I used to start my mornings with the jolt of an alarm clock that would set into motion a mental list of tasks that I needed to get done throughout the day. This habit enabled me to get a lot of “stuff” done. But, over time, I began to notice that even though I was productive I wasn’t necessarily maximizing my impact and my personal fulfillment. I needed a new, and more meaningful way to kick-off my day.

So, I developed a practice of asking myself five questions each morning. These simple questions help me approach each day with greater intention and less reactivity. Before I had this practice my default mindset for my day was “be productive.” The five questions are guided by a different mindset — “make a difference.”

What am I grateful for today?
What is the impact I want to have today?
How is this priority going to translate into the way I use my time today?
What relationships do I want to invest in and nurture today?
How am I going to take care of myself today (physically, intellectually, emotionally, etc.)?

Going into the day having reflected on these questions helps me put surprises, distractions, and disappointments into perspective. These questions enable me to focus on those things that matter most and that I can actually influence. Since my morning ritual is to drink a cup of coffee or tea at the office, I’ve set a “rule” that I ask myself these questions before I take my first sip. What would you use as your “daily five” questions to begin each day? Please share them in the comments section below!

photo credit: Bethan