Growing up playing basketball, my coach would constantly stress the importance of getting off to a great start right from the opening tip. How you start the game often sets the tone for the rest of the game.
Although focusing on an effective start is important, being your best in the fourth quarter and ending the game on a high note is equally as important. We’ve all seen games where everything is looking great until the team unravels in the fourth quarter and loses the game. This goes to show you must play to the final whistle in order to achieve success.
The same philosophy applies to our everyday life.
Establishing good morning habits (i.e. your first quarter) has been well documented. Although it’s great to start the day operating flawlessly on all cylinders, it’s equally as important to end the day with some good evening habits (i.e. your fourth quarter) to set yourself up for success the following day. The actions you take at night will serve as your bridge to success the next day.
A great evening routine not only relaxes you, but also recharges you for the next day so you can show up in an optimum physical, mental and emotional state.
Here are five effective evening habits to set yourself up for success the following day:
1. Identify your three biggest rocks for tomorrow.
The possibility of getting sidetracked from your vision is more likely to happen when you don’t have a plan. Without taking a moment to think about what’s essential, you run the risk of doing busy work instead of effective work.
Identifying your three biggest rocks for the next day allows you to head into the day with clarity, direction and purpose. To determine your biggest rocks, ask yourself, If I don’t get anything else done tomorrow, what are the three biggest and most effective tasks that could move me closer to my goals? Answering this question allows you to take your big goal and break it down into manageable daily tasks, which prevents any potential overwhelm from your big goal.
Set a daily alarm to write out your three biggest rocks for the next day before leaving the office.
2. Move your body.
Pretend your health is the head of an octopus. Without that head operating efficiently, those tentacles aren’t going to perform to their capabilities. After a hard day at work, exercising removes the clutter in your head, relieves stressors, and thus creates space for new ideas and positive thoughts to flow.
Whether it’s a quick 30-minute gym workout, a mile-run in the park, a relaxing yoga class or even a social activity such as salsa dancing, any type of movement will allow you to experience the positive endorphins that exercise provides.
3. Make time for those closest to you.
Many of us (myself included) get lost in our work and tend to neglect the people closest to us. One of the best ways to maintain your happiness and recharge after a long day is to dedicate time to your relationships. Relationships are a powerful driving force behind our happiness. Our relationships are important because it’s those people who are our biggest supporters during good and bad times.
Make it a nightly goal to give your uninterrupted attention to those closest to you. The activity doesn’t matter so much as just spending time together.
4. Educate yourself.
To become the most successful version of yourself, build a mindset of continuous learning. What better way to educate yourself than through the power of books? Reading allows you access to a plethora of the world’s greatest minds who can serve as your virtual mentors.
By reading, you’re not only increasing your intelligence, but you’re also fueling yourself with valuable inspiration to help you continue toward your goals. Inspirational fuel boosts positive thoughts as you sleep and helps you wake up with an optimistic state of mind.
Commit to a nightly reading goal of 30 minutes. Use the experts to propel you to success.
5. Give gratitude and reflect on the day.
As we work toward our goals, it’s easy to get lost in the chase and forget to acknowledge what we already have. Instituting a nightly gratitude habit keeps you grounded in the present moment while allowing you to stay motivated toward your future goals.
End your day by writing three to four positive things that happened that day.
The fourth quarter is where champions are born. Are you ready?