Let’s face it, we all want to start our day strong and keep our productivity high throughout the day. We wish that we can accomplish more and make progress toward our goals and reach our dreams. Guess what, we can do this if we learn how to build motivation to start the day.

How you start the day matters. Just like what this article on HuffingtonPost.com says:

“We only have a certain amount of energy and willpower when we wake up each morning, and it slowly gets drained away with decisions. This is especially true if you’re making hundreds of small decisions in the morning that mean nothing yet will affect how you make decisions for the remainder of the day. Try to have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible with a routine.”

And I totally agree. Our energy, willpower, and motivation will fade when we make decisions and take actions. We used up our mental power like our phone’s battery.

This is why highly successful people like Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, try to wear the same T-shirt and jeans every day. He doesn’t want to waste too much energy into thinking about what to wear and how to dress.

The same goes for ex-President of the United States, Barrack Obama. You’ll never see him wear a different color suit when he’s at work.

And if you want to have a great day, you need to have a great start, which is why your morning is absolutely important.

Remember, your morning sets the tone of your day. If you start your morning weak, it may affect your entire day.

Imagine when you oversleep and wake up late. You wake up in a hurry, you don’t take bath, you skip your breakfast, and you quickly rush to the door.

According to Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and hence, you stuck in traffic congestion. You’re late for your office and the meeting has started. You get into the meeting and you have to apologize because you’re late.

After the meeting, you remember that you forgot that you haven’t taken your breakfast and you’re hungry. You can’t concentrate on your work and the entire day feels like a waste.

Do you want to go through an unproductive day like this?

I’m pretty sure all of us have gone through some bad days before. And most of the time, when we did not manage our mornings well, we end up in the bad-day-loop.

This is what this guide is meant for – to build motivation so that you can start your morning with the right rhythm.

Now that you understand why it is crucial to have a great morning, let’s talk about ways how you build motivation to start the day…

1. Start early to prepare yourself for the day

Start early to prepare yourself for the day

One of the keys to having a great and high-energy morning is to start early. Wake up early so that you have enough time to prepare and anticipate for what’s coming.

It’s subjective to answer the question of what time should you wake up. This is because everyone’s work time is different.

For me, I start my work between 8:30 AM to 9 AM. And luckily that I work from home, hence, I don’t have to commute and factor in the traffic condition.

If you have to get out of home and drive to work at 8 AM, I suggest you wake up at around 6 AM. This is because we need at least an hour or two to prepare ourselves before we get to work.

And if you have more time, you can practice the 20/20/20 Formula as suggested by Robin Sharma.

  • 20 Minutes to exercise and sweat your body.
  • 20 Minutes to plan and schedule your day.
  • 20 Minutes to read and learn to boost your mental energy.

2. Build your physical energy through exercise

Build your physical energy through exercise

Another key to staying motivated and keeping your energy high is to build your physical energy.

When it comes to motivation, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is about creating the fired up feelings. Most people never have the thought that one big contribution to motivation is energy, and energy comes from our body movements.

This is why exercise is extremely important.

If you want to stay motivated and keep your motivation going, you must exercise regularly.

For me, I choose to do some simple stretching and exercise for just about 15 minutes each morning before I take my bath.

There are days when I feel like a slump and there are many days where I want to procrastinate on exercise, but every time after I exercised, I feel great and fresh.

So, you just have to start. Just do it. I know that it sounds a little challenging to wake up in a sleepy state and jump straight into exercising your body, but it is a great way to kick-start your day.

When you move your body, you become more awake and alert. You feel the energy surging in your body and you feel totally pumped up.

Remember this: START SMALL. Just jump around and do a few push-ups to warm up your body. When the motivation comes, you will have the drive to exercise more intensely.

3. Build your mental energy

Build your mental energy

I like this part the most. Each morning, I spend about 30 minutes reading. Just like this morning, I read a chapter of The $100 Startup, a New York Times best-selling book from Chris Guillebeau.

Of course, I understand that you may feel sleepy when you read, especially when you just wake up. This is why you can schedule your reading after exercise.

Plus, reading motivational books that will give you energy and inspiration. You don’t want to read a textbook that will turn you off. Read something motivational and inspirational.

There are many ways you can learn in the morning hours. Some people listen to podcasts and some prefer to read. Try not to watch motivational or learn from watching YouTube videos in the morning, you may get distracted and lose all your time there.

Instead, choose to learn from sources that you can concentrate on and focus on, like reading a physical book.

If you want to know what books to read, check out my top 10 success books here.

4. Review your goals and dreams

Review your goals and dreams

Now, this is crucial, but unfortunately, this is what most people never do. You must remind yourself of your targets, your goals, your aims, and your dreams.

Most people set goals, but they never review their goals and they never remind themselves of their goals at all. They do it once and then totally forget about it.

This is why a lot of people fail to reach their goals. You must constantly review your goals, preferably, once a day.

Whatever that is out of your sight will be out of your mind. This why it is important to have visual representations of your goals, like having a vision board. Learn to create a vision board here.

When you remind yourself of your goals and dreams, you keep them alive in your mind. You then realize what you need to do to get there and you can proactively take action and make a conscious effort to achieve them.

On the other hand, if you don’t remind yourself of your goals and what you want to achieve in life, you will eventually forget about them. We get distracted so often in life, so it is easy to forget about your goals.

Thus, look at your goals each morning. Understand what you need to do, and then take active measures and make progress to achieve them.

Read: The Importance of Daily Goal Setting and How to Do It Right

5. Schedule and plan your day

Schedule and plan your day

Do you schedule and plan your day? If you choose to do it the night before, great. Go through your plan and to-do list again in the morning.

If you did not do so the night before, this is what you must do in the morning. You cannot afford to go through your day without having a plan or a clear aim of what needs to be done.

A lot of people never plan their day. And this is why they are living a reactive life rather than a proactive one.

It is true that things may not go according to your plan, but somehow, having a plan is much better than having no plan at all.

I love how Tony Robbins explains in his book, Awaken the Giant Within, about having a clear plan in life. He says that life is like a raging river and without a plan, you will go wherever the streams bring you.

I believe that life is like a river, and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up. So, in a short period of time, they get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, current challenges.

When they come to forks in the river, they don’t consciously decide where they want to go, or which is the right direction for them. They merely ‘go with the flow’. They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result, they feel out of control.

They remain in this unconscious state until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover that they’re five feet from Niagara Falls in a boat with no oars. At this point, they say, ‘Oh shoot!’. But by then it’s too late. They’re going to take a fall.

Sometimes it’s an emotional fall.
Sometimes it’s a physical fall.
Sometimes it’s a financial fall.

It’s likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by making some better decisions upstream.

Tony Robbins

So, plan and schedule your day, my friend. It’s important!

Read: 10 Tips How to Plan Your Day and Live a More Successful Life

6. Take a cold shower

Take a cold shower

Well, this is just a suggestion. I do take a cold shower every morning before I start my day.

According to this article from MedicalDaily, there are plenty of benefits from cold shower:

  1. Increases your alertness
  2. Refines your hair and skin
  3. Improves your immunity and blood circulation
  4. Stimulates weight loss
  5. Speeds up muscle soreness and recovery
  6. Eases stress
  7. Relieves depression

You don’t really have to do so if you don’t want to, but I find that every time after the cold shower in the morning, I feel so much more energetic and awake.

In fact, I don’t really jump into cold shower straight. I do switch on my heater and take a warm bath, but towards the end, I switch off the heater and enjoy the cold shower. And I love it.

7. Look forward to something amazing

Look forward to something amazing

Another key to building a strong motivation to start your day is to have something to look forward to.

What do you look forward to doing or accomplishing today?

It can be anything that inspires and drives you. For instance, when there’s something you look forward to doing, it inspires and motivates you to perform better.

According to this study from Harvard Business Review, taking more vacation results in greater success at work as well as lower stress and more happiness at work and home.

This is because most people associate pleasure with vacation and they are looking forward to it.

And when you have something to look forward to, you feel excited and your mood improves. That means you’re more motivated to get things done so that you can do what you love after that.

In my case, sometimes it is a book that I just bought and I’m looking forward to reading it. It can also be a great article I’m looking forward to writing. Sometimes it is an exciting challenge that I throw at myself.

The thing is that you must have something that you look forward to. If you don’t, you may lose interest for it because there’s nothing more to do and everything is boring.

No matter what it is, whether it is having dinner in a Japanese restaurant or enjoying your favorite coffee while reading in Starbucks, have something to look forward to.

It motivates you to keep going. It makes you feel good. It motivates you to keep going.

8. Get a good breakfast

Get a good breakfast

It is difficult to have energy when you are hungry. Do you know that hunger can be a huge distraction?

When I’m writing articles and if I’m hungry, it distracts me to want to look for something to eat.

Not just that, after going through a long night sleep, we need to consume healthy food to energize our body and to allow our organs to function properly.

This is why it is called a ‘break-fast’, to break the fasting.

If you miss your breakfast, your motivation and productivity can suffer. Not only that, you may overeat later in the day, which can make you feel sleepy after the big meal.

Some people say that having a healthy breakfast does not only supply them with tons of energy, but it is also one of the factors that motivate them to wake up early and to start their day strong.

Read: 11 Things To Eat For Breakfast That Can Boost Productivity

9. Start your day with a cup of coffee

Start your day with a cup of coffee

Again, this is my personal favorite. I always start my day with a cup of coffee.

Before I sit on my desk, face my laptop, and start typing, I make a cup of coffee and then just enjoy it while writing articles. Even right now, when I’m typing this article, I just finished my coffee.

Some may say that coffee is bad and some say that coffee is good. In my opinion, coffee can be good as long as you don’t overdrink it. Moderation is key, my friend.

A cup or two a day will be just right. Usually, I only drink a cup. There will be some days that I take two cups of coffee, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but that is a rare occasion.

Another thing you have to know is that coffee by itself is beneficial to our health. It is going to be bad for our health only when we add in too much sugar and other stuff into it.

If you still hesitate that coffee is beneficial to our health, read this article from Barista Del Caffé.

Coffee is my personal favorite because it gives me energy and makes me alert so that I can have the motivation to start the day strong.

How do you think I’m able to write long articles on this blog? A big thanks to coffee.

Do you know that one of the most successful writers, J. K. Rowling, wrote her best-selling books, Harry Potter from a local café?

You can disagree with me. And if you don’t prefer coffee, don’t worry, there are many other methods you can use to build your motivation in the morning.

10. Hydrate your body

Hydrate your body

Coffee is not the first drink I put in my body. Every morning after I get up from my bed, the first thing I do after brushing my teeth is to drink a lot of water.

I feel more awake after I hydrate my body.

After a long night’s sleep, your body needs water to rehydrate and to ensure it functions properly. So drink a big glass of water upon waking.

Studies have discovered that water fires up our metabolism and while hydrates us. Besides, water also flushes out toxins and allow us to maintain a healthy body.

Read this article from USA Today to learn more:

Why You Should Drink Water First Thing Every Day

11. What’s your #1 goal of the day?

What’s the #1 goal of the day?

If you seriously want to start your day with motivation, ask yourself this question:

“What is the #1 goal that I must accomplish today?”

Knowing what you need to accomplish and then do it is one of the keys to achieving real success in life.

Like what I have mentioned above, a lot of people go through their day without knowing what they need to get done. As a result, they become reactive and respond to whatever comes to them.

If you want to get more done and become more productive, you must find out your priority, and then do it.

Stop living a reactive life, instead, be proactive and start living your life with purpose.

You must find out what is the most important thing that you need to do each day and then do it.

This is why finding out your #1 goal of the day is crucial. You don’t want to waste time doing things that are less or not important. You want to focus and ensure that you are doing something that will get you closer to your goals.

Therefore, start each day by finding out what’s the most important task you need to do. Once you have identified the task, do it first thing in the morning.

I strongly recommend you take my course: Goal Setting Formula. You will learn how to find out what you want to achieve, take charge of your life, and achieve real success through setting empowering goals.

12. Celebrate your progress

Celebrate your progress

Building motivation is all about having the pleasurable feelings. And you can feel great by celebrating your progress.

Practice the Reverse Gap by thinking about all the progress that you have made.

A lot of people think about how far they are from their goals, and if it is too far away, they feel dejected and quickly lose their motivation because their goals seem out of reach.

Plus, they set a condition by telling themselves that they will feel successful and happy only when they achieved their goals.

Which, you don’t really have to.

Count your blessings and measure your progress. Instead of thinking about how far you are from your goals, think of how far you have come. This is the concept of Reverse Gap thinking.

You don’t have to set the condition to feel successful only when you achieve your goals.

You can feel like a winner and happy at this instant, just see how far you have come and how much you have progressed.

Maybe you fail to achieve your goal of writing the 10,000 words eBook, but don’t forget that you have poured in the effort to write 5,597 words, so you should feel good about it.

In other words, count your blessings. Measure how far you have come and celebrate your progress.

You don’t have to wait until you achieved a certain results only to feel happy about it, the truth is you should feel happy right now so that you can achieve more.

Always remember this meaningful quote from Oprah:

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.

Oprah Winfrey

Read: 13 Ways How to Celebrate Small Victories and Make Progress

13. Allow fresh air and natural light to flow in

Allow fresh air and natural light to flow in

One thing that I always do in the morning is to open my house’s windows and curtains to allow natural lights and winds to flow in.

It feels absolutely refreshing when the early morning sunshine is brimming into your house.

When you are in the office, try to allow as much natural light as possible. Check out this image below from Eco-Business.com:

natural light importance

And this is what the article says:

“One neuroscience study found that people who sit by the window slept for 46 minutes longer a night on average compared with those who didn’t.

Other studies have found that well-illuminated spaces with natural elements such as daylight and greenery can improve creativity and learning.

These findings put scientific rigor behind our intuitive desire for daylight. The business case is clear: daylight promotes human health and potential. Workers around the world are catching on, with many starting to question how this valuable natural element should be shared between staff.”

Hence, make sure you expose yourself to natural light, especially in the morning.

Not only that it refreshes your body, mind, and soul, it also realigns your body’s function telling you that it is now morning, and it’s time to get motivated to start a great day.

14. Dress for productivity and success

Dress for productivity and success

Another important tip to building motivation to start the day is by dressing casually and comfortably.

If you are working from the comfort of your home, you may be tempted to work in your pajamas. While there is nothing wrong with it, but wearing pajamas can decrease your motivation and productivity.

This happened to me in the first few months when I started to work from home. I felt no motivation at all and I found that it is extremely difficult to focus on my work.

Today, I dress up casually, make my hair, and put on my contact lens before I start my work. It makes me feel more driven to work.

After all, when you are in your pajamas, you are telling yourself subconsciously that you are not ready for work.

You don’t have to dress professionally, but at least, make yourself feel like you are working.

This is why experts suggest that if you find it difficult to have the motivation to work at home, try to dress more properly like you are going to work.

Here’s what BrainFodder.org says about how your clothes change the way you think:

“Science says that the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others.”

The way you dress can change your mood. Of course, it can alter your level of motivation as well.

15. Get a good night’s sleep

Get a good night’s sleep

Finally, starting your day with motivation requires a lot of energy, and one of the easiest ways to do so is to get a good night’s sleep.

It is easy to understand, if you want to wake up with energy and feeling motivated to work, you must make sure you get enough sleep.

Read: Do You Really Need Motivation to Succeed?

This is common sense, but most people refuse to sleep more. They want to get more done by sleeping LESS.

How can you do more when you always feel sleepy? You can’t concentrate and it greatly lowers your productivity.

Quality matters over quantity, my friend.

If getting 7 hours of sleep a day can make you productive and keep your motivation to work for 10 hours a day, it is much better than sleeping for just 4 hours, and then you can’t focus, feel sleepy, and lack motivation, where at the end of the day, you only get 5 hours of work done.

It is not easy to discipline yourself to sleep early.

You see, many gurus out there suggest we wake up early, but most of them don’t tell you to get more sleep.

We often feel like we don’t have enough personal time and we just wanted to have more time for ourselves at night. That is why we choose to sleep late. We want to watch another episode of the drama, play more games, or surf YouTube or check Facebook mindlessly.

But the truth is that these are unproductive activities that are not contributing to achieving the success that we desire.

If you are serious about getting a high level of motivation to start the day, you must make sure you get enough sleep so that you will have the energy to tackle what’s coming next.

You can learn more about how sleep can affect your level of productivity and motivation, read this article from Zapier.com.


These are the 15 tips on how you can start your day with motivation. I hope some of the tips here are going to be helpful to you.

Let’s recap on what we have covered so far:

  1. Start early so you can get fully prepared for your day
  2. Build your physical energy through exercise
  3. Build your mental energy
  4. Review your goals and dreams
  5. Schedule and plan your day
  6. Take a cold shower
  7. Look forward to something amazing
  8. Get a good and healthy breakfast
  9. Start your day with a cup of coffee
  10. Hydrate your body
  11. Ask yourself: “What’s my #1 goal today?”
  12. Celebrate your progress
  13. Allow fresh air and natural light to flow in
  14. Dress for productivity and motivation
  15. Get a good night’s sleep

So, how do you kick-start your day with motivation? Let me know by leaving your comments below.

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  1. Hi Shawn

    Your number one, is my number one as well. Getting an early start a smashing out an hour of work before anyone else does wonders for what you can get done in a day.

    I juggle so many things, including my own startup, Task Pigeon, that the only way to get everything do is to be up before others and squeeze in that extra hour or so of work.


    • Shawn Lim Reply

      Hello Paul, yeah, waking early is definitely one of the game changers for me. Although I only start to work at about 830AM, but when I wake up early, I got the time to exercise a little and read for about half an hour. The best part is that I can choose to reflect and do something thinking if I wanted to. 🙂

  2. Pingback: 10 Easy Methods How To Get Recharge Yourself For A Fresh Start

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