“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” Arthur Rubenstein
Many of you are familiar with our Good Morning Routine, a structure to maximize the day ahead and put us in a positive place ready to make the most of the day. A Good Evening Routine is an equally important component of a strong foundation. It allows us to recap and give thanks for the day while also preparing for the day ahead. In this article I’ll share how to create your own happy & healthy evening routine, step-by-step…
A successful evening routine for your attitude consists of:
- Giving thanks for the day
- Asking yourself one simple question
- Visualizing the day ahead
- A moment of stillness
Let’s break down these components.
Giving thanks for the day: Melody Beattie writes, “Gratitude 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. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Her words couldn’t ring more true. It is through conscious gratitude that we realize the simple joys that make life rich and complete.
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her best-selling book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, advocates the use of a gratitude journal. She cites this as “a tool that could change the quality of your life beyond belief.” I completely agree. The premise of the gratitude journal is to record five things that you are grateful for each day. Some days you might have to be creative to find five. Other days you might have ten or twenty! Value the little things. Value the person who sincerely smiled and asked how you were at the grocery store checkout. Value the soft touch of a child’s hand on your shoulder. Value a new song that you hear on the radio.
Create your own gratitude journal and list five things that you are grateful for each evening. Notice how this deepens your appreciation for life and helps to maintain a positive outlook. You may also want to start a “Family Gratitude Journal” where each night you think of five things that you are grateful for as a family.
If you are using the Catch-All Notebook, use the gratitude card to record your list. If you aren’t using a C.A.N. I suggest putting a little blank book right by your bedside so you remember to do this each evening.
Ask yourself one simple question: Each night I ask myself, “What is one more thing I can do today, to make today matter?” It basically applies the principle of “going the extra mile,” to our daily life. The “thing” might be as simple as giving my daughter or husband an extra affirmation or gesture of love. Or it might be responding to an email that touched me. Or it might be a quick phone call or handwritten note to someone. Whatever it is, I always feel uplifted and inspired by going that extra mile to show someone I care before ending my day.
Visualize the day ahead: Countless successful people have used visualization exercises to increase their effectiveness. Scientists have even done research where they divided a team into two groups. One group was told to practice their free-throws 4 hours per day (they weren’t told anything about what the other group would be doing). The other group didn’t practice any free throws on the court, but just visualized themselves, making successful free throws for 90 minutes each day. The group that never practiced on the court improved 60% more than the group with daily court practice! Many coaches regularly use visualization to increase their players’ effectiveness. Visualization is required in addition to the time spent actually playing the sport.
From this example, you can see how powerful the mind is! That is why visualization is so important. Each night (you can even do this while lying in bed) take a few minutes to visualize the following day. See yourself waking up on time, with energy, and a smile on your face. Visualize the tasks that need to be accomplished that day and see yourself handling them successfully and without stress. See yourself connecting with other people. Visualize all the components you feel are needed for a successful day. As you work with this exercise for a week, watch how dramatically your days will change and how much smoother they will become.
A moment of stillness: The last component to a successful evening routine is a simple moment of stillness. For at least 60 seconds–just sit still. Quiet your mind. Realize that everything, right now, at this moment, is good. Say an affirmation or two in your mind. Be proud of all you did today and let everything else go and just enjoy the moment for a minute or two.
Once you have practiced your nightly routine and it becomes second-nature, it won’t take more than 10 minutes to complete, but will ensure that your attitude remains at its peak–a necessary component of making the best of each day in our today’s hectic world.