How we start our day determines how we create our life
- The hostility towards Mondays is an issue equivalent to the lack of motivation in the morning
- Often we’re dissatisfied with our job/going to school and don’t see any meaning in it
- The realization that we live only once and life is limited greatly boosted my motivation
- First, before you go to bed, write down what you can look forward to tomorrow
- Second, create a morning routine that makes you excited to wake and start the day
- Third, develop a strong why and strive for it
I recently received a message from a subscriber and reader of this blog/newsletter. It revolved around the question of how to get up fully motivated every morning. That made me thinking.
Back in the days when I was a youth, I had a really hard time getting up and making myself ready for the day. I had to not only wake up quite early in the morning but also go to school. These factors combined were a huge downer. I didn’t like going to school. And who likes to wake up at 5.30 am?
Today, it’s a whole different story. There’re days, I cannot wait to start into the day. Just lately, I happened to wake up 1 hour before my alarm and was so excited that I couldn’t get back to sleep and started my day.
In this week’s blog article, I want to discuss why we hate Mondays and have problems being motivated in the morning, why we should make every day count, and how we can be more motivated starting our day.
Why do we hate Mondays?
Are you one of these people cheering for the weekend and fearing the beginning of a new week?
The hostility towards Mondays is an issue equivalent to the lack of motivation in the morning. In both cases, there’re 3 major causes:
First, the activities we spend the most time on are dissatisfying. Whether it’s dissatisfaction with our job or school – we invest the vast majority of our time awake into something we don’t enjoy. I really disliked going to school. I had to learn a lot of things that I didn’t want to and in which I didn’t see any meaning. Even worse, going and learning for school took most of my lifetime. Hence, it’s no surprise I had issues motivating myself. Many people – and probably you as well – are in a job or study a major that isn’t enjoyable and thus face this struggle, too.
Second, it’s that we not only are dissatisfied with these activities but also don’t see a meaning in them. Purpose is the key to motivation. Once we see meaning in something, ascribe a purpose to it, we’ll be nurtured with loads of motivation. The stronger the purpose, the greater the boost of motivation. Unfortunately, many people struggle to find meaning in the things they do. I used to struggle as well. It’s not easy to reflect on why we do the things we do. Yet, having a clear answer to the question of why or realizing that there’s no meaning can have a huge impact.
Third, too little sleep. That’s the most obvious cause why we’re not motivated on Mondays or generally in the morning. According to science, a lack of sleep causes a statistically significant drop in happiness and well-being. Going late to bed or partying the whole weekend leads to less sleep than we need, and, therefore, we lack motivation.
Make every day count
What greatly helped me to tackle my lack of motivation in the morning was to realize that (1) we lived only once and (2) life is limited. Sooner or later we will die. Sooner or later it’ll be over. The only challenge we have is to make the majority of the days that we have left good days (otherwise, being alive doesn’t make that much sense, right?).
Of course, we cannot simply change all circumstances at once, e.g. quit our job, don’t go to school again, etc.; however, we can work towards a life full of good days. In my case that looked like the following when I was in school:
I thought about how my ideal life in 5 years, i.e. with ~23, would look like. I wanted to work for a major consultancy, solve problems I’d love to solve, be in shape, have a good relationship with my family, and be surrounded by great friends. I knew that I had to work my ass off in school to get a scholarship so that I could finance my Bachelor’s. I knew that I had to do sports (lifting/bodybuilding) regularly and eat accordingly to get in shape. I knew that I had to study something where I expected like-minded people to make great friends.
I still didn’t like going to school, but suddenly, I was fueled with motivation. I wanted to make every day count. I was on a path to a life where Mondays felt like Saturdays and going to bed and waking up felt great because a new day was ahead.
Today, living the life I dreamed of 5 years ago, still not every day is a good day, but I truly love Mondays and appreciate every single morning as it were my last one.
Be more motivated starting the day
If you want to start your day full of motivation, I have 3 suggestions that work great for me:
First, before you go to bed, write down what you can look forward to tomorrow. I’ve got a daily reflection routine during which I ask myself multiple short questions. 1 of those is the question “What can you look forward to tomorrow?”. I take 1 minute to brainstorm at least 3 things that will be part of the day ahead and make me happy, such as a nice cup of coffee, time with my girlfriend, a push workout, a call with my mother, hanging out with a friend, etc. There’s always something you can look forward to, and by focusing on the positive things ahead, you can boost your motivation.
Second, create a morning routine that makes you excited to wake and start the day. Think about things you love doing, such as a nice cup of tea, a delicious breakfast, or texting your friends. Incorporate at least one of those into a new morning routine you create. For instance, when I wrote my bachelor thesis, I made a large cup of black tea, which made me really excited to get up in the morning. Nowadays, I do sports in the morning. Even though I don’t like working out that early, completing my workout gives me so much energy and motivation for the day ahead that I cannot wait to wake up and accomplishing it.
Third, develop a strong why and strive for it. I am strongly convinced that there is no universally valid purpose in life. It all comes down to what we want to do with the years that were given to us in this world. Developing a clear purpose, though, gives us a great amount of energy and motivation.
To find your purpose in life, ask yourself how you want to bequeath this world. What should this world look like when you leave it in a few decades? At the same time ask yourself, for whom do you want to be there and what are you willing to give for this world? With your actions today, you will shape the world of countless generations of tomorrow. When you become aware of this truth and find an answer to the question of why you want to live in our world, you found the purpose of your life.
The bulk of decisions are like shirts. You try one and if you don’t like it, swap it. The stakes are low, so optimize for