Mornings are hard.
If you have to coax yourself out of bed each morning and spend more time hitting snooze on your alarm than you’d care to admit, you’re not alone. A lot of people have difficulties finding their motivation in the morning.
Once you step out of the door on the wrong foot, the rest of the day has a higher chance of going downward too. Luckily, there’s hope for all of us. There’s one thing that you probably aren’t doing everyday because “you don’t have time” and it can actually be self-sabotaging.
By doing this one little thing, which takes about 5 minutes at most, you can all but guarantee your day will be more productive.
So what’s this one thing that you need to be doing?
Make your bed.
Nope, not a joke!
Even a former Navy Seal agrees…see what U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven said to the graduates on May 17, 2014 at his alma mater.
Scientific studies even back this one up. Research shows that people who make their bed have an increased amount of motivation and an optimistic outlook on any given day. Sure, research says a lot of things that end up being proven wrong, but the reasons for making your bed in the morning make this one hard to deny.
The science behind making your bed in the morning is based on the chain-reaction of events idea.
- One proactive task leads to another, leads to another, and so on.
- By making your bed, you’ve gotten something simple out of the way.
- The feeling of accomplishment that we get makes us want to feel that accomplishment again, so we move on to cleaning the house, preparing dinner for the night, packing a lunch, etc.
This has been tested out on people who suffer from depression and have a difficult time getting out of bed. People with depression were given a list of to-do items. They were told that they only had to do one of the items on the list for a week, which was making their bed in the morning.
The rest of the items that ranged from “get dressed” to “get a shower’ to “clean the house” were all optional. If you’ve ever had depression, then you know how difficult even those things sound. The people in the study group were asked to keep a feelings journal. A large percentage of people recorded that by day 3, they were motivated to tackle more on the list.
You may not be depressed, but if you’re not a morning person, waking up in the morning makes the same areas of the brain that are associated with depression light up. Lack of motivation, lethargy, negative outlook – these are all things that you likely feel when you awaken in the morning.
It’s crucial that you don’t feed these negative feelings. Agreeing with them or doing absolutely nothing allows these feelings to rule your day. Instead, counter them with the feeling of accomplishment. Doing one small thing leads to doing another small thing. A day filled with small accomplishments results in one, incredibly productive day.
Here’s what U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, told graduates during a commencement speech at the University of Texas. McRaven shared a couple important life lessons he learned during his 36 years as a Navy SEAL, beginning with some great advice that many mothers will love.
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven said to the graduates of the University of Texas, his alma mater on May 17, 2014.
“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. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
“And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” (1)
Plus, there’s no greater feeling than crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. So that’s an added bonus.