The key to more good days starts with attention and intention

A few years ago my wife Zoë started an experiment. She set her alarm for 5.30am. Already a fairly early riser, she pushed her start time back a good hour.

Zoë says she started the experiment as a way to counter the sense she had of the day always running away with her. Giving her an extra hour or so would provide a buffer, a time to ease into whatever needed doing. Getting up early was her way of trying to steal a march on the day.

It’s a habit that’s worked so well for her, she’s kept it going. The hour before everyone else stirs is her golden time. She can potter about, sort things out, do some admin, make lists. It helps her get ahead. It’s reprogrammed the way she views the day: even at weekends it’s the same.

There’s nothing complicated about her routine, or contrived. It’s not particularly revelatory — lots of people get up early as a matter of course. Yet the benefit is clear. Having that morning hour has made a hugely positive difference to her life.

Now it’s part of her recipe for having a good day.

The essence of what we need to have a good day is this: it’s first of all paying attention to the things that make a difference to us, and then it’s being intentional about building it into our life. Those small elements add up — the fabric of our lives is made up of what we weave into our every day.

Figuring out your own recipe for a good day requires experimentation. Finding out what things give you the boost you need. And then when you find what works, do more of it.

Here’s my five stage plan towards having more good days.

  1. Track the good times. At the end of every day I jot down all the good things that have happened that day, from people I’ve enjoyed meeting, to a tasty lunch to hanging out with my kids after school. I call it my Good Times list and I’ve written it for 9 years. When I look back over the lists certain themes jump out at me. They keep me on track to make sure I continue to do the things that feed me!

Ultimately, finding out how to feel happier, more creative and more fulfilled comes from one simple approach — and that’s keeping yourself and your needs front of mind. So first pay attention to what you need to have a good day and then second, be intentional about building it into your life.

It’s all up to YOU!

365 Ways to Have a Good Day by Ian Sanders is out now



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

Sparking change through story. Energising people at work. Author of 365 Ways to Have a Good Day (out Nov 2021). Fuelled by coffee, curiosity, walking.