Originally I had planned to do nothing but I actually got up at 8am (early for a student on holiday) and took on unexpected opportunities while managing to tick off a bunch of stuff on my to do list. Having a general to do list is one of the ways I ensure I have great days. Here are a few other ways:
- Make a (realistic) to do list:
I put realistic in brackets because while it is good to push yourself, if you make truly unachievable goals you will be disappointed when you don't complete them. I have a general to-do list of things I'd like to do and things I have to do. Each night I pick out a few items and put them at the top of the list for the next day. If I manage to get through them all it's a great day - I may even have time for a few more. If not, I can keep them there for the next day.
Have a mixture of small and big goals. Even 'go outside' or 'compliment yourself' is fine. It's the satisfaction of completing a goal that will help you have a great day.
- Get out the house:
Today in Edinburgh the temperature reached 24 degrees which was pretty fab (and unusual). I walked to the gym and went for a cycle along a canal in my new pair of sunglasses which is pretty outdoors-y for me. We all know fresh air and the sun boosts our spirits or does something strange to chemicals, endorphins yada yada but it's true. You will feel incredibly happy - proud even.
If it does happen to be a normal day in Edinburgh with wind, rain, fog etc. it's still good for your mood to get out the house, but indoors. I'm not an expert on all the sciency reasons why - but it is. Try it and tell me I'm not right. I dare you.
- Push yourself
Whether this be something you have never done before (mine was going to yoga without a friend) or simply to have a healthier breakfast (that means no nutella </3) you will feel motivated and boost your spirits for the day when you realise you can break your boundaries. I still remember the first time I went on a bus by myself (not so long ago!) which for me was a big step for self-confidence and independence!
- Make contact with other people
I'm sure we all message our friends non-stop via Facebook, iMessage etc. which is nice. Phone calls are also good and Skype isn't too bad either. However I'm really talking about face-to-face contact: a smile, even from a stranger, can do wonders for our happiness. In fact, why don't you be that stranger who smiles at another?
- Smile at a stranger
Or any act of kindness to anyone really. Even if it is simply commenting on someone's new profile picture saying you love their hair, you will help make someone else's day great. And I'm pretty sure that will make you feel great too. Remember: what goes around, comes around.
- Say yes
Your friend has asked if you want to go out for lunch but you quite fancy a lie in? Well, I would say to skip the lie in - you can have a nap later when you have nothing else planned. Or you can have a lie in the next day, or the next, or the next. Do you see where I'm going with this? Stop making excuses and go out and enjoy yourself - you can wash your hair tomorrow.
- Do something you enjoy
I like eating chocolate and buying things. So that's what I did. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.
- Think positively
This final point applies to most of the above. Basically, whenever a negative or pessimistic thought comes into your head, snub it out. Think of the positives. You might fall in the canal and be embarrassed when cycling, or you might not. Guess what - I didn't.
It also applies to when you are upset about not having a great day. Maybe you didn't tick off everything on your to-do list or your friend had to cancel lunch (and you specifically got up early for it). Well, turn it around and make the most of what you did achieve. Make a list. Be proud of yourself, don't be ashamed. If you're not satisfied, learn from your mistakes and try to improve the next day. And if you are up and ready for lunch with nobody to go with, go yourself (see points 2, 3 and 5).
I hope you found at least some of these pointers helpful! I could go on and on and on but I'll stop for now haha. What do you do to ensure a great day? And what defines a 'great day' for you?