How to Jump Start Your Day

Have you ever noticed how important it is to have a solid start to your day? This morning I started this article and I woke up feeling full of energy. Deep down I knew that today was going to be an awesome day. I’m sure you’ve had days like that too.

Think back to the last time you did something exciting. Maybe you were on a dream vacation, getting a fresh start to a new job, or even went to visit someone you hadn’t seen in a long time.

Have you ever had those feeling deep down that everything was perfect? Kind of like when you were a kid on Christmas, waking up at 5a.m. to see what Santa brought?

Well that’s exactly how I felt this morning. I felt fantastic and it all began that minute I woke up.

Now I might be totally off here. You might not be a morning person. You may wake up at the beginning of the week and say to yourself, “Not another Monday.”

And the moment you do that you’re focused on what is not working and how crappy things are. You’re focused on the things that you don’t want!

Tap into that Inner Voice

Our guide through all of this is that tiny voice in our heads. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the same voice that is reading this article right now. If you haven’t found it, just stop and listen to it as you’re reading.

Did a little voice in your head just say, “What little voice?” That’s the little voice I’m talking about. There it is. It was there the whole time. You may never have realized that you talk to yourself.

Guide Your Inner Voice

Back when I was in University I was required to take a computer-programming course. I had failed the first time through and was participating in the course for the second time.

Exam day came, and I was extremely nervous. When the exam started I noticed that everyone seemed to be really focused. Everyone was into it. Everyone except me and the guy next to me.

An hour into the exam and I still hadn’t written a thing. The guy next to me had given up and left the exam room.

When this happened I started to panic. I began thinking about what was going to happen if I failed the exam. That tiny little voice in my head started to quiver. It nervously said: “If I fail the exam, then I will fail this course. If I fail this course, then I will fail out of engineering, and if I fail out of engineering then I will have to move home and get a job. Maybe work at a gas station or something. I wonder if there are any good gas stations jobs I could get?”

I really started to freak out as I glanced up at the clock. It was halfway through the exam and I hadn’t written a thing.

It was in that moment that I realized something. I thought to myself, “I wonder what a smart guy would do in a situation like this?” Immediately, an image of my roommate flashed into my head.

The previous night, he had said to me, “Steve, you’ll be fine. You’ve spent a lot of time preparing for this exam. If you were able to do the assignments, then you’ll be able to do the exam.”

That was when things began to turn for the better. It was in that moment that I started to ask better questions. I realized that my roommate was right. I’ve done this before, so why couldn’t I do it now?

I kept repeating those words to myself in my minds-ear. I kept repeating what my roommate had said until that tiny incapable voice grew into a loud determined voice.

Suddenly, everything was flowing and I was writing. I had started the exam. I began with the first question and then continued to the next. I completed the entire exam and I felt good about it.

A couple of weeks later I received my marks and I had passed. Not too shabby. It was better than working at a gas station :)

The point is that I was able to redirect my thinking and pull together the appropriate resources to get the job done.

One of the more effective ways to do this deliberately is by asking more effective questions. Here are a few you can try, courtesy of author and counselor Dr Nate Booth:

Jump Start Your Day Questions

  • What am I most grateful for in my life today?
  • Whose day can I make today and how will I do it?
  • What am I proudest of in my life today?
  • Who can I compliment today?
  • What am I most passionate about in life?
  • How can I learn and grow today?
  • How can I contribute to others?

Try these out and have fun with them. Remember, in those last few moments, right before you wake, you choose how your day is going to go.

How will you start your day?


  • Janet

    Reply Reply April 6, 2007

    Hi Steve, great post! Coincidentally, a day when I totally woke up on the wrong side of the bed (for no apparent reason, really). Nice perspective.

  • Francois Layton

    Reply Reply April 6, 2007

    This was a great post. I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I consider myself to be a morning person, but for months, despite getting up relatively early (6am) I was stuck in a disempowering routine – shower, breakfast, surf the net for no reason, basically waste an hour, then start work around 7:30 or 8. The later my day would start, the more “guilty” I would feel for wasting my morning, and the less productive my day would be.
    But for the past 3 weeks now, I’ve made a conscious decision to study programming for 2 hours before I start work every day. I now get up at 5:15am, have a shower, quick breakfast, relax for about 10-15 minutes and then from 6-8 I study. You’d think I SHOULD get tired easier after this routine, but what I’ve found is that I’m actually way more productive throughout the day, and I can stay focused and motivated easily until 5pm.
    It all starts with waking up being excited about what I’m going to do today. That sets up being excited and motivated for the entire day.

    Anyways, again, great blog post!

  • Michele

    Reply Reply February 25, 2008

    Hi Steve, Thank you for this post. This shows me something in myself actually….that I stand still instead of moving on into action. It applies to so many areas in my life. What you wrote here got me thinking. Today is the first day I actually tried to apply myself and add actions to my thoughts. You are helping people. I discovered your blog doing an internet search about the jars. I am so glad I found this. You are inspiring me!

  • Steve

    Reply Reply February 25, 2008

    Michele – thanks for contributing.

  • BJ Odum

    Reply Reply April 24, 2009

    Steve, I think you are on to something…. To be so young and so wise! Impressive.

  • Steve, this is a great example of the power of positive thinking! Also, I think something that you certainly realize but glossed over a little in your post was how valuable your thinking was towards your focus as well. If you are confident and oriented to the task in front of you, you will see wondrous improvement.

    Great post, I’ll definitely have to check out some more of the articles.

  • lisa

    Reply Reply March 21, 2013

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.
    I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will often come back from now on.

    I want to encourage you continue your great writing, have a nice day!

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