I love this idea from my old mentor Mike Ferry- “Your day starts the night before.”  I have learned this and integrated this thought into my life over the past 20 years.  In the previous post, I talked about how to have a great start to the day, ritualizing the morning, getting off to a fantastic start.

Now imagine what having a great night can do for have an amazing morning.  It just makes a lot of sense.

If you are a mover and shaker, a person who wants to accomplish a lot and live a great life, you will want to pay attention. The bookends of the day (morning and night) are the foundation upon which your life is built. Make the wrong choices and the outcomes that lead to a less than stellar life will be the result. Make the right choices and everything comes together.

At night there are few really important points to consider:

– Censor what you allow into your head.  Whether it is tv, books, magazines, movies, whatever- anything with violence, or less than life affirming themes is not recommended to an optimal mindset.  Especially right before you go to bed. Your subconscious mind is going to feel on whatever you were last viewing, working with and thinking about prior to sleep. Make sure its what you want more of.

-Careful eating and drinking are a must.  I learned a long time ago that a glass of wine with dinner will cause me to not get anything else done the rest of the night, but will also leaving me less than optimal in the morning. Even just one glass. Certain foods and eating too close to bedtime are sure to disrupt my sleep. Know what works and doesn’t for you.  Eat healthfully and lightly at night.

-Set yourself up for a good sleep with both previous thoughts- summed up by being strict about what you allow in- in all ways.  Also, relax and wind down. Screens such as from tablets and phones with blue light will disrupt your sleep.  Aim to turn off all devices at least an hour before bed and get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If sleep is an issue for you, look into learning more about how to help yourself. There are a lot of great books out there right now, as well as tons of info out there in cyber space. The old adage still stands- the early bird gets the worm.  It is proven that the most successful people are getting up early and getting things done. For most people, getting the right sleep is what allows them to do this.

-Write out your day each night before you go to sleep. Write by hand, visualize how the day will go and then wind down with some reading before nodding off.  These are good things to have your subconscious mind work on while you sleep!

-Meditation before sleep is an important part of the nightly ritual for some. There are many that support winding down before bed- search iTunes to find one you like or go to www.brainsync.com.

The real deal is- figure out what works for you- and when you figure it out- stick with it. You will know when you break your own rules- a less than optimal start. (I love that word optimal!)

Once you get your bookends ritualized, the rest of the day will fall into place.  A few ideas for the day time:

-Make a schedule and stick to it.  Account for everything- work, errands, meals and free time.

-Work in 90 minute focused chunks and then take a break. Proven to be most productive.

-Put the highest impact actions first in your schedule. You will have the most energy in the morning and the least number of things to get in the way. As the day goes on, the chances of something coming up that will throw you off track gets greater and greater.

-Keep fueled in a healthy way. One of my mentors taught me to always take a real break for lunch. For me, this was an easy one! A real break means leaving the office/desk and changing the scenery along with eating. If the weather is nice, getting some outside time will be super rejuvanating as the goal is to prep yourself mid day to have just as productive an afternoon, as was the morning.Take a quick walk if possible.  If you’ve got things to do, stay away from heavy foods and a lot of sugar, extra caffeine, etc.

Continue to fine tune your bookends and your day. You will eventually fall into a rhythm that works great for you. Follow your plan until it becomes habit, knowing that making change is many times difficult and your mind might fight you tooth and nail! Your mind is comfortable with the way you have been doing it, so knowing this can help you to override the impulse to give in and not follow your plan.  Commit to a 90 day cycle before judging whether it works or not.

Get a coach, a friend, someone who cares to hold you accountable to the changes you want to make. For successful people, accountability is essential. Coaches are essential.

And keep yourself lighthearted in the process- have fun discovering how to create your best day!