The internet has an abundance of articles about morning routines and ideal days. We read this stuff with positive intent, with the hope that it will teach us something that we don’t already know. I know I’ve fallen into this trap time and time again.
But like most things, you’re on a high for a total of three hours before you fall back into your old routines, and once again breaking trust with yourself and expanding your expectation gap.
I thought it would be handy to break down these ideas and concepts into a quick ten-point ideal day checklist. I want to use this as a framework to be accountable and take action.
Below you’ll find my ideal day checklist. Most of these items have come from this piece written by Joshua Becker over at Becoming Minimalist. It’s essentially a list of all of the things we know we should be doing every day but it’s not happening.
At the end of the post, I reveal my score from yesterday (which may or may not be surprising), and I’m interested to see how you went as well 🙂
1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep
According to Healthline, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, stress and cancer. Rest is an area that has alluded me for years. I’m a content junky, so I’m always thinking and plotting ideas before going to sleep.
I probably average 5–6 hours of sleep each night, which isn’t good enough. If you’re in the same boat, try sleeping at the same time each night and create a bedtime routine to relax you.
Update: we published a post about how to get 8 hours of sleep consistently.
2. Rise early
This point has a direct link to item #1. If you’re getting to bed consistently at a decent hour, you give yourself every chance to rise early and own your time.
Between work, school and family, it can sometimes seem impossible to find time for yourself. One of the best things you can do for your health is waking up 30–60 minutes earlier than everyone else so you can focus on self-development.
3. Exercise and stretch
We all know the importance of moving and stretching your body, but still, for many of us, it’s not happening enough. Try to take away any objections by performing low-involvement activities, such as walking, yoga and pushups. The more steps you have to complete to exercise, the less likely you are to stick to the habit.
4. Eat well
What does eating well mean exactly? It means eating as many whole organic foods as possible and listen to how your body responds to certain foods.
How you digest certain food is a good indication of whether your body likes it or not. But you know the drill—eat more veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and you’ll be fine.
5. Do one thing that you love
If you’re getting enough sleep and rising early, you should find some extra time in your day to do one something that you love. This could be playing with your children/pets, reading a fantastic novel, or watching your favourite TV show. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you genuinely enjoy.
6. Accomplish one important task
Mistaking trivial tasks for essential tasks is easy. Unimportant tasks are things that add little value. This typically includes emails, meetings, cleaning, web browsing.
Essential tasks, on the other hand, create breakthroughs and are often much harder to do. That’s why we put them off. This could be having a tough conversation with a family member, a friend or colleague. It could be writing 1000 words for your report, essay, journal or book. Or it could mean to finally finish building the deck which is now two months overdue.
Quick note: I find that when I accomplish at least one big task for the day, I sleep much better.
7. Be present with others
Turn off your phone, stop what you’re doing and focus on being present with those around you. Look in their eyes, listen to what they have to say, go deep in whatever you’re doing. We live for connection, let’s not gloss over it.
8. Give to someone else
How can you be of service? Ask this question every day. This could mean helping someone with an errand, paying-it-forward at the gas station, or simply being there for a friend who is in need.
9. Practice gratitude
Spend time each day, appreciating the fact that you can still breathe. You can do this in many ways; whether it’s journaling, looking up at the stars, meditating, whatever it is, build this into your daily routine.
So you’ve been blessed with another day of life. You’ve put your mind and body through a lot today, and now it’s time to reset and wind down. Switch off electronics, put things back in their place and start your evening routine.
What’s your score?
Out of this 10-point ideal day checklist, how many are you doing on a daily basis?
- Get at least 8 hours sleep
- Rise early
- Eat well
- Do one thing you love
- Accomplish one big task
- Be present with others
- Give to someone else
- Practice gratitude
Leave your score from yesterday in the comment section below.
Here’s mine: 7 out of 10
Now I know what I need to be mindful of, and I hope you do too.