5 Questions to Win Every Morning

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The questions you ask matter.

In everything you attempt to do – build a romance, form a new habit, negotiate a big deal, wake up, solve a problem, or increase productivity – learning to ask the right questions will make you more effective, happier, and fulfilled.

This article discusses five questions that will help you win every morning.

How you feel when you wake up is unpredictable. While some mornings you might feel happy, excited, and alert, on others you will feel groggy, anxious, and stressed. This is natural. But the morning is too important to leave up to chance.

The morning is a time to ground yourself and start the day on your own terms. If you win the morning, you win the day.

Below are five questions to help you win every morning. It’s most effective to write down the answers. These questions will help break any negative feelings and enhance the positive ones.

1. What am I grateful for?

Practicing gratitude is one of the best, science-backed ways to improve your life. Each morning, write down one to three things you are grateful for. You will be happier, healthier, and ready to embrace the day’s challenges. According to Harvard Medical School researchers, “gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” And most of us have a tremendous amount to be grateful for. Whether it’s warm clothes and food to eat or great friends and good health, there are things to be grateful for if you learn to see through this lens. This practice of writing down what you are grateful for will carry you through the times when life is not perfect and enhance those when life is going well.

2. What am I excited about?

Remember waking up for the holidays when you were a kid? Those were exciting times. As adults, we can have this same level of excitement in our lives. Every morning, write down at least one thing you are excited about. Whether it’s a date with a new friend, an upcoming vacation, or a cool project at work, find the event that you are jazzed about. You will bring a refreshing level of enthusiasm to your life. If you find that you struggle to identify something you are excited about for too many days, then it’s time to reflect on how you can start doing more of the things you love.

3. Who did I help yesterday?

Contribution is essential to what it means to be a human. Contribution makes you feel good and leaves another person is better off. Find small ways to pay it forward every single day. Every morning, write down who you helped the previous day. Perhaps you helped a coworker set goals, connected your friend with the HR department, or prepared a nice meal for your family. On some days, you might have even helped yourself by giving yourself the sleep you needed or the time to relax and unwind. And that’s perfectly okay. If you contribute every day, the world will be a much better place.   

4. What did I learn yesterday?

Writer James Altucher says that “many people die at 25 but are not put in the coffin until 75. The learning stopped for them early.” Don’t die at 25. Become a lifelong learner. Build the habit of reflecting every morning and writing what you learned the day before. This process will help you understand and digest your life on a daily basis. Over time, you’ll notice patterns that might inform your next career move or side project. And consistent learning has unlimited positive benefits, including more income, motivation, excitement, and connection with others. Learn to find wisdom in even the most mundane days.

5. What are 3 things that will make today awesome?

Ever finished a day feeling unfulfilled, even when you accomplished everything on your to-do list?  Often, this is because you failed to clarify what is important and instead focused on what is urgent, but not important. Before diving into email or meetings, write down the three actions for that day that will enable you to go to bed feeling fulfilled. Do not let anything stop you from completing those three actions. These can be actions like building out a presentation for your boss, reading to your son for an hour, or finishing the novel you’re excited about. The important part is determining the most important tasks and getting them done before the day to day noise gets in the way.

Write down the questions to these five questions every morning. No matter how you feel when you wake up, this practice will help you tap into an appreciative, excited, reflective, contribution-oriented, and focused self. And that person will win the morning and the day.

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