It’s not long after the sun rises and the morning bird songs are downed out by the maddening melodies of our alarms when the stress free adventure of our dreams inconveniently turn into the stress filled reality of everyday living. Putting one foot in front of the next, with little hope for what’s to come, we set out to face a day that we’ve come to believe can’t be won. The frantic pace of society, the insurmountable to-do list, the endless running around, why even make the effort to live with optimism, vigor and charm. Yet as the daily angst and frustration sets in, a wiser softer voice whispers to us saying to fully enjoy the day while striving to become all that we can become. Unfortunately, it’s too late — the craziness has begun.
If you are like most people, this is a script you’re probably familiar with as the demands of life coupled with the natural negativity bias of the mind make it seemingly impossible to live each day with passion and joy. Fortunately, however, this doesn’t have to be the case, and to transform how you experience daily life may not be as challenging as you assume it to be. The internationally acclaimed leadership expert and best-selling author John C. Maxwell tells us:
If you are willing to change your thinking, you can change your feelings. If you change your feelings, you can change your actions. And changing your actions – based on good thinking – can change your life.”
So how do we go about making the needed internal shift? Thanks to the brain’s amazing power of neuroplasticity, there are a variety of strategies that we can use to change the thought patterns of the mind, with one of the most transformative being the practice of conscious questioning. It’s certain that by asking yourself empowering questions, before consciously pondering the answers within, you can revamp how you think about life and experience the world. As you’ll discover by exploring the five morning questions featured in this article, you have the ability to turn your daily discontentment and stagnation into their life-affirming alternatives of happiness and growth.
5 Empowering Morning Questions to Jumpstart Your Day:
If you were to take an honest assessment of the moods and feelings that govern your daily life, you’d probably be hard pressed to say you live each and every day to the fullest with genuine appreciation for the blessing that it is. Of course, it’s quiet natural for discontentment and fatigue to rise to the surface as you’re juggling a seemingly endless number of personal interests, obligations and relationships, but this isn’t to say that you lack the ability to transform the internal state that presides over your day-to-day activities. In fact, by simply asking yourself the following five morning questions after you wake up, and spending three to five minutes analytically pondering the answers within, you can move yourself to a place where you graciously enjoy each passing day as you march towards the achievement of your dreams.
1.) Why Must I Value Today as a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity?
The days come and go, the seasons change, the years flash before our eyes, all the while we remain ignorant to the fact that the precious moments of life are slipping through our fingers. It’s due to our inborn psychological make up, which assuredly comes with many evolutionary advantageous, that much of our awoken time is spent absorbed in our minds, ruminating about the past and dreaming of the future, but is this really how we want to spend our limited time on this earth? Dale Carnegie, one of the founding fathers of the self-help industry, so wisely tells us why it’s imperative to stop labeling each passing day as ‘just another one’:
Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.”
If we’re going to heed Carnegie’s advice and get to a place where we enthusiastically value each day for the monuments gift that it is, it’s certain that we’ll have to intimately recognize why it’s vital we cherish every single one for what it is. Fortunately, by asking ourselves ‘Why must I value today as a once in a lifetime opportunity?’ when we wake up and searching for the answers within our hearts, we’ll be able to cultivate the inner wisdom, which tells us we must live today to the fullest because it only happens once, needed to infuse all of our days with a sense of joyful bliss. Ultimately, by asking ourselves this perspective transforming question each and every morning, we’ll eventually start living as we know we should. ‘The Daily Motivator’ Ralph Marston encourages us to seize today:
Today is an opportunity to do something positive. Today is your chance to add new value to your life and to your world. Make the commitment to fill this day with meaningful richness and purposeful effort. This is your day to live, so do so with vigor and enthusiasm.”
2.) How Can I Move Closer Towards Achieving My Goals Today?
For all too many individuals, one of the great travesties of life happens when they reach the later years of life and realize they never set out to manifest their most heartfelt desires or attempted to achieve their loftiest ambitions. Despite the fact they knew at the time that doing so would make them feel truly alive, the hectic nature of life, the fear of failure, and what seems like insurmountable odds ultimately resulted with their goals remaining nothing more than unfulfilled visions of their imaginations that eventually floated away like passing clouds in the sky. The late great English writer Lewis Carroll so appropriately tells us of this sad truth:
In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”
With full understanding of how this unfortunate calamity strikes all too many, we should do everything in our power to assure ourselves that we’ll make it to the end with as few regrets as possible. Of course to do that, it’ll be imperative to ditch the ‘now isn’t the right time’ attitude and start consciously working towards our goals from wherever we find ourselves in the here-and-now. Fortunately, by asking ourselves ‘How Can I Move Closer Towards Achieving My Goals Today?’ each morning, and accomplishing small stepping stone tasks that fall inline with the process of incremental improvement, we’ll be able to methodically chisel away at the masterpieces we intuitively want our lives to be. Regardless of if our goals are related to our personal life, career, relationships, health or spirituality, it’s certain that we can put ourselves on the path towards success by asking this question day after day and acting upon the insights we conjure up inside. Take it from the immortalized American author Mark Twain:
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
3.) What Am I Grateful For In My Life Right Now?
While setting out to achieve our most heartfelt goals and striving to become all that we can become are undoubtedly life-affirming endeavors that we should undertake, it’s simultaneously important to celebrate and offer thanks for the many gifts already in our possession. Unfortunately, because society tells us that the fulfillment we seek can only be had through achievement and material acquisition, many individuals never learn how feelings of gratefulness can infuse their lives with a sense of blissful joy. Instead of cherishing their health, their current situation, their most meaningful relationships, the communities they live in, the food they eat and the beauty of nature, amongst other things, they spend their days disregarding what’s right with the world and sulking about what they believe is missing. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama points the way:
In order to be happy we must first possess inner contentment; and inner contentment doesn’t come from having all we want; but rather from wanting and appreciating being grateful for all we have.”
Due to the fact that happiness is what we ultimately seek at the core of our beings, and also because our feelings of joy are more dependent upon how we think than upon what we have or own, we’d be foolish not to work towards cultivating a sense of gratitude within our hearts by setting aside just a few minutes each morning to ask ourselves ‘What am I grateful for in my life right now?’. Certainly, by doing so, we’ll can instantaneously fill our lives with joy as we intuitively come to discover the many gifts in our lives that we should be thankful for. Better yet still, by reflection upon and expressing gratitude for these things with the help of this uplifting morning question, we’ll quickly come to realize why psychological researchers have directly linked gratefulness with feelings of life-satisfaction. Best-selling self-help author Melody Beattie tells us why gratitude is the key:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
4.) How Can I Step Outside of My Comfort Zone Today?
Where as seizing the once in a lifetime opportunity of each day and offering thanks for the many gifts we’ve already been given can fill our spirits with joy, to fully maximize our potential as individuals we’ll have to consciously choose to act in uncomfortable ways. Of course, this truth is the reason why nearly all inspirational icons who’ve graced us with their presence have pointed to comfort zone expansion, in addition to goal setting, as a powerful self-confidence boosting practice that’s needed for creating the lives of our dreams. Although partaking in activities or acting in ways that we’re fearful of may seem counterintuitive to the ultimate goal of happiness, it’s certain that we’ll often have to break through personal limitations to change our lives for the better. This is the reason why American entrepreneur Howard Walstein encourages us to:
Do something uncomfortable today. By stepping out of your box, you don’t have to settle for what you are — you get to create who you want to become.”
While you may think that’d it be impossible to find ways to step outside of your comfort zone on an everyday basis, asking yourself ‘How Can I Step Outside of My Comfort Zone Today?’ each morning will assuredly provide you with insightful ideas and an endless amount of growth opportunities. For example, you may determine that you can have a real conversation with a co-worker you generally only have small talk with one day, push yourself a little harder during your work out the next and cook something exotic and healthy for dinner the day after that. Whether the comfort-zone expanding endeavor you decide upon for a given day is big or small isn’t what’s most significant, as a healthy balance between the two works best, rather it’s that your taking the reigns of your personal growth. The iconic American writer Neale Donald Walsch tells us why this is important:
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
5.) How Can I Help The Greater Good Today?
Although it can be easy to assume that the only way to find happiness is by satisfying the selfish desire of the ego, the truth is that, because the impermanent nature of reality makes all worldly aims unsatisfactory in nature, we’ll forever remain caught in a cycle of craving what’s newer, bigger and better when we approach life from this point of view. Ironically enough, despite the fact that we naively assume that we’ll hamper our chances for fulfillment by selflessly going out of our way to help family, friends and strangers alike, acts of kindness and compassion actually increase our feelings of life-satisfaction and foster a sense of connection with others. This is the reason why the previously mentioned Dalai Lama says:
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
When taking into account the scientific research that shows how altruism and benevolence have as much of a positive effect on the doer of the deeds as the recipient, it becomes easy to see why asking ourselves ‘How Can I Help The Greater Good Today?’ each day can have such a uplifting effect on our life. Moreover, because feeling connected to others and our communities as a whole is vital for psychological health, one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to act in ways that put the greater good first. Best-selling author Mitch Albom tells us:
The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
Consciously Crafting Your Own Morning Questions:
Regardless of where you find yourself in life, it is certain that the five morning questions in this article can infuse your days with happiness and growth. This, however, isn’t to say that these are the only questions that can do the same, and depending upon your life circumstances, you may come to discover that different questions better suit your goals, needs and beliefs. If this happens to be the case, then by all means tailor and utilize whichever questions strike a cord at the core of your being. With that being said, we’ll now leave you with one additionally thought-provoking question from best-selling author Kamal Ravikant. He encourage us to ask ourselves:
If I accepted my mortality to my core, never knowing when the chain snaps, then how would I live?”