post written by: Angel Chernoff

12 Things You Need to Remind Yourself of When You Wake Up

12 Things You Need to Remind Yourself of When You Wake Up

Each morning is a brand new opportunity.  What you do today is what matters most.  Today is another chance to get it right.

We may not always love everything about our lives, but deep down we do love and appreciate the magic of life itself.  Some part of us believes that everything and anything is possible.

Sadly, though, we don’t always believe these possibilities are within our reach, even when they are.  The problem is we choose to believe otherwise.  We choose to believe we are incapable of living our lives the way we want to live them, at our full potential.  We choose to accept our reality as others have told us it has to be.

Wake up!

We don’t have to do this to ourselves – none of us do.  We have a choice.  We don’t have to be complacent.  We don’t have to fall into line.  Why not stir things up a bit and live by better rules?

It’s time to remind yourself of a few key truths – right now and every morning hereafter:

  1. Today can be great, but only if you make it so. – Why do we often feel so powerless?  Because we convince ourselves that we are.  We wait for things to be given to us – entitlements.  But in life, there are no true entitlements, and the truth is that if you want something then you need to make it happen for yourself.  You need to work for it.  Whether or not today is a great day doesn’t depend on the weather.  It doesn’t depend on your “mood” (that’s also within your control).  It doesn’t depend on anyone else.  If you want to have a pleasant and productive day then choose to have one.  It’s all about your perception and what you choose to believe and do.
  2. There is a lot you CAN control. – There are plenty of things in life that are out of our control, but don’t let this fool you into believing that your life as a whole is out of your control.  The reality is, the life you are living is almost entirely by your own design.  You have made many little choices along the way that led you down the road you’re currently traveling.  Saying that your life is out of your control is a copout – it’s what other people want you to believe so that they have an easier time getting you to do what they want you to do.
  3. You do not need anyone’s constant approval. – The need for approval is like an addiction.  If you base all your actions on the approval of others, ultimately you find yourself running in place, sacrificing your own happiness.  Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.  Learn how to say “no” to people and obligations that do not add value to your life.  Your time on this planet is precious.  As the saying goes, “What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”  Don’t wait around for someone else to give you permission to live.  (Read Awaken the Giant Within.)
  4. Complaining is useless unless you can suggest a solution. – Do not be a constant complainer.  It doesn’t help you and it certainly doesn’t help your relationships.  If you do not like your current situation, work towards changing it, but don’t just sit around complaining about it.  Complaining will only make others nearby not want to be around you.  Be someone that looks at the positive aspects of situations.  And if you do find a problem that needs to be addressed, be someone that suggests a solution.  The bottom line is that you will never get to where you want to be by complaining about where you are now.  Each step in your life is preparing you for the one that comes after it.
  5. Success is a lifestyle, not a result. – We all want to achieve success, but we need to remember that success in not a specific achievement.  Success is not crossing over some arbitrary finishing line.  It’s the ability to fight the good fight day in and day out.  Success is strength – the strength to keep pushing and to keep living your life on your own terms.  Success isn’t an end result.  It’s a state of being.  You don’t win success.  You are a success every day.
  6. The fact that you haven’t given up is a success in itself. – It may give you little comfort to think about how you’re still waist deep in the struggle, but the truth is you are one of the strong people with the guts to keep at it.  Many people give up before they even begin, but not you.  No, you wake up every day and get things done.  You crawl inch by inch against the current because you refuse to give up.  You refuse to accept mediocrity.  You refuse to listen to others when they tell you that you’re not good enough.  You’re still in it, fighting the good fight.  (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  7. In every tough situation, kindness must be attempted first. – People may make ugly comments.  The airline carrier may lose your baggage.  Another driver may cut you off in rush-hour traffic.  These situations will happen daily.  The question is: How are you going to respond?  Although your first response, like many others, will be to get upset, why not try a different approach?  Anger in these situations never solves problems.  People are far more likely to respond aptly to kindness.  And you can be kind and be firm at the same time.  Get your point across without sacrificing your integrity.  It’s the only response you will not regret later.
  8. Bullies and energy vampires are not worth worrying about. – We sometimes allow the wrong people to take up too much space in our heads and hearts.  We meet energy vampires and bullies regularly – especially when we live in a big city or work in a large, cutthroat corporate environment.  These individuals will try to get to you – they will try to influence you and become a part of your life because they find their own life to be mundane.  They already poisoned their own lives and now they are looking to poison yours.  Don’t let them get to you.
  9. If someone hurts you, don’t take it personally. – Truth be told, if someone hurts you, chances are, they have been hurt themselves.  So do your best to never take anything too personally.  Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let insults get to your heart.  Most people can only give others what they have received themselves.  All your actions and words should come from a place of love, but not everyone will be loving in return, and that’s OK.  As Miguel Ruiz explained in his book The Four Agreements, when you do not take anything personally, you liberate yourself.  You can open yourself to the world, freely, and not have to worry about the judgments of others.
  10. Your focused presence matters. – While modern technology can be life-changing in many beneficial ways, there is an aspect of this technology that greatly interferes with our lives and relationships.  Do not be so addicted to a screen that you miss out on the opportunity to enjoy real life unfolding in front of you.  Learn to disconnect.  Learn to slow down.  Give people your full and undivided attention.  Do not seek mindless stimulation on a screen for no reasons, and refocus on nurturing real human connections.
  11. Good things in life end too soon when they aren’t appreciated. – This isn’t to say that appreciating what you have when you have it comes naturally – our minds tend to consider the possibility that the grass on the other side is greener.  But we need to mindfully remind ourselves that life isn’t about constantly upgrading things.  To live a happy, fulfilling life we have to learn to appreciate and love what we have.  If you fall in love then do your sincere best to nurture your love.  Don’t wait for things to end before you start appreciating them.
  12. Today is a blessing. – Think about how many people die every minute of every day and you’ll begin to realize that waking up in the morning is a blessing.  We don’t live in a world of perpetual peace, but one laden with bouts of chaos.  On top of this, accidents do happen and people get severely injured and die because of them.  Getting another day to breathe, to experience life, and to do something meaningful is the greatest gift one can receive.  Make today count!

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What’s something positive you like to remind yourself of every day?  Leave a comment below and share your insights with us.

Photo by: Noelle Buske

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  • This article came at a perfect time for me. I had a really difficult day today, and I desperately need the encouragement to create a better tomorrow.

    I’m drowning in a couple realities that I’ve been afraid to face, and feel I’ve buried myself way too deep in denial. But there’s enough here to read over and over, as many times as needed, to assure myself that I can overcome them and make progress again. That’s actually the thing I appreciate most about your website and your book - reliable, positive sources to reference online and offline when I lose my perspective.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for this post. Just the right words as I start a new day.

    My two cents: Every day I remind myself to breathe. To pause at least once and look around. Life can be hectic, but I don’t have to be. Knowing this helps me.

  • Every day I remind myself: Today, focus more on those who love you, and don’t give priority to those who are never there by your side.

    It’s about keeping the important people on the top of my mind.

  • Number 7, remembering to try kindness first when you really want to be angry, is one of the most difficult things for me to live by, but it’s also been one of the most important.

    To the one about choosing to have a good day and then making it so, I would add a suggestion that you try to first spend most of your time conscious (because we stay on auto-pilot too much) and then try to be thankful or happy or just generally in a good mood more often than not. If you can make 51% of your day positive, then it was worth living (and the other 49% will be that much easier).

  • “Today is another chance to get it right.” - Sometimes when I am in the throws of my lonesome China ex-pat life and I need an attitude shift… I find if I meditate and breathe for ten minutes my day looks a little brighter.

  • I find that having a little list of to-dos and checking them off helps me to see that I am making progress towards my goals - even the little jobs (like getting the ironing done or getting an application off, or booking an appointment) are contributing to something bigger and I am not leading an unproductive life.

  • “I am worth my time.”

  • Nice, useful tips as always!

    My contribution: Always consider the big picture of life when starting a new day. It’s easy to get caught up in your current problems and worries, letting them take up all your focus. Instead, try to think beyond your current situation, and picture life as a whole.

    I find that this has me treating problems very differently, and with a clearer perspective, than I normally would.

  • I just have to say: you guys rock! It’s so wonderful to wake up and receive an email like this from you - perfect and filled with useful wisdom. Thanks for all that you do.

  • One thing I would add for myself, ‘Stop dwelling on the person I was 5, 10, 15 years ago…I’m robbing myself of enjoying the 36 year old me. I feel some women constantly regret their birthdays and that doesn’t allow you to enjoy yourself today. Enjoy your 36 year old self. Celebrate her’ That would be my #13 on this list.

  • Another fantastic & precise delivery from the M&A team. Bravo!

  • A great list!
    I’d add that it’s important to know that we have more love coming at us from the “other side” than we could ever imagine. Sit in silence and connect to all the loving beings occupying the great unknown on a daily basis.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • This could not have come at a better time. I woke up with anxiety out of control. Just this simple email helped me to put things into perspective. Thanks so much for the reminders.

  • Very encouraging and uplifting. I’m doing a series of illustrations that could include a lot of these sentiments. I’m doing an illustration a day for 100 days. The 100 day project…

  • Life, can be a roller coaster, with the ups and downs. It’s about embracing both and moving along with it. Finding God in your life and meditating on his words and putting full faith upon him.

    Sometimes… we start to neglect those who we cherish most and focus on other priorities like work or the circular entertainments in life. Which implies we all have a soul, a soul that craves for something to live for, people to impress, goals to accomplish. So why are we doing this? We’re all searching for something our hearts desire, a deep dark secret.

    As we take a step back and look at life, a storms clears, you hear the birds chirping merrily, sound of traffic, gossiping, shouting, wind blowing… But then spiritually you’ll hear God. He is close, very close, sitting beside us, holding our hands, embracing us into his arms. He pulls us near and caresses our sinful heart. We stop, open our eyes… we do not see him. Because he lives within us, he is love, he is full of grace, he is inside us. So that we do not have to go looking for him, he has already found us.

    So my message is to embrace life and to cherish everything in see, smell, hear, touch and feel because you never know when would be your last. “Life is not a wish granting factory, nor should we ever fear oblivion.” Learn to love life as much as possible, soften your hear and invite grace in.


  • I need this at this very moment.. thank you for this kind reminders..

  • I love Gracie’s message above. With God in your life, and believing that he is there for you always, makes life more enjoyable .

  • Every single word of #6 is absolutely everything that I needed to hear today. Reading this kept me from making what would have been a terrible mistake. I will treasure that statement and keep it with me always as a reminder to never stop fighting.

    Thank you.

  • I used to sing the chorus from “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie”to myself. Then I realized how defeating that is - never living for today, just for tomorrow. So I changed the lyrics to “Today now, today now, there’s only today now, today is your only day.” My personal reminder that there is no day of the week named Someday. Besides, singing in the morning makes me smile, which is always a good start to the day!

  • Perfect timing… on so many levels. How does it feel to be an answer to a prayer? Thank you.

  • Hi Marc and Angel, I love what you guys write, it helps me a lot.

  • Hello Angel,

    A great insightful post. Sometimes we get so caught up in things that we need to remind ourselves of certain things. It’s great start of the day to remind yourself when wake up.

    I really could identify with the the point that you don’t need other peoples approval. Sometimes I fall into this trap and value other peoples opinion more than my own. This can be damaging and it can literally ruin your life. Decide who you really are, what your values and principles are and then live by them.

    I’m looking forward to the next post!

  • Thank you for this post. I needed to read something like this to be reminded that each day is a blessing. I will definitely work harder to not take being hurt personally. It makes sense that people can only give what they have been given. Soo much sense. Thanks again, for this message.

  • I really needed #3 - you don’t need anyone’s constant approval. I feel like sometimes I seek validation more than I should, or I try to explain myself to please others. Sometimes we just need to do things for our self and be confident in that.

    Thanks for your inspiring posts!

  • Love this! thank you

  • inspiring…

  • This list is a good start. A lot of times these lists make me reconsider how I handle situations (including how i feel about life). I would like to see the next steps, okay life is better than you think (if you are a pessimist/ realist). But what is our next step roadmap. A goal achieving process.

  • Bullies and energy vampires is spot on. They can unfortunately be in your own family, and you finally realize way too late in life, that you are truly better off without them if possible, or at least giving more space.

  • Hi, Angel, that’s a really helpful post. I have been following your blog for quite sometime now and have realized that you and Marc make the best use of some of the best principles from great personalities in your writing which makes it so meaningful and engaging. I’ve learned many things from reading your blog over the last couple of years. From knowing various authors to reading some great books you recommend in your writings, I really want to thank you guys, because your blog has a big part to play in whatever things I’ve learned in the past couple of days. Also after reading your blogs, I started liking literature. Thanks a ton for helping me discover something I truly Love.

  • I love this post. I would add “have a thankful heart and be content in whatever state you are in” to this list. Most people become depressed due to not being thankful as the focus is mainly on what they do not have so they become self-centered. I am thankful that I have a bed to sleep in and a family to laugh with. So, being thankful over the little things can eventually make us a master over the big things.

  • I’ve been really unhappy, but these words are really inspiring. I will try my best to make today a better day. Thank you for your helpful words and messages. Your blog posts make me feel better all the time!

  • A blog post never helped me feel so awake and courageous…Thank U!

  • Number four was very helpful… if you complain, nothing will happen. Do something about your problems… I decided today to stop drinking and it feels so much better to take that step instead of complaining to myself every morning that I drank beer again… thanks for your words!

  • 13. You have home, your own bed, food in your fridge, some money in your wallet, computer, mobile phone. Focus on what you already have and how much could it all mean to someone who has nothing.

  • Thank you. I appreciate this article. Must learn to appreciate the good times so they can last longer.

  • Your posts have become my “go-to” for guidance/support/advice. They always resonate with me and help me refocus on what’s important in life. This post is one of my faves! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • Mornings symbolize a new day, a new hope, a new battle and the tips said in this article help us to be equipped on how we will face a new journey in our lives everyday. There’s a reason why God let us wake up and may we do all the things we could to live up to our purpose in this life.

  • One thing that I have learned from starting a meditation practice is the idea of acceptance of many of the things you cover beautifully in your list. It takes awhile for the ideas to sink it, but it makes such a difference!

  • Great summary for great lifestyle. I would add this last to the list: help people around you.

  • I agree with all of these especially that complaining is useless unless you have a suggestion. It is so easy to fall into complaining and just do it because it is the easy way out. It is so important for your mental health in the long term though to shift your perspective from a complaining one to a more positive one.

    You are right that today is a blessing. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Lovely post. #7 and #9 are especially poignant to me. My only addition would be to rely on God and remember his unending love. Thank you for these words!

  • I’m so glad you mentioned #3, that we don’t need approval from everyone all the time. I’ve found that one to be difficult, especially for people that are doing their own thing. Great post!

  • Great article… It definitely makes me feel a little better!

  • Awesome. Really enjoyed this list and it is so true. We really have great power in choosing how we respond to our circumstances, even when we cannot control all the circumstances in our lives. This was a great reminder!

  • I truly believe in all of the above 12 steps toward living a happy life. I would also add 1 more thought: I also believe in giving from the heart without any expectations. By doing this…we give (in whatever form that is) for the pure joy of just giving… to hopefully help enrich another life in some way. By doing this, we bring ourselves closer to our purpose of loving one another… and making a positive difference in the world.

  • Tomorrow morning when I get up, I’ll try to remember this :D

  • Hi, this is another wonderful post. I really love reading your articles. They always makes me feel motivated and inspired. True indeed that getting another day to breathe, to experience life, and to do something meaningful is the greatest gift one can receive. Thanks for sharing. Great Post!

  • Everyone, thank you so much for the contributions to the list. Marc and I just read through every one of your comments, and as always, you continue to inspire us. Thank you for all the insightful contributions to the list (and the kudos).

    I’m truly honored that this post resonated with you. :)

  • Thank you very much for this inspiring post.

  • If things look bleak, I try and remember to find beauty in every day things. There’s beauty in a leaf, a cloud, a puppy, a weathered piece of wood or a freshly cleaned store window. Looking for beauty in nature or everyday objects usually keeps me focus on the positive instead of what is not or will not be or should not be. Really enjoy your blog. Thought provoking! Thank you!

  • Number 5 is a real challenge! Thank you for this article.

  • Thanks! Great post! I’m a psychotherapist and your blog always gives me positive ideas to work with my patients! Thanks for the inspiration! -Marta

  • I’d add “you are stronger than you think you are!”

  • #6 really hits home - thank you. I am in a situation I want to get out of but can’t at this time. This reminds me there is strength in staying on my current course until I can make that change.

    Numbers 8 & 9 I’ve been working on lately and its making a difference. I’m a fixer, I want to fix problems. But I’m realizing with people, not everything is fixable. When they say or do things that are hurtful, it is their issue, not mine. I don’t have to try to ‘make it right’. Its a struggle, I’ve been trying to hard to fix things and let people get to me for along time, and I fall back into patterns I’m trying to break. But I feel I’m making progress, and thats what counts.

  • Marc and Angel…

    I recently found your website and have discovered some of valuable pearls of wisdom that it offers. I appreciate your creative, inspirational, and practical observations and comments related to relationships.

    In reference to this article, centered on the 12 Things You Need to Remind Yourself Of When You Wake Up, your comments on number 5 (Success is a lifestyle, not a result), I offer a different view of success.

    Several years ago, someone shared a life-altering perspective of SUCCESS. It is simple…and humbling…..

    The true definition of SUCCESS:

    “To know that ONE life has breathed easier……because YOU have lived”.

    This simple statement declares the purpose of life.

    Thank you for enhancing your reader’s quality of life…because BOTH of you have lived.

  • Love this article…my suggestion- find the miracle and awe in the everyday- a cool breeze, a great yawn, a wagging tail, the night sky, and then all the “bigger” stuff is icing on the proverbial cake of life!

  • Awesome article! Especially “Complaining is useless unless you can suggest a solution” couldn’t be more true.
    Great work ;)

  • Great article. I would add keeping a positive attitude. It’s very easy to get caught up in negativity. Look at every situation as an experience in which we can learn from. When something bad happens find something positive that you can take from that experience, and use it to help you become a stronger more positive person,

  • “In every tough situation, kindness must be attempted first.”

    I very liked this. It’s something that i’ll never forget. Very good post. Good luck ;)

  • Good morning :-))

  • Your articles speak to my soul. I can’t say thank you enough for your work. Thank you. Thank you.

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