How To Create A Masterpiece From Your Morning Routine

Sleep is your physical, mental, and emotional reset button. It allows you to wake up to a blank canvas upon which you will create your day. Like any great painting, however, where you choose to start defines the entire piece.

To finish your day with a picture you are proud of instead of a painting only your mother would accept, try these strategies to start your morning:

Stay off social media. A German study found that viewing Facebook often create "social envy" due to posts on travel/leisure, social interaction, and happiness. Remember, your mind is fresh and looking for connections for the day. Why risk creating negative emotions or thoughts because of someone's post or Instagram photo? Plan to live your day your way.

Exercise. Even 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise has been shown to treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as anti-depressant medication. Use this time to think, reflect, or listen to positive podcasts. Or just let your mind wander.

Spend a few moments doing something that makes you happy. For me it's a quick stroll to the garden, playing fetch with our dogs, or a few minutes sitting with my wife or daughter talking about our day. These positive moments can act as a shield or insulator from all the negative pressures you will face later in the day.

Read or view something encouraging and enriching. Like the previous suggestion, it serves to build up our well being and give us increased levels of positive mental and emotional energy.

Ask yourself a question. In his commencement address to Stanford University, Steve Jobs shared the question he asked himself each morning. He said: "For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." One of my own guiding questions is, "Will my wife and children be proud of me for what I plan to do today?"

Taking steps like these to start your day will help ensure you have a day worth framing and not one that gets tossed in the trash.

How could you improve your morning routine?

For more on creating a better morning routine: 
How Successful People Start Their Day
22 Quick Habits To Add To Your Daily Morning Routine