How can you make today great?
One of the best parts about life is that each day we wake up is an opportunity to form new habits, adopt a better mindset, and make fundamental changes to our routine.
The following article will outline some practical, action-based strategies you can implement immediately in order to make today great.
What Can Make Today Great?
When it comes to how to make today great, there are a number of different routes you can go down.
To be quite frank with you, many of the posts that you’ll see on this topic will provide surface level advice.
- “Make a playlist of your favorite songs!”
- “Just laugh more!”
- “Do something for yourself!”
- “Watch an episode of your favorite show!”
And while this advice comes from the right place, it’s just not all that actionable or even practical.
A great day is built mainly around one principle — making meaningful progress on the important things in your life.
These one-time, feel-good actions just aren’t going to cut it. They’re not going to provide you with that level of satisfaction where you look back and say, “Wow, today was really productive. I killed it today.”
To close out this section of the article, I’ll briefly cover the types of habits that can give you that feeling. The next section will get more detailed and outline the specific habits that fall into these categories.
- Personal Finance: Today is always a good day to take steps towards becoming financially free, even if they’re baby steps.
- Learning New Things: One of the key habits of successful people is that they’re always learning new things, so any time that you dedicate to consuming new information is time well-spent.
- Addressing Your Demons: We all carry around insecurities and character flaws that we’re not proud of. One of the ways that you can make today great is tackling them head on and moving closer to becoming the best version of yourself.
- Intentional Planning: Sometimes, taking a step back is the best way to take a step forward. Organizing your life around new goals or new habits is always productive, assuming you have the discipline to follow through.
- Prioritize Your Personal Relationships: When it comes to prioritizing your life, personal relationships need to be at the top of this list. Research shows that deep personal relationships keep us happier, improve our resilience, and reduce anxiety/depression.
9 Ways That You Can Make Today Great
Enough fluff, let’s get into nine simple actions you can perform that will help you make today great.
By focusing on habits and routines that align with the aforementioned categories, you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to go to bed satisfied with your efforts.
#1: Start A New Self-Improvement Book
If you want to start learning how to level up your life today, then picking up a self-improvement book is a great place to start.
Consuming knowledge from people who have spent decades becoming experts in their field is one of the best ways to shortcut your learning curve on any subject.
The key here is to choose a book that addresses your specific needs. So when it comes to improving your life, what do you struggle with?
Is your main struggle productivity? Is it consistently sticking to new habits? Is it being mindful and reducing stress/anxiety?
Whatever it is you want to improve, there’s a book out there to suit your needs. Here are my top book recommendations that are tailored to your specific goals
- If you want to build better habits: Atomic Habits By James Clear
- If you want to be more productive: Deep Work By Cal Newport
- If you want to be more confident/reduce anxiety: The Confidence Gap By Russ Harris
- If you want to become happier: The Happiness Advantage By Shawn Anchor
I’ve also written a post that outlines some of the best self-improvement books ever written if you’d like to check that out for further ideas.
- Related Article: Best Self-Improvement Books
#2: Listen To An Industry Related Podcast
Another way to make today great is to spend some time learning more about your field. Podcasts offer a unique and stimulating medium to help you achieve that goal.
The free-form, unfiltered nature of podcasts make it an easy way to consume the wisdom of top industry experts.
And given the fact that podcasts have exploded over the past decade, there’s plenty of options out there for you.
The great thing about podcasts is that you can learn passively. Reading is an active process that requires your full attention, but podcasts can be listened to almost anywhere.
You can throw something on during your morning/evening commute, while you’re at the gym, or even while you’re tidying up around the house.
My recommendation is to pick three industry experts that you look up to. Once you’ve done that, type their names into the search bar of any podcasting app.
You’ll likely find a plethora of content to choose from, and you can sift through this content until you find titles that appear to answer the specific questions you have about your industry.
#3: Figure Out Your Keystone Habit
When it comes to choosing which habits to adopt into your life, it’s important to be mindful of keystone habits.
Keystone habits are behaviors that have the power to influence several aspects of your life at once. Once solidified into your life, they tend to create a domino effect of positive change that gets you unstuck.
Exercise is a perfect example of a keystone habit. The most obvious benefit of building an exercise habit is that you get in shape, but people who start exercising report a host of other benefits as well.
They tend to have more energy on a daily basis, meaning they’re able to perform better at work and work for longer periods of time.
They also report a boost in their overall well-being, which is due to the chemical changes that occur in your brain as a byproduct of regular exercise.
I could go on and on here, but the point is this — keystone habits offer the greatest return on the energy you invest into changing your life.
So take some time today to identify your own keystone habit and formulate a plan for integrating it into your daily routine.
The simple way to find your keystone habit is by asking yourself one question:
Out of all of the habits that I could start building, which one will have the greatest impact on my overall success, happiness, and fulfillment?
I’d recommend writing down 5-10 habits to start off with and then scoring each habit on a scale from 1-10, using the question above as a guide.
Then, simply pick one with the highest score and make building that habit the top priority in your life going forward.
#4: Break Your Big Goals Down Into Smaller Chunks
Big goals get a lot of hype in today’s world. Watch any motivational video on the internet and you’ll likely hear something like, “Don’t play small! Set your goals high and don’t stop until you get there!”
However, big goals can be flat-out overwhelming. It’s pretty de-motivating when you look at your big picture goals and realize how far you are from your desired future.
In my experience, big goals don’t promote action, they hamper it. Breaking these big goals into several smaller chunks is a more effective route to sustained motivation and consistent progress.
So one of the best ways to make today great is to take one of your big goals and come up with a better path to achievement.
How are you supposed to do this?
Well, simply break your big picture goal into 5-10 milestone goals. Each milestone goal should be in a motivational sweet-spot where you’ll feel challenged, but not overwhelmed.
For example, one of my big goals at the start of my blogging journey was to reach 100 published posts. The simple path to achievement that I outlined at the start of my journey was as follows:
- Milestone Goal #1: Complete search analysis process and generate 100+ ideas for blog posts to write
- Milestone Goal #2: Reach 10 published posts
- Milestone Goal #3: Reach 20 published posts
- Milestone Goal #4: Reach 40 published posts
- Milestone Goal#5: Reach 60 published posts
- Milestone Goal #6: Reach 80 published posts
- Milestone Goal #7: Reach 100 published posts
At the time of writing this blog post, I’m currently sitting at 97 published posts. By next week, I’ll have hit my goal of 100 posts. (two months earlier than I originally planned to)
Without breaking that 100 post goal down into these 7 smaller, more achievable goals, it’s very likely that I’d have ended up losing motivation and flaming out.
But the attainability of each milestone goal kept me hungry to reach the next target, even if the big goal was still a ways away.
Don’t be afraid to try this out when it comes to your own goals! Shelf your big goal and put all of your focus into the next milestone.
I think you’ll find that these smaller, less-overwhelming targets will be a far more effective type of motivation.
#5: Make A Budget For Next Month
Are you sticking to a spending plan that aligns with your financial goals? If not, then make today great by coming up with one.
Poor money management can be the source of a lot of unnecessary stress. And the easiest way to mitigate this potential stress wreaking havoc on your mental state is to have a plan.
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That’s a principle that rings true in almost any area of your life, but even more so when it comes to your money.
I’m not a budgeting whiz, so I’ve linked an article below from NerdWallet that outlines a simple guide to budgeting based on your needs.
- Related Article: Budgeting 101: How To Budget Money
#6: Do A Check-In Call With Someone You’re Close To
In the chaos of our daily lives, it can be difficult to invest sufficient energy into our personal relationships.
With a never-ending to-do list, countless personal and professional obligations, and unexpected flurries of stress, it’s easy for our relationships to take a back seat.
And yet, strong personal relationships often provide a protective shield that makes it easier to deal with all of these things. That’s why no matter how overwhelmed you feel, you must invest time into the people you care about.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to make massive sacrifices to other areas of your life. Quite often, it’s the little things you do consistently that really move the needle.
One way you can make today great and show someone that you value their friendship is with a quick check-in call.
Take 10-15 minutes to call someone from your social circle and get an update on their life. Be genuinely interested about what’s going on in their life and ask questions about their work, children, relationships, etc.
And don’t just do this today, make it a part of your daily routine. You’ll find that a simple act like this pays huge long-term dividends for maintaining quality friendships.
#7: Make Today Great By Doing Something You’re Afraid To Do
How many times per day do you get the urge to do something, but then decide against it because you’re afraid?
As someone who’s engaged in a life-long battle with social anxiety, this happens to me several times throughout the day.
But I’m not special, all of you reading this get these urges! We all have moments in our lives where we feel the instinct to act followed by the fear that causes us to hesitate:
- You want to ask your boss for the raise that you deserve, but don’t do it because you’re afraid of blowback
- You want to approach that attractive man/woman and start a conversation, but you feel afraid that the interaction will go terribly wrong.
- You may want to make the sales calls you need to make, but you’re afraid of hearing the word no.
Make today great by choosing action in one of these moments. There’s no shortage of them throughout the day, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to act in spite of fear.
If you want to make yourself even more likely to take action, write down a common situation you face each day where fear stops you from taking action.
And then no matter what, make the commitment that you’re going to do the complete opposite of what you usually do, regardless of your emotions.
The life you want becomes far easier to attain when you make a habit of taking action in spite of fear. So make today great by starting a chain of days where you systematically bust your fears wide open.
#8: Knock Out One Thing You’ve Been Procrastinating
If you’re like most people, there’s usually one thing on your to-do list that’s been there for far too long. And for whatever reason, you just can’t find the self-discipline to knock it out.
Make today great by taking on this challenge instead of avoiding it. If it were that easy, it probably would have been off of your to-do list a long time ago, so here’s advice that’s a little more practical:
- Identify one task that you’ve been putting off for several days/weeks
- Commit to working on the task for just five minutes
- Tell yourself that after five minutes, you have the freedom to stop.
- Most of the time, you’ll find that the initial progress motivates you to keep plugging away
It’s that easy to trick your brain into taking massive action. And if this sounds too good to be true, try it out for yourself and see how much work you end up doing.
I think you’ll find that once your brain gets the dopamine hit of forward progress, it’ll become easier to keep going than to stop working.
#9: Make Today Great By Ending It Early
One final way that you can make today great is by committing to getting a good night’s sleep. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is one of the best things that you can do for your productivity, energy levels, and mental health.
So if your sleep schedule is a little out of whack, get back on track by committing to going to bed by a certain time tonight.
Set yourself up for success by turning off all electronics and putting them out of reach 30 minutes prior to your desired bed time. This will ensure that you’re not tempted to sabotage a good night’s sleep with a couple extra hours of screen time.
End the day early and put yourself in the best possible position to succeed tomorrow.
Final Thoughts On Making Today Great
When it comes to making today great, there’s a bunch of different action steps included in this article that you can choose from.
Each day, we’re given endless opportunities to improve our lives. Today, we all have the chance to expand our comfort zones, address our demons, refine our goals, improve our personal relationships, etc.
What’s important isn’t finding the perfect action for you to make today great, simply that you pick one and make it non-negotiable.
With each day that you choose progress instead of stagnation, you’re one step closer to creating a better future.