How we start our day sets the tone for the way we spend the rest of it. Some days seem to start off on the wrong foot and then get a little worse as the day wears on. Other days start off on a high note and grow to become even better as the day unfolds. I believe we are all creative and powerful from the beginning to the end of each day.

Adopting the mindset that we have a say in how we write the script for our day is empowering. Sure, we don’t create the events around us, but we do have all the say in our perspective: how we see life, how we react to life and what we tell ourselves about the events happening around us.

With that idea in mind, the question can then become: how might I make today awesome?

These are three powerful practices I use to start my day. They help me set the tone for the day and make the most of the moments before me. Try them out and see how they fit for you.

1) Start Your Day With Gratitude

Before we start narrating stories in our minds about what we have to do, what isn’t going well or whatever worry may be about to take hold — just stop and breathe. As you inhale, take in the beauty of your surroundings. Maybe it is the sound of the birds chirping outside; perhaps it is the faces of your loved ones around you. Whatever it is for you, just notice it and breathe it in. As you exhale, release any tension or lingering thoughts about what isn’t going well. Exhale the stories out nice and smoothly and don’t allow any of them to land.

The next thing I like to do is to think of three things I am grateful for in my life. Sometimes I write them down, sometimes I silently think about them or say thank you out loud. The idea is to put our focus on what we love about our lives and life in general. This is a simple yet powerful way to inject gratitude in our day. It only takes a couple of minutes, yet the effects can be felt as they filter through the entire day.

2) Start Your Day By Setting Your Intention

The next practice is to set an intention for yourself and your day. This might be done right after your gratitude practice, while you are feeling the effects of focusing on what you love.

The idea behind setting an intention is to create a positive focus for your day. This focus will act as a reminder you can come back to throughout the day. Your intention can help you see people and the world around you in a different light.

Some examples of my favorite daily intentions include: Speak with kindness; give to others; breathe; have fun; maintain deep connection with loved ones; laugh a lot; focus on the solution; create a sense of accomplishment; drink more water; limit sugar and take a break from technology.

These are just some ideas to get your thoughts flowing to create an intention that feels right to you. I like to do this every day as a way of reminding myself how powerful my mindset is in guiding my experience of life. Our intention is incredible and we can use it as fuel to start our day in a way that sets us up to feel good.

3) Start Your Day With Self-Care

How we take care of our physical and emotional health is fundamental in how we feel as we travel through the day. It is so much easier and natural to enjoy our day when we take care of our bodies and do things that nurture our spirit. Of course, the opposite is also true; if we neglect our bodies and are critical of ourselves, it will become a bigger challenge to focus on everything that is so amazing about life. Thankfully, there are simple things we can do to start each morning to nurture our physical and emotional health.

I like to start the day with a big stretch and some deep breathing to connect to my physical senses. I also enjoy starting the day with a glass of water with fresh squeezed lemon. We can put rituals in place that we know feel good and make our bodies happy. I enjoy doing my exercise in the morning and that works really well for me. For others it may be packing exercise clothes to bring to work, or re-committing to a plan for exercise later in the day. This is going to look different for everyone and that is the great thing about self-care. With a self-care practice we have the opportunity to nurture ourselves in a way that is unique and personalized to us — it isn’t about anyone else.

Another gift we can give ourselves in the morning is a giant hug. Try it, it feels good! While you are doing that, think of three things you love about yourself. They might be basic things or perhaps you’ll think of your values and unique thumbprint you have in the world. Whatever it is for you, the main idea is to get into the habit of filling yourself up with self-love, and seeing yourself for the amazing person you are. I find when I start my day off with this practice, it becomes much easier to see the good in other people around me too.

A happy disposition is contagious. Each of us has the opportunity to start our day off in a way that gives us a deep sense of joy and a greater understanding of how incredibly amazing it is to be alive. How might you start your day today?


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Originally published at on April 13, 2016. Originally published at


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: