Defining what a successful day means to you is crucial for your self-development.
If you don’t have a clear agenda, if you haven’t organized things in the most effective way possible, if you don’t eliminate the things that don’t give you results and focus more on the rest, you can’t be productive, or successful, or even happy with your life.
Success in life is just a series of successful days, if you think about it.
Your job is to make most of them in a week such, so that you can constantly be moving forward.
Of course, there will be obstacles, other people will ruin your plans sometimes, unexpected things will happen, but what makes those with a strong mindset and a good personal organization different, is their ability to bounce back, and always get back on track the next day.
So take your time today to think about how such a day in your life looks like. Break it down into its different parts, from the moment you wake up to the minute you fall asleep. Everything must be clear and specific. Write it all down, review it daily over the course of the next few days, until you can stick to this plan no matter what.
In case you need an example of a plan for a successful day, here’s what mine looks like after a lot of experimenting:
What a Successful Day Looks Like for Me
1. Wake Up Earlier and Have a Powerful Morning Routine
I’m a huge fan of mornings and think they’re the best time of the day for a few reasons:
- wake up earlier and you’ll have some extra time to get ready for the day, organize everything that needs to be done, prepare for it mentally, and find time for things like a workout or else, which don’t usually fit into your daily schedule;
- the morning itself is inspiring;
- you can have some me time and that’s super beneficial to your piece of mind;
- you can get creative with writing, reading or brainstorming ideas for your business because there’s no one to bother you in the early hours;
- starting the day successfully and productively usually means it will end this way too;
- you build momentum by doing some healthy and positive activities in the early hours of the day and keep being productive after that too;
- if you dedicate your mornings to your passion project, you can turn it into something huge in no time;
- all successful people wake up earlier than they have to and that thought itself is motivational.
It’s important to wake up with intention – have a reason to do it.
Also, try out different versions of morning routines depending on your goals.
If you want to get fit, then add a healthy breakfast, 1 liter of water, stretching and a workout during it.
But if you want to get ahead of others at work, use that time to get pumped up for work, write your to-do list, check email, read something connected to your field, and even arrive earlier at work and be in a good mood.
2. Do Some Focused Work
Once you’re done with your morning ritual, you can move onto the actual work.
Be it your regular job, working on your business, a new idea, or freelancing for clients, it’s all a matter of concentration, desire and hustling.
Productive work, in this case, means this to me:
- you’ve outlined the tasks for the day and know which of them are most important;
- you start with them and don’t do anything else until you finish them;
- you then move onto less important, but still necessary things to do;
- you stop to take a break every 40 or so minutes as that’s how your brain works better;
- you eliminate distractions like social media, other people, noises, etc. while working;
- your workplace is organized, decluttered and creativity-friendly;
- you do at least 4 hours of focused work before you take a break for lunch.
We all know when we’re being productive. Some people, however, just keep themselves busy, do things that have no value and don’t give them results just because they’re urgent or is what they’ve always been doing.
That’s a wrong approach.
The art of getting things done means saying no to procrastination, interruptions and distractions, and getting to your most important projects for the day.
That’s a big part of a successful day for me. Without it, I can’t feel like I’ve done anything meaningful.
3. Learn Something
Learning is a never-ending process and I believe every day of ours should include some form of it.
It may be reading articles related to your field to stay up-to-date. Or reading an inspirational book that engages your brain in new ways, lets you think of interesting solutions to existing problems in your business, or just motivates you to take action upon your goals.
It may be taking an online course to learn a new practical skill like copywriting, coding (even a basic level), web design, a foreign language, or else.
All that makes you smarter in more ways than you can imagine, even if it’s just a hobby.
Learning may also mean doing something you’ve never done before, talking to a new person, facing a fear you’ve always had by doing something you’re afraid of.
There are countless ways to learn new stuff. Find at least one for a successful day.
4. Live Consciously
Don’t be in a rush, don’t jump from one task to another, don’t be impatient to finish this activity so that you can move onto the next.
Life is happening now, in the present moment. If you spend it in a hurry, or by thinking about yesterday or planning tomorrow, you’re missing out on what’s going on.
To live more consciously, bring some mindfulness into your day with the help of meditation in the morning and/or evening, journaling your thoughts, just contemplating and trying to get to know your true self.
Read something on the topic of spirituality, stop every now and then to show appreciation to everything you have and thus enjoy it more.
Make sure you find time for that daily too if you’re after having a successful day.
5. Do Something for Your Health
We can’t really have a successful day without taking care of ourselves and building at least one healthier habit.
It may be something like:
- add more veggies to one of your meals;
- drink green tea;
- meditate before bed to get a good night’s sleep and let go of anything that happened in the day;
- go jogging;
- stretch every hour during work;
- take a walk;
- take a cold shower;
- drink a glass of water first thing in the morning;
- floss after every meal.
Little things like that make a big difference over time in terms of lack of diseases, longevity, good mood, active lifestyle, feeling fresh, looking young, etc.
6. End The Day Right
Last but not least, let’s end a successful day right too.
You can call this an evening ritual, but it’s just a set of activities you do in the evening to guarantee you get your 8 hours and wake up fresh the next morning.
These are usually relaxing activities, like meditating, taking a soothing bath, analyzing how your day went by writing down everything you did and how you felt about it, reviewing your goals, having a nice chat with a loved one, reading something to get yourself to sleep, decluttering, preparing things for tomorrow, etc.
What’s more, you should avoid activities like eating and drinking water prior to bed. Also, ditch technology an hour before you go to sleep as it ruins your rest.
One Action a Day is All It Takes
Sometimes even after we’ve figured out what we want and have set the specific goals, we still struggle to begin.
That’s because it looks too hard.
We focus on the whole picture – which is enormous, as it often takes years to make the money you want, to become financially independent, or months before you get fit, make the body you want and get rid of all that fat.
Or weeks before you get used to a new habit, before you see some traffic on your blog, or before you have written enough pages to have a manuscript that you’ll then offer to a publisher.
And that big picture doesn’t appeal to us.
Because all we see is the long time it will take, the efforts we need to put into doing it, the chances of failure, the compromises we’ll have to make and the things we’ll have to sacrifice.
And that scares us so much that we don’t even begin. Which is the biggest defeat one can have in life.
But what if we use another approach?
Let’s try to focus on the short-term progress, to forget that it will take time and effort, and to just do one thing connected to our goal each day.
Pablo Picasso once said that “Action is the foundational key to all success.”
And he was right.
Here’s what Marc Manson says in his post The “Do Something” Principle:
“I recently heard a story about a novelist who had written over 70 novels. Someone asked him how he was able to write so consistently and remain inspired and motivated every day, as writers are notorious for procrastination and for fighting through bouts of “writer’s block”. The novelist said, “200 crappy words per day, that’s it.” The idea is that if he forced himself to write 200 crappy words, more often than not, the act of writing would inspire him and before he knew it he’d have thousands down on the page.”
And that’s all it takes.
One thing a day. Be it 200 words, one page, ten minutes of writing, or another version of the daily step you need to take that works best for you.
The point is to break your big goal down to specific tasks, and then turn them into steps.
And what you’ll then have in front of you is an action to take each day.
Make it small, ridiculously easy, and fast to execute. Do it at the same time and let it be your priority for the day. Know that no matter what happens that day, you need to take your step, otherwise the day is ruined.
All that is easy, and leads to success. Because its key element is consistency. And it goes together with prioritizing, focusing on one thing at a time and starting small.
That’s how big dreams are reached – by gradual change.
So, that’s how a successful day looks like for me. You don’t need to get it right every time. But even succeeding in one area of these daily will change your life in many ways.
What does a successful day mean to you?