Making Your Bed – A Small Routine that Makes a Big Difference in Your Life
Does an improved quality of life depend on you changing something? Perhaps you know you should exercise more, eat more healthfully, or develop more mental resilience. But you just can’t seem to get started. Rather than be in a “let life just happen mode”, you may need to switch into a “take charge of life” mode. Making your bed will help you do that!
We all hear the reports that the rate of health problems such as obesity, depression, and heart disease are increasing. Even when a solution is as easy as taking a pill, people don’t comply with that. Studies show that people on lifesaving medications take them only 45 to 55 percent of the time. I believe many are in crisis. They just don’t know how to get started and stay on track.
A meaningful and fulfilling life is built gradually and purposefully. There are no shortcuts. It involves developing a daily practice of habits, rituals and routines that gets you started every morning. And they don’t have to be hard or complicated. Start off with one that that gives you an immediate win – making your bed!
After you awaken, what do you do the first thing? After visiting the bathroom, do you stagger toward the coffee pot? Then what? Do you sit down and mindlessly wait? If that’s the case, you’ve already left something undone or unfinished. Do you really want to start your day with a loss?
You can regain ground easily. When you awaken, throw the covers wide open so your bed airs and dries out. Then after you push the coffee pot ON button, head back to the bedroom and make your bed. It will only take a few seconds, but the gain is tremendous. Why? Because you’ve made yourself do it. You’ve taken control of your day. You’re no longer on autopilot just letting stuff happen. You’re in command once again.
A “making your bed” routine is a way to develop discipline, which I abide by religiously! The military is noted for its discipline, which begins each day with making the bed with precisely tucked-in corners. As Admiral William McRaven, ninth commander of US Special Operations Command said: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Making your bed starts your day with an easy win. It’s a decisive action that creates order out of chaos, setting the tone for your day. It triggers and reinforces in your mind that your intention is to live purposefully and productively.
Charles Duhigg says his book, The Power of Habit, “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” He calls it a “keystone habit,” something that kick starts a pattern of good behavior. Since you do it first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to do the next practice in your routine, whether that is exercise, meditation, reading or journaling.
So rise and shine! Isn’t it time to start making those life-altering changes? On January 12th, my colleague Nando Raynolds and I are presenting a free talk: “Make 2017 your Best Year Yet!” We’ll share with you our proven strategies, including NLP skills, for accomplishing what you desire most. Why don’t you join us! You can learn more by clicking here or feel free to contact me if you have any questions.