Do you wake up with a sigh It’s just another day or with a with a smile I can’t wait to see if today is even better than yesterday. What is the difference between these two sets of waking thoughts? Confidence.
I know that the day hasn’t really started until you get out of bed but if you wake up with a sigh, you have wait for an event that lifts your spirits. If you start the day with a smile, you already are so much closer to owning the day rather than the day owning you. However, if life is more lemons than lemonade right now, there are 3 ways to increase your confidence before getting out of bed.
Reversing your To Do list
All too often, your waking thoughts can be a flood of memories of everything you ‘meant’ to get done the previous day. But didn’t. It’s hard to feel confident when it seems like no matter how busy you were or how hard you worked yesterday, today is just another Groundhog- like Day when you get to do it all over again.
To stop this morning flood of dreary, today is like yesterday thoughts, I use the Reverse To Do list technique.
The basis of the magical technique is to realise, there will always be something else to do. So instead of feeling crushed by what you haven’t done when you wake up every morning, let’s do the reverse.
Now I love a list as much as anyone. And a To Do list can be extremely helpful to keep you on track, but it can also create a focus on what you didn’t get done, what still must be done and how far away you are from where you want to be. This creates feelings quite different from confidence.
I’m not saying to ditch your To Do list but at the end of the day, rather than just tick off or remove the completed tasks from your list, reverse it!
The first step is to create a mental list of what you did get done, even unexpected tasks not on your list and recognise everything you did complete, both personal and professional. Turn up the volume by congratulating yourself on what a successful day you had yesterday and generate feelings of confidence and excitement about the day ahead.
Have your yesterday highlight reel ready!
In the first step of increasing your confidence before getting out of bed, I focused on completed tasks and activities that could probably be related to work or looking after the family. This second way to increase your confidence before getting out of bed, is focusing on YOU, not what you do.
What if during each day, you noticed any small personal decisions or actions you took that made you feel proud of yourself.
Taylor Swift wrote a poem for UK Vogue a few years ago and there is a line I love which encapsulates the yesterday highlight reel. Taylor wrote,
‘Hold onto childlike whims, moonlight swims and your blazing self-respect.’
Even during a tough day, there are bright moments when you increase or at least support your level of self-respect. The secret is to notice and remember those moments, however small. It might be making polite conversation even when you are in a rush, taking the time to properly thank and smile at someone who has just handed you a coffee, or ringing someone when you really don’t want to, but know you should. Then there are those moments when you do the right thing although no-one is watching, quietly spend hours of your own time on a passion project, putting in a kind word for someone who will never learn about it or taking some time with personal care that no-one else will notice but you knew it was long overdue!
With this line from Taylor Swift in mind, start to notice which moments create emotions ranging from a sense of satisfaction up to blazing self-respect throughout the day. When you wake up, the next step after reversing your To Do list, is to replay the highlights of the day before. Think back to those personal moments and remember them and just as importantly, how you felt in those moments.
Playing a highlight reel in your mind reinforces those moments and increases the desire for more of them. It is what you are proud of within yourself that ultimately determines your happiness and propels you forward, with confidence.
Choose a Feeling Forwards focus at the start of your day
Let me give you a quick introduction or recap of Feeling Forwards before we dive into how to create a Feeling Forwards focus.
My latest book, ‘Feeling Forwards’ outlines how to immerse yourself in the future you want to enjoy, reflecting back into how you behave in the present.
Distilling this into one key question, the third step is to ask yourself,
How will I behave today to create the future I want to enjoy?
Using this final step, you have created emotions and attitudes far removed from a ‘hustle, grind, to do list’ culture which focuses on what you could do better, leaving no room for noticing behaviors leading to the future you want to enjoy.
Now it’s time to get up!
I know I have described all these steps in detail so it may feel as though these three steps could take a long time.
No! It’s just a couple of minutes.
You can play around with this to see how long is best for you to feel confident to ‘seize the day’. It takes me 2 -3 minutes to run through this in my mind and because it’s a habit, I start these steps as soon as I wake up and it continues as I get out of bed and prepare for the day.
Like a muscle, these three steps take practice to build up to a stage where these feelings flow automatically with the beginning of each new day.
Abraham Lincoln wisely said,
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
Even more inspiring, an early voice for concepts like Feeling Forwards rests with George Bernard Shaw, with an extra emphasis from me!
People are always blaming circumstances for what they are.
I do not believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and
look for the circumstances they want and if they cannot find them,
they make them.