10 Simple Things You Can Do To Set Yourself Up For A Good Day

Days typically fall into three different categories: the good, the bad, and those that land in between, those ho-hum days that just aren’t memorable. Experiencing all three types at one point or another is simply part of being human.

We all live through our fair share of good, bad, and in-the-middle days, and we have become comfortable with that. We’ve come to terms with the fact that not all days are good; some are bad, and some are just so-so. We’ve accepted this as just how it is, and we’ve become complacent about changing the outcome of our days.

Do we all have bad days?

Everyone has bad days. They are challenging, but they are a part of life. To be cliché, one could say that experiencing bad days allows us to truly value and cherish the good days.

Recall a day you’ve recently lived that you would label as “bad.” The day didn’t run smoothly, you spilled your coffee on your desk, you forgot to let the dog out in the morning, your lunch order was missing your favorite component, you lost your keys, you couldn’t get your car started. There are many things that can happen that completely throw your day for a loop.

These events are difficult to manage. They often spring up unwarranted and undetected and we don’t see them coming. They set us in a wonky trajectory, and they are precursors for a typical bad day. A day where seemingly everything goes wrong and nothing seems to be working for us.

What are unmemorable days? 

Unmemorable days are lackadaisical. These days are very common and frequently make an appearance in our lives. A good chunk of our time is spent on days like this; days that feel like they are in-between, grey, forgettable.

These are the days that make up the majority of our time. They are categorized as normal and boring, and they don’t leave enough of an impression for us to tuck them away in our minds. They’re ordinary; not worth remembering.

What are good days? 

Now think back over the past month or so and pull a good day out of your memory bank. “Good” can be subjectively defined by each individual person, but a good day is often described as happy, fulfilling, joyful, fun, energizing, productive, or any other upbeat and positive adjective that surfaces when you think of a good day.

Good days are full of things that go right. You remember the days where your schedule flows seamlessly, the days where nothing goes unhitched, the days where everything clicks into place. Your mood is sunny; you exude happiness and warmth because that’s how you’re feeling inside on a good day.

We’re not talking about best-day-of-your-life types of days here; those days are typically rarities that occur not because of something you did, but because the universe was working in your favor. We’re talking about the better-than-average day that you are more likely to remember than an ordinary or bad day. While not fully, to some degree we are able to manifest these types of good days.

How can I control my day? 

We don’t have to settle for feeling stuck in the humdrum of an ordinary day. We don’t have to sit miserably and fester on a bad day. We have some power and control over our days, and we need to harness and utilize the resources we have at our disposal.

Here are 10 simple things you can do to set yourself up for a good day.

1. Make a plan the day before

Some people operate very efficiently when a schedule is in place, and some work better when things are freer and more flowing. Regardless of which type of person you are, make a plan in advance for your day, preferably the night before. Plan to have a structured schedule that allows you to accomplish every task you’d like to complete or plan to have a loose schedule that allows you the freedom to complete your to-do list as the day's progression naturally flows.

Either way, setting a plan for your days gives it direction. You’re not aimlessly going through the day, unsure of what’s happening or what needs to get done, but you’re fully aware and present in your actions, confident of what you’ve set out to accomplish.

Having a plan leads to feelings of satisfaction. Whether you’re planning a full day of running errands and cleaning the house, or you’re planning an all-day Netflix binge-watch marathon, your day is clear and focused and you don’t feel like you didn’t get to do what you wanted to do.

Make a plan and do your best to stick with it, while accommodating the fact that life may throw you a curveball that could throw off your day. However, it’s better to have a plan than to not have one at all.

2. Pick your clothes out the night before

Picking your clothes out the night before can be an unanticipated godsend in the morning. You never know what might happen in the morning that could throw off your entire day, and if you have to spend time picking out what you’d like to wear, that can cause higher stress, frustration, and anxiety that you wouldn’t have to deal with if you’d picked your clothes out the night before.

Something that takes so little time can sometimes turn into a more drawn-out situation than you initially thought. In the morning, you pull an outfit from your closet and put it on, but it just doesn’t feel right. You discard the offending clothes and try for another set. However, you get the same feeling; this is just not the outfit for today.

You end up spending 20 minutes or more going through this routine, pushing the start of your day back further than you planned.

Take the time the night before to plan out what you’re going to wear the next day. This will allow you some extra time to settle on an outfit, and if you’re the type who still wants options in the morning, pick out three outfits and have them laid out and ready to go for the morning. This way all you have to do at the start of your day is get dressed instead of spending unnecessary time browsing through your closet.

3. Get a good night's sleep

Too often we underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. We give ourselves four hours of sleep because we’re so busy, we need as much time as possible to get as much done as we can. Many of us have fallen prey to this idea, that we can properly function on a handful of hours’ sleep, but this practice couldn’t be more inaccurate.

We know how we feel those days following a night of little sleep. We’re groggy, irritable, sluggish, and don’t have the energy to power through the day. Lack of sleep causes carelessness, inability to pay attention, and a complete zapping of positive energy. You just feel drained and you’re unable to go about your day in a normal fashion.

Time and time again, research points to the truth: we need more sleep. As humans, we should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night in order to operate at our peak performance the following day.

This is something to be taken seriously; no more relying on coffee the next day to power you through. If you want to set yourself up for a good day, get your sleep.

4. Wake up early (or at least on time) 

That snooze button is so inviting; it promises us another 10 minutes of blissful sleep, and it’s always there. We can push it as many times as we’d like, and it affords us moments of peace and serenity. That is until we realize we’ve snoozed 6 times and are now an hour behind schedule.

Setting the intention to wake up on time, or even better, early, is a beneficial one. Waking up early allows you more time to get more things done, especially if you’re the type who is always finding ways to be productive. You’re able to get a quick workout in, spend some time journaling, catch up on a work assignment, or simply just sit with a coffee and watch the sunrise. These are all therapeutic and positive ways to start your day.

If you know yourself and know that there’s no way you’ll ever be an early bird, set the intention to wake up on time. Don’t give in to the temptation of the snooze button. Don’t let yourself drift off and fall into the trap of “just 10 more minutes.”

Commit to waking up when your alarm goes off the first time, and because getting up on time diminishes unnecessary stress resulting from waking up late, this will set you up for a good day.

5. Eat a good breakfast

We are all too familiar with that feeling of being hangry; you’ve skipped breakfast to save time and you’ve gone too long without eating before it’s lunchtime. You grab whatever is closest or most convenient (often fast food or a vending machine snack) and your hunger is temporarily satisfied, but you’re left feeling sluggish and ready for a nap.

Skipping breakfast may save you time in the morning, but the outcome is not worth it. If you skip breakfast and wait too long before you get something in your stomach, you can fall into a low blood sugar zone, you can feel faint and tired, you can have difficulty focusing, and of course, you can become that hangry person that no one wants to be around.

Eating a well-balanced and hearty breakfast in the morning sets your day on the right foot. You’re fueling your body with efficient nutrients that will allow you to have the energy necessary to carry you through to lunchtime. Starting your day with a nutritious breakfast is a small way you can set yourself up for a good day.

6. Plan ahead for meals and snacks

As mentioned prior, it’s highly important to eat a quality breakfast in the morning. In addition, it’s imperative that you plan meals and snacks according to your schedule for the day. If you know you’re going to be away from the house all day, pack with you what you can, or plan places you can go to pick food up in a pinch.

Nourishing your body should be a priority, and you don’t want to feed your body too much caffeine or high-volume sugary foods in order to keep it running throughout the day. Intentionally feeding yourself fruits and vegetables, starches and fats, proteins and some sugars will allow your body to function to the best of its ability.

Making sure you’re receiving the fuel needed to operate smoothly and effectively is not something to approach lightly. Making the intention to plan and pack meals and snacks for your day will give you the necessary fuel that provides the energy you need to perform your daily tasks.

A nourished body is a happy body. Plan ahead to feed yourself with a variety of foods at regular intervals in the day, and this will enhance your good day.

7. Listen to an uplifting podcast 

Listening to music is great, but sometimes it’s fun to change things up and listen to a positive podcast. The great thing about podcasts is that there’s one out there for literally everything. Every possible interest, hobby, social movement, political stance, and news outlet can be found in a podcast.

Whatever intrigues you, there’s a podcast covering it. You can learn new things, listen to story-telling, delve into true crime, or disappear into a guilty pleasure.

Podcasts are great for listening to when you’re getting ready in the morning or when you’re stuck in traffic on the way to work.

Not only are they entertaining, but they leave you feeling like you used your time wisely. You could have sat in silence or listened to music, but you chose to listen to a podcast that taught you something, made you feel a certain way, made you think about something differently, or simply just entertained you.

Find something you’re curious about a do some podcast research. There’s a podcast out there for everybody, and they’re an easy and painless way to brighten your day.

8. Play upbeat and happy music 

One of the simplest things you can do to set yourself up for a good day is playing uplifting music while you’re getting ready in the morning.

There is power in music. The mood of the song permeates your mind and becomes your mood. If you listen to sad songs long enough, you’ll find yourself in a melancholy mood. In contrast, if you listen to happy and upbeat music, it’s hard to fight the smile that wants to spread across your face as you sing and hum along.

Happy music first thing in the morning sets you down the path for a good day because it simply lifts your spirits. If you start the day with positivity, it will manifest itself throughout the rest of your day. You’ll carry yourself with confidence and joy; your mood will contagiously spread to those around you, improving others’ day as well as your own.

9. Listen to a short mindfulness meditation before you leave 

Many people find meditation difficult; keeping your brain still and quiet, even for five minutes, is often a challenging task. We think about everything on our to-do list for the day, we worry about upcoming events, and plan for our day, and we ruminate on past and future-focused thoughts.

However, research shows that meditation is an excellent way to calm your brain and focus yourself on the present moment.

We don’t often enough take the time to sit still and allow our brains to just be. We’re focused on so many other things when our brains just want a break. We need to allow them at least five minutes a day of meditation in order to find a moment of peace, so we can think more clearly, work more efficiently, and generally feel calmer.

Find a short five-minute meditation on YouTube or Spotify (or just Google free meditations) and commit to sitting without distraction with this meditation before you leave your house for the day. This will set you up for a good day, in that this time will be appreciated by your brain, and your brain will, in turn, thank you for taking care of it by operating clearly for you throughout the day.

10. Plan one fun thing for the day that is non-negotiable

Working a 9-5, taking care of children, running errands, cleaning the house, and physically taking care of yourself always seem to take precedence over having fun. We say we’re too busy for fun, we have too many things to do, and we just simply don’t have the time.

However, the fun doesn’t have to be anything big. Fun can be sitting in peace with your cup of coffee for ten minutes before your day begins. Fun can be meeting a friend for lunch or going for a short walk during your meal break. Fun can be getting your nails done or getting a massage, sitting down for an hour to read a good book, or taking a bath.

Find something fun you enjoy and plan that into your day. If you start your day with the intention of allowing yourself some fun later in the day, this will help keep you in good spirits, knowing you have something enjoyable coming your way.

Plan a little fun into your day and you’ll add some sunshine that fuels you with happy energy, ensuring a good day.

Life is hard. We know that bad days happen; they’re unavoidable. However, with these 10 small and simple things, we can more efficiently and effectively set ourselves up in the best way possible to have better days more regularly.

happy woman
Photo by nappy from Pexels
Eden is a 26-year-old Aries who loves learning and exploring mental health, self-love, self-care, and eating disorder recovery.

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