Excitement woke me up today Dad.

This morning I expected my son to sleep in. It’s weekend, he’s been working hard on too much school this week so I expected him to stay in bed longer and get up later.

But I turned around and there he was. When I asked him why he was up so early, he told me “Excitement woke me up.”

As a writer I’m always tuned in for words, phrases, and sentences that will jump off of a page and inspire thought and that one certainly did it for me. It got me thinking.

How long has it been since you could say excitement woke me up?

Most people need a screeching alarm, seven snoozes, and a very compelling reason to finally drag ourselves from the warm cocoon of our snuggly beds.

Our work doesn’t excite us, our lives stress us out, and for many there’s not much to look forward to once our eyes open and our feet hit the cold floor.

But it shouldn’t be that way. Excitement should wake you up too.

If it’s been a while since you’ve wanted to get out of bed and attack the day, here are some small changes you can make that will help you get excited and make today better than yesterday.

Be Grateful for the Day

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” —G.K. Chesterton

It’s easy to focus on the negative. The bills are due, the house is a mess, the teenager is talking back, the job is unfulfilling, the list goes on and on. Plus, on social media everyone else’s lives look so exciting compared to yours. It’s not hard to find something to complain about and it’s even easier to find people willing to complain.

But you don’t have to be one of them.

No one wants to hear your gripes, and that includes you.

So why not focus on what you are grateful for?

Try rolling out of bed with this simple prayer: Thank you God for the breath in my lungs and the beat of my heart.

Sounds simple and silly, but think about it. If you wake up, it’s a gift. That means you can live, laugh, and love today. You can find someone to encourage. You can share your smile. You can build up instead of tearing down.

Start by making a list of ten things you are grateful for. They can be big or small, like:

  • An exciting opportunity

  • A meal

  • A conversation

  • An encounter with a stranger

  • A connection with a friend

  • A song you love

  • A bird at the birdfeeder

  • A kiss from your spouse

  • A novel that you can’t wait to get lost in

  • An opportunity to do good work

  • A pair of warm socks

Your list is your own, but developing a spirit of gratitude goes a long way towards shaping your outlook on your day. Try it each day this week and see what happens.

Know What Lights Your Fire

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” —Mark Twain

Have you ever thought about what you really love in life? I’m not talking about the people you love, although that’s important too. I’m talking about what lights your fire.

Most people don’t. They go to school, get a job, and climb the so-called ladder of success only to realize it’s leaning against the wrong building. It’s tough to know what you want for your life unless you continually evaluate and re-evaluate where you’re headed.

But that takes courage and a willingness to make changes. Sometimes big, scary changes.

In my own life I’ve made some of those changes. Here’s a crazy list:

  • As a high-schooler I worked with my dad and learned carpentry. I became a trim carpenter and worked on new, residential construction.

  • I also worked in a warehouse for a company that sold muscle car parts. I worked shipping and receiving.

  • I got a degree in business and went to work selling building products. Although I grew up in the deep south, I connected with customers in the northeast U.S.

  • I owned my own construction and remodeling company

  • I set up and managed a non-profit thrift store.

  • After getting my master’s degree from seminary I was ordained as a minister.

  • I taught GED students part time.

  • I became lead instructor at a program that helped at-risk youth obtain a GED and then develop the life-skills necessary for college or the workforce.

  • I became a content writer for a well-known leadership expert.

  • I lost that job and became a freelance writer.

  • I’m working now with an organization that allows me to build websites, create sales funnels, develop courses, collaboratively write books, build membership sites, write sales and video scripts, develop brand clarity, and more.

  • Now, I’ve got a crazy idea to write fiction.

That’s just the first twenty-five years of my work. As you can see, it’s ever evolving and ever changing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Find out what lights your fire and make a plan to go do that thing. Life’s too short to waste your time doing something you don’t enjoy.

Start here:

  1. Make a list of things you loved doing as a kid. How many of those do you do today? Sprinkle some back in and see what happens.

  2. Make a list of all the things you are good at that come naturally to you. They won’t feel like work, because they are easy, but they will bring the highest reward. Find a way to do more of these things.

  3. Eliminate something. What are you doing now that doesn’t bring you joy? Can you get rid of it and pass it off to someone else? Chances are good that someone enjoys that thing you don’t.

Do the Work that Matters

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The older I get the more I realize that I’ve got to do work that matters.

If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning it could be because what you are doing doesn’t matter. I’m not saying you don’t matter. You do. You were uniquely created to do something that only you can do.

That’s why it’s critical that you do it. No one else will.

So what work matters to you?

Perhaps its:

  • Being a great husband and father

  • Being a great wife and mom

  • Becoming an entrepreneur that builds a successful business

  • Writing a book

  • Composing a song

  • Planting a garden

  • Volunteering somewhere

  • Being a door greeter at Walmart

  • Writing notes to people

  • Encouraging others

  • Being the top salesperson in your office

Again, this is your list, not mine. That’s the great thing about finding what matters. Everyone’s list looks different. That’s why the world is such an amazing place. We aren’t all the same. Thank goodness or nothing would get done.

What matters to you?

Tomorrow, make a commitment to yourself to wake up excited. 

Carpe diem. 

Find what makes you you and pursue it with reckless abandon.

You’ll jump out of bed excited and the world won’t know what hit ‘em.

Want a Kick in the Pants on a Regular Basis?

Come visit me here to get connected, change your life, and if all goes according to plan—change the world.