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Do you want to be more productive? Do you want to be more motivated today? Happier? Then put some thought into the most important part of the day: the start.

I know it may seem obvious, but the beginning of your day is the same as the beginning of a race–if the runner stumbles at the starting line, it’s hard to catch up.

I don’t think many people think about the start of their day. They just fall into a habit or routine. Here are five ways to jump-start your day:

Get up one hour earlier.

Get up earlier so your morning can be a calm, mindful way to start your day. When you do, you have time to actually think about your day and not caught up in the fire drill.

This is a great way to start your day because it is also more relaxing, not having to rush around like a crazy person. People who are successful set aside time to think about what they are doing.

Start with only positive content.

Many people get up in the morning and turn on the morning news as they are getting ready for their day. While that sounds like a great idea, the problem is you’re starting off the day with very negative content.

Let’s face it, the news is full of really bad news: death, fires, terrorism and tragedy.

I recently watched a woman on a morning flight on her laptop reading all the news about the latest shooting tragedy. She literally spent an entire two hours of her time reading all about murder.

Why would anyone want to start their day that way?

Only start with the positive.

Think about changing your morning habits. Start with something positive, read a positive book or useful article online, watch a positive video like a TED Talk, subscribe to a thought provoking blog, read something spiritual, pray or meditate.

Think of it as your morning ritual for results.

Take a few moments to journal.

Take a few moments during the quiet time of the morning before anyone is up. Write down your goals objectives dreams and ambitions.

Reflect on where you are and where you are going. Remind yourself why  you’re working so hard.

People say it’s not just about the destination but the journey. Still, it’s important to continually remind yourself of your destination. Knowing your destination can be very motivating. Think about keeping a journal–it can really help cement your thinking.

Do something to raise your energy level.

In order to jump- start your day you need to make sure that you have a high level of energy for working. Think about what activities would give you the most amount of energy for your day.

Doing a aerobic or anaerobic workout can help you be more energetic. Having a nice healthy breakfast can boost your energy.

Listening to high energy music, or taking a hot brisk shower can be a great way to start your day. Have breakfast with your kids and your spouse and talk about their day.

There are no right answers about raising your energy level except knowing what works for you. What raises your energy?

Plan out your day in writing.

Take a few moments and plan out your day in writing. Make an action list of the 3-4 things that you must get done today, both professionally and personally.

You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is. The action list gives you a track to run on. Get on track early.

I think John Wayne said it best about starting your day: “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
Originally appeared in Inc. Magazine

Follow Shawn Doyle on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Motiv8er