Win the Day, Win Your Life

Win the Day, Win Your Life

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.” – Abraham Lincoln 

If Abe said it, you know it’s good advice. The first step to living a successful and happy life is to resolve to do just that. Once you’ve truly decided that you are ready for a chance you must act. 

At the start of any journey – particularly with habit formation - it’s easy to get overwhelmed and to find yourself backsliding into the behaviors that weren’t serving you in the first place. When we bite off more than we can chew we wind up inevitably stumbling and failing before we’ve really given ourselves a shot to lock in the behaviors that line up with our vision for the future.

I’ve been there. It’s not a fun place to be.

Here’s the thing: every long-term transformation starts with one good day. If you can crush just one day, you’ll find yourself on the path to another. Then another until one day you find yourself living the life you imagined.

This is not esoteric, woo-woo advice. The idea of acting your way into being is related to the concept of self-perception theory, which suggests that people infer their own attitudes and beliefs from observing their own behavior and the circumstances in which it occurs[1]. According to this theory, people can change their self-concept and identity by changing their actions and habits.

You can act yourself into a way of being. In fact, it’s much more effective to act your way into being than to try thinking your way into it.

So start with a day. Envision the person you want to become. What time would that person wake up in the morning? Would they meditate? Workout? What would that person do during the day? Would he play video games every night? Maybe. Maybe not.

For whatever you want out of life, identify the small behaviors that will set you off in the right direction and act.

If you don’t know where to start, start here.

In the morning

  • Get into the sun as soon as you can after waking up. Sun exposure sets your circadian rhythm and will improve your sleep quality.
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. After six or eight hours of sleep, you need to hydrate.
  • Do some light physical activity when you wake up. This could include stretching, burpees, or even a jog. Physical activity will get your blood flowing and release endorphins.
  • Write down your goals and priorities for the day. If you start your day with a check-in, you’re more likely not to let anything slip between the cracks.

In the evening

  • Cut out caffeine and alcohol as early as possible as they can disrupt your sleep patterns and affect your hormones. 
  • Avoid screens and blue light at least an hour before bedtime. They can trick your body into thinking it’s daytime and keep you awake.
  • Do some stretching, breathing exercises, meditation, or reading to relax your mind and body and prepare for sleep.
  • Keep your phone out of the bedroom and use an alarm clock instead to avoid distractions and temptations.

Whatever you choose to do, do something. Start small, but do start. There’s no time to waste.

[1] Research: To Be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower (