The 5-Minute Mindset Exercise that Will Revolutionize Your Day

I’ve been working lately on trying to get my morning act together. Not so much my routine, but my mindset upon waking. I’d fallen into a habit of opening my eyes, tossing out a quick mental, “Hey God, it’s me, Annie,” picking up my phone, and immediately bombarding myself with the day’s news and to-dos. I knew I needed a new habit—something to replace my (rather pathetic) God nod and morning Facebook feast.

Michael Gervais, psychologist to some of the greatest athletes and performers in the world, suggests starting off the morning by setting an intention for the day. You get your mind right by connecting to what matters most. He advises taking a few seconds when you first wake up to say, “Today I am all about ______” or “Today I will focus on _____ and _____.”

I loved that concept. I also wanted to incorporate some other mindfulness exercises into my morning. So I created a morning meditation—very quick, very simple—that taps into all of the things I need to get me into the right frame of mind for the day. This “G.O.O.D. Morning” meditation is the first thing I do each day, before I even get out of bed. It’s made a world of difference for me, so I thought I’d share it with you all.

Simply go through these four steps, in order, in your head. It should take less than five minutes, especially once the pattern becomes a habit. Here goes:


I’m inclined to connect with my higher power first thing in the morning, but even if you aren’t a person of faith, taking a moment to feel grateful is a great way to boost your health and happiness.

Think about the things you are thankful for—your family and friends, your home, your warm bed, the smell of orange spice tea—whatever. You don’t have to list everything, but focus on gratitude long enough that you feel content with what you have and where you are. Breathe gratitude in. Let it fill all the empty nooks and crannies of your mind. Don’t let anything else slip by—focus on the good. This is the filling up step. It takes me about 20 seconds—you might take more or less time. Just make sure you feel full and content before moving onto the next step.

Step 1: FILL UP with gratitude.


Once you are filled with gratitude, it’s time to expand your capacity and make room for more. More what? More awesome. More things to be grateful for. Open yourself up to the possibilities this day holds. Say, “All right, I’m happy and content with what I have and where I am. Now I’m ready to welcome more.” Some might call this thinking in abundance. Some may call it the law of attraction. All you’re doing is making mental, emotional, and spiritual space for good things to come your way. This step shouldn’t take long. A few breaths and a mental “Okay, I’m ready for more awesome.” That’s it.

Step 2: OPEN UP to what this day holds for you.


Now that you’ve opened yourself up and made this space, identify the things you are going to fill it with. What opportunities do you see in the day ahead? How can you grow, improve, and connect? This step is almost like thinking through your day’s to-dos, but with a fresh, positive outlook. I like to think in categories:

  • What opportunities do I have with my family to bond, to teach, to connect on a deeper level?
  • What opportunities do I have in my career to learn something new, to improve my skills, to add to my income?
  • What opportunities do I have to serve others today? To become more aware? To experience joy? To make a difference?

Whatever you envision as a goal, look for opportunities to get there. The best part of this step is that it helps you reframe things you might not normally think positively about. Is one of your kids particularly needy lately? That’s an opportunity to connect. Deadlines looming at work? An opportunity to hone your time management skills. Don’t feel like working out? An opportunity to overcome inertia and see what your body can do. Making a mental list of the day’s opportunities is the longest step, but should still only take a couple of minutes.

Step 3:  LINE UP the opportunities before you.


Now it’s time to resolve to make the most of those opportunities. Determination simply means aligning your will with your vision for the day. It’s an enthusiastic “Let’s do this!” as you visualize yourself doing everything you’ve just identified. Make it real in your mind and leave no room for doubt and fear. Visualization and positive self-talk are powerful, scientifically sound tools for living a more effective life. Don’t let cynicism or pessimism tell you differently. Tell yourself that you can—and will—make the most of this day and the opportunities it presents.

Step 4: GET UP and get moving toward your vision.

That’s it. As I said, the whole thing takes me five minutes at most. I do it just after opening my eyes, before I’ve even sat up in bed. It’s an awesome way of centering my thoughts, focusing on the positive, and starting off on the right foot.

I’ve even found myself using the G.O.O.D acronym to re-center during the day when I feel things starting to derail. I take a minute and go through the mental steps—Gratitude, Openness, Opportunity, Determination—and find that most of the time I can get right back to a calm, positive, and focused state of mind.

It did take a couple of days to remember to do this meditation when I first woke up (habits can be hard to break!), so I took James Clear’s advice and adjusted my environment to make it so that I couldn’t forget. Since I was grabbing my phone first thing, I put a sticky note on it that says, “G.O.O.D. Morning!” before bed. I keep the note right on my nightstand so I see it and remember to stick it when I set my phone down at night. Absolutely no way for me to forget.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Try it out, and let me know if you find it helpful.

G.O.O.D MorningMeditation (1)

The 5-Minute Mindset Exercise that Will Revolutionize Your Day

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 9

  1. I love this! I love it so much! I’ve been trying it for the last few days as the beginning part of my morning devotions, and I love it, especially the beginning with gratitude part. It’s so easy (for me, anyway) to begin the day overwhelmed by everything in front of me, not grateful for everything that’s there. To say to myself, Today I* get* to, instead of, Today I HAVE to. So thank you!

    So I’ve mentally written and deleted this part of my comment at least 12 times, because the last thing I want to do is come across like some kind of judgemental holier than thou b-word. To start, let me say– and I mean this sincerely– that I am sure you are 200 times more awesome than I am in every way and have it at least 200 times more together than I do on a daily basis. Seriously. I’m posting this only because it’s my own personal experience– and ONLY in case there are other moms like me out there who are trying this kind of thing and yet still frustrated because they’re still struggling.

    I used to have a morning routine that was kind of similar to this, only my acronym was ACTS. As in, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. (Remnant left over from my Christian childhood). It probably took me 5 minutes (or less). Which I felt like was okay. I had/have a lot on my plate (I homeschool our 2 older kids and my third is at the moment a super super active 21 month old who has decided napping is for the weak most days, I’m our family’s main wage earner, we have multiple food allergies in the family, so I do basically 100 percent of the cooking from scratch . . . you get the idea). And I honestly don’t think prayer/meditation HAS to be super lengthy. There’s the short obligatory prayer in our faith that can certainly be said in under 5 minutes. There’s the verse about how it’s better to recite a single verse with joy and radiance than read the entire books of God without it. All of which sounded absolutely hand-crafted for people in my shoes.

    Except, I was still struggling and feeling like I was sucking at everything. (Not all the time, but kind of a lot. More than I wanted to, anyway). So while I was praying one morning, I was kind of like, Um, so not to be a whiner, God (Well, okay, let’s be honest, I was kind of whining), but I say prayers every day and I thought that was supposed to make me AWESOME. Or if not awesome, at least suck less.

    And God kind of raised Divine eyebrows at me and was like, You want awesome? On less than five minutes a day? And I was like, But . . . but . . . but . . . children! Homeschooling! Cooking! Earning enough to keep a roof over our heads! And God was like, And you spend how much time looking at crafts on Pinterest that you have a .0000001 percent chance of ever completing? It’s more than 5 minutes, that’s for dang sure.

    And I was like, Darn. So, I started over. My toddler still nurses for 20 mins or so first thing in the morning, and I used to use that time to either frantically try to get in a few minutes of work or have a little bit of quiet personal internet-browsing time before my day started. But instead (unless I’ve managed to drag myself awake before the toddler) now I use that time to say prayers and read the holy writings from my faith.

    So then I was totally transformed and awesome and lived happily ever after! Hahahahahaha.

    Not really. Honestly, it’s hard. It’s hard to give up the work time, hard to give up the time to dive into the crack that is Pinterest (I guess we all have our vices) when I don’t usually get any other ‘me’ time at all during my busy day. Some days I’m super grumpy and am like, I’m sorry, God, but today, 5 minutes is all I’ve got to give you.

    And God gives me the divine eyebrow-raise and is like, Hello? You think you’re somehow saying prayers for MY benefit? This is to help YOU. And if you’re that grumpy, do you really think you can get through the day without My help?

    And I’m like, Darn. (Although some times 5 minutes really IS all I’ve got, and I’m pretty sure God understands and tells me that’s okay, too. Little by little, day by day and all that.)

    I guess my point is that sometimes if you’re struggling, you might have to take a hard look at what else is in your life and decide whether something can be cut out. I’m under no illusions that my giving up 20 minutes of Pinterest/Facebook time is anything particularly great or noble in the way of sacrifice– but for me, it’s helped. Also, for me, this is about my own faith/God, but if you’re not religious, I don’t think it has to be. Just figuring out what unhealthy (or at least unproductive) time-sinks you might be able to replace with healthier ones can help if you’re struggling.

    Anyway, that’s my own story. Just in case there are any other Pinterest addicts out there. 😉

    1. Post

      Love love love this whole comment, Anna. (Well, except for the me being 200 times more awesome and together than you, because HA! No.) I especially like this part: “And God gives me the divine eyebrow-raise and is like, Hello? You think you’re somehow saying prayers for MY benefit? This is to help YOU.” I remember that dawning on me a few years ago, too. Duh. You’re so right. I think the key is replacing those distractions (Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) with something intentional (which is why I came up with this G.O.O.D little ditty, to overcome that first impulse to look at my phone).

      On a related note, I’ve given a lot of thought to what it means to be in a “constant state of prayer.” I’m not sure I’ve figured it out yet, but I picture trying to keep that connection/communication with God flowing freely, figuring out what things sort of clog the pipes, and eliminating them as much as possible. Easier said than done, of course. But it helps me remember that I don’t have to always find a quiet, secluded, uninterrupted time and place to pray, that I can connect as I go throughout my day. (Of course, a quiet, secluded, uninterrupted time and place is awesome, and it’s definitely better to have that as well, but in a life filled with young kids and chaos, we take what we can get.) 🙂

      1. Now that is an AWESOME point, and something that I definitely need to strive to remember (even though I tell my kids this all the time, ha) that prayer can be any time at all, as long as we’re putting God first in our hearts– which should be always. I love that quote, too, about, “strive that your actions may be beautiful prayers,” and that work done in a spirit of service is worship. Probably I just place an unreasonably high expectation/value on quiet meditation time because it’s in such short supply in my life. 😉

        1. that was very thoughtful and honest, believing is the shore of maybe a everlasting believing lilving on the shores that you may walk. And will walk on to your children may live.that its now..

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