How many times have you had someone ask, “How was your day?”? Does this happen to you almost every day? For some of us, we are asked multiple times, and we start to give pat answers. “It was fine.” “It was good.” “It was OK.” And sometimes, that’s all we say out loud. But what do you say to yourself? Remember, your words to yourself are important.

When you look back over the day, how do you rate it? Was it a rough day? Did something happen to derail you? Was it really a great day? I want to give you five things that you can do every day that will make it a great day. If you do these five things consistently, every day, they will start to become a habit, and pretty soon you’ll look back over your weeks and months and realize that you have changed.

So here we go:

How to make it a great day - #1
Wake up with gratitude.

When you wake up in the morning, I encourage you to develop the habit of being grateful. I call this the attitude of gratitude, and the way it works for me is to use the two by four method. I divide my life into two categories – people and things – and I name four people who I appreciate and I name four things that make me grateful. I try to do this before I even get out of bed. If you forget, then post a note on your bathroom mirror that just says ‘2 x 4’ You’ll know what it means – two categories, then four names and four things.

Most days, I try to be creative and come up with different people, because I have hundreds of people who have impacted my life for years. There’s my fifth grade teacher who made me learn all the states and their capitals – and how to spell them! It wasn’t fun then, but I have used that knowledge for the last three decades. Who knew that I would be traveling to all those states? There’s the guy at the bank who set up an account for me and has even stayed late for me when I was coming in from the airport on a quick overnight. There’s the person I call when I need a phone number, and the one I call when I need wise counsel. There’s the person who always is happy to see me, the one who supports me, and the one who helped me start a business when I was twenty-four. There are so many people I appreciate and naming four each day makes me see that my life is much more rich with friends than I realized.

Then I name four things – four blessings in my life. And the list is endless. I am blessed to be able to walk, to have a voice, and to have an audience. I am blessed to have transportation. I am blessed to know how to read. I am blessed to be able to smell bacon cooking! I am blessed to be able to travel the world, and I am blessed to have running water.

What happens every day, is that I start thinking of people that I appreciate and the many ways I am blessed, and then it’s very easy to begin my day looking up. When you start with gratitude, you are focused for a great day.

How to make it a great day - #2
Do something good for your body.

Every day, do something that will promote health in your body. It’s the only body you have, and you should take care of it. Here are a few ideas. Take a walk, eat a healthy meal, spend a few minutes quietly relaxing. If you are not accustomed to doing something to take care of yourself, then start now. Take vitamins, stretch, get moving, drink half your body weight in ounces of water, and get a good night’s sleep!

I’m very serious about this. You want your body to last for many more years. If you wanted a car to last for even 20 years, you would take great care of it. You would have the oil changed, keep it clean, give it regular check-ups, and treat it well. Don’t do any less for your body! Do something good for your health every day.

How to make it a great day - #3
Give something away

Yes, that’s right. Give something away. Stretch your generosity muscle. Perhaps you could buy a cup of coffee for someone. Maybe you could give a sincere compliment. Maybe you could send a thank you note – that is huge. I recently received a handwritten note from the VP of a company where I had spoken. He did not have to do that, in fact, they paid me to come, but he went above and wrote a personal note of appreciation. Maybe it stood out because it is rare to get real thank you notes. But they are a meaningful gift.

Maybe you could give someone your time – a phone call or a visit. Time is your most valuable commodity, and to give someone the gift of your time shows great love and appreciation.

Whatever you decide to do each day, and whatever you give away, do it quietly, and let it keep you mindful of generosity. I believe you will find generosity addictive, and giving away something every day will develop a habit that will become a trademark of your life. Try it!

How to make it a great day - #4
Encourage someone and talk to someone who encourages you

We live in community, and building each other up is one of the best ways we can make our world stronger. Seek out that person who always has a smile and a good word for you. Look for the one who make your day brighter just by saying hello. You need those people in your life. You need to hear that you are appreciated and that your contribution is valued. You need to know that what you are doing is making a difference, so go find those people who affirm you and who make you happy. Talk to them, or communicate with them and let those minutes re-align you if your day has gotten off track, or let it expand you, as you are moving forward.

Then reciprocate. Yes, give that encouragement back. Don’t be the one who always takes the encouragement and the appreciation without returning it. You need to give just as you need to receive. And the other person needs to hear from you as well. Hearing and speaking encouragement will bring sunshine into your day.

How to make it a great day - #5
Do something that moves you toward your goals

To thrive, you must be growing. And growing requires consistent action and dedication. Your day would not be complete without doing something that brings you closer to your goals. It may be a project, a phone call, research, a conference, or anything that propels you forward toward the life goal that you have in front of you. We were not created just to live for a few decades then pass on. We were created for a purpose, and your purpose will push you into action. To make your day a great one, and one that is productive and pleasing, doing something every day that moves you toward your goals.

These five actions are designed to make you better from the inside out. Gratitude, health, generosity, encouragement, and goal oriented action will make it a great day. And once you have the formula for a great day, you can make great weeks, great months, great years, and you can make the rest of your life the best of your life.

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