becoming the best versions of ourselves starts with changing those small behaviors in ways that suit our needs while also helping us build good habits that stick.
When we want to make positive changes in our lives, it’s tempting to want to table-flip our whole lives and start from scratch, making big, sweeping changes to our routines. These big changes might feel great at first, but they’re impossible to stick with. Our brains like routines and habits can be extremely challenging to break if we try to force ourselves too much. We might keep at it for a while, but eventually, we’ll slip up once, get discouraged, and we’ll revert to our old, familiar ways.
The key to building good habits that last is to start small and work gradually. Try it: It only takes five minutes.
The most important five minutes of your life are the ones that greet you each morning.
Every day we’re granted opportunities to change your life, for better or worse. When we first wake up, we’re immediately faced with the crucial decision of how we’re going to start our day. At first glance, this decision may not seem like much, but whatever we choose to do will ultimately set the tone for the rest of our day. One good decision leads to another, and another, and by the end of the day you’ve made a whole series of positive choices that will make your life better.
But it all comes down to those first five minutes after you wake up. The choices you make in those five minutes can be the difference between a productive and harmonious day and a chaotic and miserable one.
Change your life in the first five minutes of your day:
- Drink water. After sleeping for (hopefully!) eight hours, your body is dehydrated. Gulping down a glass of water immediately upon waking rehydrates and refreshes your body, which wakes you up and helps you feel good before you even kick the covers off.
- Set your intention. Benjamin Franklin asked himself every day, “What good shall I do this day?” Take the first few minutes of your day to do the same. You can do this by reciting your performance statement or choosing one small goal you’d like to accomplish over the course of your day.
- Stretch. After not moving for the whole night, your body is stiff and probably a little achy. Moving around and stretching can help combat that stiffness and wake you up with less effort than it takes to prepare a cup of coffee. Plus, it’ll feel great!
- Meditate. Even just a few minutes of deep breathing and reflection can have a positive effect on your mood that lasts all day. Sit up straight, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Try a Make Me Fabulous meditation if you’d like extra guidance.
- Get moving! Put on some high-energy music, kick those blankets off, and go! The hardest part of doing anything is starting, and that includes our morning routine. Don’t psych yourself out and go back to sleep, no matter how comfortable your bed is. You’ve got a whole day of opportunities waiting for you, but you have to get out of bed to take advantage of them.
Set yourself up for success the night before to make those first five minutes count
Making good decisions isn’t always easy, but one way to make it easier is to set yourself up for success. Like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and any preparation you can do the night before will help motivate you the next morning. The less thinking you have to do about your morning routine, the easier it will be, and the faster it will become second nature.
Things you can do the night before to make your morning routine more automatic:
- Get a water bottle and set it by your bed before you go to sleep. Make sure it’s within reaching distance so you can grab it the second you wake up.
- Gather your workout clothes and set them out where you’ll see them first thing in the morning. If you go to a gym, get your things together and set your gym bag right by the door, so you’ll have no excuses!
- Disconnect from all your electronic devices at least an hour before you go to sleep. The blue light emitted from your smartphone and computer confuses your body’s circadian rhythm, or the sleep/wake cycle, and can keep you awake.
The first five minutes of your day can change your life. What will you do with them?