“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” -Ralph Marston

The dawn of a new day illumes infinite opportunity to maximize your potential for growth, as well as develop habits that will overall better your quality of living. You have complete control over the role you play in manifesting your own happiness and sense of fulfillment. All it takes is having the mindset to make the necessary changes you need in order to become the person you are striving to be.

One can easily become captivated by the curse that is complacency, as our salient successes, our wild wins, our audacious achievements, and our contented comfort levels have the ability to keep us from self-improvement. You only live once, so why not make the most of the life you are living?

Although improvement rarely happens overnight, there are a few steps you should consider implementing into your daily routine to help boost your immediate and overall well-being.

Choose a random word to guide you throughout your day. This little trick trains your brain into transforming everyday situations into whatever you would like them to be. For instance, if you choose the word “curious,” make it the theme of your day to explore your inner curiosity. Spend the day asking inquisitive questions and exploring things beyond your scope of interest and knowledge. Mundane tasks mold our minds into shapeless machinations. The best way to avoid this is to expand upon your cognitive thinking skills and hone your abilities to process your thoughts creatively and imaginatively.

Listen to at least 15 minutes of a podcast each day as you get ready or as you are sitting in traffic. The secret here is that there is a takeaway to every podcast. Make it your mission to listen to a portion of a podcast each day and take an ounce of knowledge from it. The beauty of audio recordings are that they allow you to listen and absorb information, while you multitask. Therefore, there is no excuse! You can listen anywhere, at any given time.

Wake up earlier than you usually would and do something productive before starting your day. Research studies have revealed that willpower is highest in the morning, so start your morning out strong. This can mean reading ten pages of a novel, going for a run, or setting aside the time to make a big breakfast. Because you are more likely to feel increasingly depleted as the day goes on, it is important to make those early morning hours count by taking advantage of the energy and focus you have when you first wake up.

In the words of illustrious American writer Mark Twain, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In other words, taking on the biggest or most gruesome task in the morning will make the rest of your day appear to be fan-freaking-tastic in comparison. If Vogue Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour can wake up at 5:45 AM everyday to play an hour of tennis, you can roll out of bed and read the morning paper.

Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning technique requires that you wake up an hour earlier everyday and spend ten minute increments of the hour on 6 different things:

S – Silence. Pray or meditate.

A – Affirmation.

V – Visualization.

E – Exercise.

R – Read. Read some kind of self development book.

S – Scribe. Write/journal.

Self-directed questions and affirmations allow you to explore what makes you happy and how you can possibly be even happier. Look in the mirror and ask yourself every morning, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And if the answers seems to be no for a series of consecutive days, you should be making some definite lifestyle changes. This motivational tactic was practiced by Steve Jobs for over 33 years of his life.

A simple question has the power to completely alter the course of your day. Affirmations also allow you to positively set the footing for a successful day ahead. For US founding father Benjamin Franklin, this means asking the question, “what good shall I do today?” and doing it.

Learn how to say no and not feel guilty about it. You are only human. This amounts to being able to say no and prioritizing your daily tasks. You may want to help your friends and family, so you feel compelled to take on what feels like a million different responsibilities, even if this means having little to no time left for yourself. Be clear and honest with what you truly want by being firm and direct. Learning how to say no will lead others to respect your decision, rather than take advantage of you.

Let go of the negative Nancy’s in your life. In an ideal world, you should be surrounding yourself with the utmost amount of love and positivity. However, energy monopolizing people do exist, or what we call dementors, and they rarely give you a break. Whether we are fully aware of it or not, we all have them filling up our inboxes and leaving frequent messages. These people are the one’s that drain your energies and leave you feeling more depleted than ever.

A simple phone call to catch up becomes an hour long therapy session responsible for your two day migraine. While you may want to be there for the people you love, you have to consider your own well-being. If you are unable to completely cut out the source of the negativity, try to limit your time talking to the Debbie downers in your life.

Be aware of your tendencies to complain. Everyone feels the urge to complain. It is an inherent habit to all human beings that allows us to release our stresses and discomforts. Complaining may be a common coping mechanism, however, it certainly makes us more negative people and less pleasant to be around. For the course of a week, practice taking note of each complaint you make with a tally mark on a post-it note.

This will allow you to re-evaluate your lack of satisfaction and reconsider what is making you complain in the first place. Most times, those who actively complain are not aware of the extent they are doing so.