Think small tasks such as how you wake and conduct yourself in the morning are insignificant to your day? Think again.
There's a famous quote by Admiral William H. McRaven that will make you think differently.
"If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."
He continues: "By making your bed in the morning, you are accomplishing the first task of the day and that generates a small sense of pride, which encourages you to do another task, and another and another. By the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed."
He goes on to say, "Making your bed in the morning reinforces the fact that the little things in life matter. If by chance, you have a miserable day, you'll come home to a bed that is made. That you made. And, a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better."
It's kind of a full circle of empowerment. The first thing you do is make your bed in the morning and the last thing you do is enjoy getting into something you accomplished first thing in the day.
It embeds in you a much more positive feeling as you drift off to sleep.
Explaining through story how we must stand our ground and not exhibit fear when meeting an animal in the wild, McRaven compares these actions to how we must confront our everyday challenges and the "sharks" that are ever encircling our world. We must face them authentically and not exhibit fear or run.
Knowing how important it is to master the small tasks in our lives, one of the biggest mistakes any of us can make is in not developing a morning routine – one that helps us start the day on the right foot - with healthy actions.
Mornings are critical times, they set the tone for the entire day because our habits dictate our actions. Since the strength of our will-power is dictated by our energy reserves, we only have so much at any given time.
How we conduct ourselves in the morning is a huge contributing factor to how successful our day is and how much energy reserves we have for the rest of the day. The less we waste trying to organise and get out the door in the morning, the more reserves we have for confronting life's challenges with "right action" and "wise decision" as we navigate the day.
Think about your past chaotic mornings. Have you noticed that when chaos of some sort leads the way in the morning, it seems to take root throughout the day? In other words, what happens in the morning follows you around in attitude all day long? You seem to be fighting uphill battles and small molehills become mountains in your mind.
The reality is, when we don't start our day off on the right foot, our interactions throughout the rest of the day suffer. This leads to missed opportunities that cost time and money. And, worst of all, we end the day feeling regretful and unproductive – not a healthy mind-set to fall asleep with.
The best way to shift current unproductive mornings to productive ones is to take a hint from highly successful people such as famous Olympic athletes and business entrepreneurs.
They get up early, enjoy a healthy breakfast and get right to their workouts. They exercise first thing because they know it energises them. They are organised and know ahead of time what their goals are.
Their mornings are in order because they utilise time the night before to organise the next day. They lay out their clothes and know what breakfast they will eat before retiring for the night. All this organisation allows them time to focus on the important things in the morning.
Put a healthy morning routine at the top of your priority list and watch as you shift your life from one of wind-driven, chaotic, destructive actions to one of controlled, decisive, productive actions.
Honour your body and give it what it needs to empower you to success in all your endeavours. Energise it with nutrient dense foods and challenging exercise before starting your day.
Clear your mind and strengthen it with tools that reduce stress and put you in control by meditating for a short time, even if only a few minutes. By quieting your brain, you allow it to focus and feel centred before tackling the challenges of the day.
All this helps you think more effectively and efficiently and with such clarity of mind that important decisions throughout the day come easier. Creativity is heightened as well when the mind is peaceful and in the "flow".
Mastering the little things during the day, starting with those in the morning, is what leads to a healthy mindset and this healthy mindset is what helps us accomplish the big things in life.
In the end, skipping the little things is what leads to skipping the big things and, conversely, accomplishing the little things promotes accomplishing the big things.
Changing the world isn't about becoming famous. It's about what lies in the heart. And, believe it or not, it all starts by making your bed.
• Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness.