What does it mean to be successful? To different people, being successful has different meanings. To some, being successful might be as simple has having delicious food in the fridge, warm clothes to wear, and a safe place to live. To others, being successful might be getting that long sought after job promotion, maintaining a summa cum laude GPA, or having sundry friends who are there to support you through thick and thin. Being successful might also mean being happy.
The official Google definition of being successful is “accomplishing an aim or purpose” [source]. Basically, being successful, according to the dictionary, is when you can make a goal, or goals, and then fulfill them. So, if in order to be successful, you have to have a series of goals, which you then go about trying to accomplish. But did you know that there are a few things that you can do the night before to maximize your chances of accomplishing those goals? By doing these five simple things you are making your entire body — physically, mentally, and spiritually — ready to accomplish the things you want to accomplish the next day.
Lay out your clothes
This is a habit that I first cultivated when I was an adolescent. Of course, back then, I would often lay out my clothes the night before just to ensure that I could sleep just a little longer. By laying out your clothes, you are able to save time since you don’t have to stand in front of your dresser or closet, pondering what you should wear that day. If you are anything like me, it probably takes you awhile just to decide what to wear as you go from that cute, flowery top and pants to frilly dress and blazer to those kitten heels. And then, you put on an outfit, only to discard it moments later, and the cycle repeats until you’ve realized that you are running late having spent too much time picking out an outfit for the day.
Instead of spending upwards of an hour picking out the perfect outfit, you can simply grab the clothes you had already laid out, throw them on, and then quickly move onto the next thing in your morning routine.
Meal plan your breakfast
Do you sometimes wish you could eat a hot breakfast every morning but just don’t have the time? Are you tired of just eating cereal for breakfast or grabbing an energy bar to eat on the way to work? If so, then consider pre-making your breakfast. In other words, go ahead and meal plan out your breakfast for the next day.
The night before, you can go ahead and chop up the fruits and vegetables and put them in small containers in the fridge. You can go ahead and scramble the eggs, the hash browns, and the grits, wrap the plate in saran wrap, and heat it up in the morning. You can go make the pancake or waffle batter the night before, and then pour it into the pan or waffle maker the next morning. By doing these things the night before, you can save time and still eat a nutritious and filling breakfast.
[See also: 5 Reasons Why You Must Say YES to the Waffle]
Write down the agenda
The night before, before you settle down for the night, get a clean sheet of paper and write down what you hope to accomplish the next day. When making your list, I suggest that you keep it short and simple. Write down three or four things that you hope to accomplish the next day.
By writing down your goals for the day, you are putting yourself into a success mindset. You can start the day knowing what and how you plan to accomplish your goals. You can start the day knowing that the day won’t simply be the one that is a laying-on-the-couch-eating-potato-chips kind of day. By having an agenda, you can go to sleep knowing that you will wake up with a frame of purpose, which will make you that much more likely to accomplish your goals. After all, don’t you find that you can accomplish your goals better when you know what they are?
Go to sleep at the same time
Another thing that you can do the night before to be successful is to go to sleep at the same time everyday. Before settling on a bedtime, keep in mind these two things: first, how many hours does your body require for optimal sleep? and second, when will you be finished with your night routine? Once you answer these questions, then it can help you gauge when you should ultimately go to sleep.
If you are someone who requires a full eight to nine hours of sleep a night, then make sure that are getting that amount, while still being able to wake up the next morning refreshed and energized automatically without the aid of an alarm set on your phone. The key is to not just sleep well, but also wake up well. Too many times people go to sleep and are only able to wake up after hitting the snooze button five or six times semi-consciously. When this happens it is because their bodies are not getting enough sleep. So, do yourself — and your body — a favor by making sure that you are giving it the right number of hours of sleep.
[See also: How I Went From Night Owl to Morning Person]
Make your last thought a good one
And finally, just before your close your eyes and drift off into la-la land, consider that how you feel right before sleep can have a bearing on how you sleep as well as how you feel when you wake up. Now, think back to the previous night before you fell asleep. Do you remember what your last thought was? And do you remember how you felt? If your last thought made you feel happy, then give yourself a pat on the back. By having happy thoughts the night before, you are putting yourself in a positive mindset so that you will feel as if you can do anything.
Those few seconds before you close your eyes the night before, consider doing these things in order to set yourself up for the most successful day ever. First, consider visualizing a beautiful landscape or place that you wish to go. Let yourself see it in your mind’s eye. Watch as you can feel the scratchy hot sand against your body, the sound of the waves as they come crashing down one after the other, the whisper of the bushes behind you as a light zephyr lifts them up, and the smell of the ocean as it wafts in and out of your nostrils, almost tickling them. Once you can visualize this beautiful, serene place that you like to go to when all is wrong with the world, then let yourself simply fall into sleep as your mood lifts and you feel joyful.
Second, consider thinking of three affirmations that you can say to yourself just before drifting off to sleep. How do you know what affirmations to say? I suggest that you make a list of adjectives that best describe you. For instance, you can say something as simple as I am smart or I am capable of anything. Or, you can say something more specific like I can finish reading that one thousand page book tomorrow or I can complete that project for my boss. Whatever you tell yourself during those last moments before bed, make sure that they are clear, specific, and positive.
Third, let yourself lay in bed, simply focusing on your own breathing. As you breathe in and breathe out, clear your mind. Empty your head. Let your muscles relax. Do nothing but that one basic human function: breathing. Let go of all emotions. This exercise is particularly effective when you ended the day on a bad note and want to feel better.
By doing these five things, you can set yourself up for success. By doing these five things the night before, you can make your morning routine as well as the rest of your day one that is positive, happy, and successful.