My best days are always the ones I look back on and think, “I gave it everything I had.” I don’t have to receive accolades. I don’t need someone else to make everything perfect. I just need to do my best, to do what I love, to relax and to know that I made a difference. And I can do that every single day!

So can you.

But getting your mind right for the big day isn’t easy. You need to believe that today can be the best. You need to have faith that you’ll do everything you can to live the life of your dreams. And you need a plan.

I have a best-day-ever plan that has a 100% success rate if I stick to it. Take it for yourself; tweak it; use what works and toss what doesn’t. I guarantee that you’ll find immense increases in your productivity and happiness. It might even be the best-day-ever plan that works for you.

Your new Best-Day-Ever Plan

1. Check your thoughts, not your messages

“Thoughts are like roses. Those that are gathered in the morning stay freshest and last the longest.”

The best days are products of proaction and reflection, not reaction. So forget about everything you “must”respond to—trust me, it can wait—and sort out your thoughts. Get focused on what your purpose is today, and how you’ll fulfill it.

My best days start with a damn good reason. I want to succeed so that I can be the most awesome, generous, fun-loving, useful, and rich uncle to my nephews, brother to my sisters, and son to my parents. I want to learn as much about my career so that I can share as much value as possible with the people who need what I have to offer. I want to give my best effort so that I can be an example to 100’s of 1,000s of millennials who need inspiration to pursue their dreams.

I visualize all of these things, and then boom!–I’ve got purpose and motivation for a best day. When I center my day around the needs of others, how my talents can supply those needs, I have an inexhaustible supply of energy, creativity, focus, and motivation to make shit happen.

So find your reasons to be your best. See yourself working towards your goals. See yourself accomplishing and making a difference to others. Smile about it, and know that you’ll give your absolute best today.

2. Affirmations

Once you have your reason, you need all the encouragement you can get to stick to your goals. Remind yourself how capable, confident, competent, useful, valuable, resilient, resourceful, courageous, creative, patient, perseverant, disciplined, balanced, energetic, focused, positive, and successful you really are. Go to the nearest mirror and tell yourself how much ass you’re going to kick today; fill yourself with the encouragement you need to give your best effort.

There will be challenges. Big challenges. There will be forces that attempt to keep you down, and prevent you from giving your best. But, if you have the positive attitude and self-encouragement, nothing can hold you back.

Take this time to congratulate yourself on the hard work that has brought this far. Appreciate all that you’ve done to advance your career and your life. Remind yourself that you can accomplish even more today, and that you’ll accept yourself no matter the outcome.

“The curious paradox is that once I accept myself, then I can change.” Carl Rogers

3. Write down your goals for today

Humans are goal oriented. We can laze around all day, but when you dangle a juicy goal in front of us, we’ll claw and tear and connive and strive to reach it. If you want to have the best day of your life, you have to have the right goals to motivate your best effort.

So write down all of those goals you need in order to become the happiest, healthiest, richest, most balanced, and most successful version of you today. (You can learn more about daily planning here.) Then make a commitment to accomplish as much as humanly possible, and to give your very best effort.

I have anywhere from 5-10 daily directives in my planner. If I’ve focused for hours on doing my best writing and editing, I’ll celebrate my effort, check off my work goals, then switch gears and focus other things that make me happy. This way I carry momentum and a sense of accomplishment, even when I’m checking off non-work related goals. Goals are goals, no matter the size, and your effort towards accomplishing them will add up to the best day of your life. I promise.

*Once you’ve completed a goal, take time to appreciate the accomplishment and to celebrate your effort; don’t just dive into the next task. This will help the accomplishments to sink in, and you’ll cultivate a positive and joyful attitude.

4. Relax

Many of you don’t know what this word means, so I’m gonna break it down:

Stop doing things. Breathe. Take time to appreciate what you love, and to take in your surroundings.

I know this contradicts a widely held American belief, but slowing down to enjoy life will not make the world stop. So after you eat lunch, or around two, find a stopping point and just be. Put on your favorite tunes, set up a pallet underneath your favorite tree or just recline on a couch. Give your brain some time to recuperate from the intense focus of the day. Think about the things you’re grateful for; smile. Visualize the fun things you’ll do at the end of the day, or week. Or hell, do the fun thing right now. Just take thirty minutes to break away from every form of work or communication. Sit with your thoughts. Appreciate your life. Relax, and recharge.

I can have the most productive day in my life, but if I skip my time to relax, I never feel as good or as satisfied as I could. This down time doesn’t seem proactive, but it is. Are you reacting or responding? No. You’re generating peace and presence. And you’re work will be better for it.

5. Limit your social media, email, and phone time.

BDE’s are the product of proaction, so it makes sense to limit everything that puts you into reaction mode. Turn off your cell phone, or at least the notifications. Forget about email and social media until you’ve accomplished several hours of real work. And even then, limit your total visits and time spent–otherwise you’ll distract yourself when you should be taking a second to breathe or just relax. (I suggest 3-5 communication checks per day for my clients.)

Imposing these limits will give you the freedom to put all of your energy into accomplishing the things you need to feel good.

6-Do natural movements throughout the day

We’re not designed to stagnate at a desk for 8 hours a day. We have muscles that need moved, lymph vessels that need pumped, and hormones that need to be circulated throughout our bodies.

We need consistent natural movement in order to feel the golden glow of a best-day-ever.So get an app that reminds you to get up and do some pushups and squats, or just set a timer for every 30 minutes.

Take a couple walks to break up the day. They don’t have to be long; 10-20 minutes will do. But the benefit is increased by moving through a natural environment, like woods, or a field. And, if you get the chance…sprint. Sprinting is the ultimate feel good activity—even better than smoking. And you only need to do it for 30 seconds to get a benefit. So put on your vibrams, change into some shorts, and hit up a park. Sprint for 50 meters, or a 100, then walk back until you catch your breath. I only have to do 2 sets to feel more vibrant, focused, and happy.

7-Be grateful

“A man’s not likely to be grateful for what he gets if he’s not thankful for what he has.”

You can do everything else to make your BDE, but if you skip gratitude, you’ll have nothing. And it’s so simple. All you need to do is reflect on the incredible things that life has given you, like your family, house, career, health, food, friends, hobbies, and anything else you can think of. Feel gratitude for the opportunities you’ve had to succeed, and for the things you’ve accomplished. Feel grateful for the good things that are coming your way. Feel grateful for this day, and for all the ass you’ve gotten to kick.

You have to practice the habit of feeling good about stuff if you want to feel good.

Practice gratitude in the morning, when you’re relaxing after lunch, before bed, and in any spare 10 second window that presents itself. If you find enough things to be grateful for—they’re around—no setback will keep you from the best day of your life.


This list has given me more BDEs than I can count; I regularly get 4-6 a week. And I’m not naturally a sunny person. Many days I’ll wake up feeling like a bag of hickory smoked buttholes. But if I stick to the plan, I always find a way to bring out my best. You can too.

Start today! Personalize the list, and make it perfect for you. If you can have the best day of your life, why not make it happen?

Originally published at


  • Daniel Dowling

    Performance Coach, Writer for Greatist,, Mindbodygreen, and FastCompany.

    Dan Dowling, here. I was the poster child for lost millennials - couldn’t keep a job…addicted to relationships…constantly checking social media and email. But when I got hungry enough for success as a writer, I gave up my distracted lifestyle and adopted one daily goal that changed my life forever: Do. Your. Best. Today, five years later, I’m a productivity coach who’s published on the world’s biggest sites (including Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Mindbodygreen), and I’m transforming lives through the best-effort, zero-distraction lifestyle that worked so well for me. Come and and learn how to always give your best at Millennial Success!