A few months ago I caught a glimpse of my frown lines in the rear-view mirror and realised I was caught in a cycle of exhaustion and negativity. Instead of hitting up a wonder doctor for surgical options, I decided it was time to get some energy and perspective back.
In short, I wanted to be a better version of myself.
I soon discovered that if you want to be good, you have to focus on making your morning good.
1. Unleash the love.
Don’t let the whiff of morning breath get in the way of unbridled affection. When you wake up plant a big sloppy kiss on your partner/kids/pet/self/all of the above and thank karma for all that you have instead of pining for all that you don’t.
2. Work up a sweat.
As hard as it is to haul your booty out of bed when the alarm goes off at 5.40am, it’s the best time of the day to work out. Go for a walk, get to the gym or break out the burpees in your living room, the endorphins will launch you into the day with the right attitude and a perky(er) butt.
3. Nourish thyself.
Tucking into a healthy, hi-fibre breakfast will set you up for a productive and non-hangry day. It will also keep you away from inhaling the staff room cookie jar at 10.30am. Try to allocate enough time for breakfast so you can sit down and enjoy it without rushing out the door chewing.
4. Accentuate the positive.
Try to think of one thing every day that you are really looking forward to and verbalise it. If you have a family, get them in on the action too. Last Thursday my three-year-old said he was most looking forward to meeting a dinosaur. We all shared his excitement and left it to his kinder teacher to crush his dreams. They really should be paid more.
5. Learn your barista’s name.
Been ordering a coffee from the same spot for four years and still don’t know your bearded barista’s name? Ask! The next morning greet them personally with your most dazzling smile and pop $2 in the tip jar. They will either think you’ve turned into a crazy stalker or really appreciate the gesture.
6. Join the #complimentbombing movement.
Like your colleagues sequined jeggings? Think your neighbour’s spray tan looks surprisingly natural? Appreciate your partner getting up during the night to medicate your snot-filled toddler? Tell them. And if you feel a criticism burning on your tongue, extinguish it with a compliment. It’ll go a long way to building rapport and thawing potentially frosty relationships.
Or sign up to Card Bombers Anonymous, at the start of every month you’ll receive the name and postal address of someone who is having a rough go of it. All of the club members (you included) anonymously send a card, letter, picture or kind word to the nominated recipient. It’ll take you all of 30 seconds and it could mean the world to someone else.
7. Donate to a worthy cause.
Seen something on the news or social media that upsets and/or outrages you? Funnel those negative feelings into action and donate to a cause you are passionate about. Whether it’s $5 to fight rhino poaching in Africa or $50 for cancer research, it’ll help someone, somewhere on their worthwhile mission. Better yet, sign up as a volunteer at a worthy organisation close to home. I once tutored a five-year-old Sudanese refugee and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
8. Surprise someone.
Whether it’s leaving some homegrown strawberries on someone’s desk for morning tea, sending flowers to your mum or putting a cheesy post-it note in your partner’s laptop bag. Do something unexpected and for no particular reason. It’ll give both you and the receiver the warm and fuzzies.
9. Reserve judgment always.
See a mum at the supermarket dragging her howling toddler by the arm while muttering profanities under her breath? Pop in to visit a friend and her house looks like a hurricane hit shortly after a dirty dish tsunami? Reserving judgment is always a good idea. Most people are doing the best they can so hop down off that high horse and become a sprinkler of compassion and care.
10. Forgive someone.
Been harbouring resentment over something shitty someone did to you? Remember we are all imperfect clusters of fabulousness and flaws. So, in the words of my niece’s favourite Disney princess, ‘Let it goooooo’. It’s not always easy but it’s always liberating.
Give any or all of these a crack tomorrow morning and see how much better you feel.
Which of these tricks do you use to be a better person?
Still looking for inspiration? Here are some of Leslie Knope’s finest compliments:
Uncle Tobys. Put the Good back into Mornings with Australia’s largest range of 4+ Star Cereals.