How to mentally prepare for the day ahead

Athletes train. Teachers plan. Doctors research. Students study. Presenters rehearse. Preparation provides confidence and keeps us focused on completing our tasks at the highest level.

Some of us prepare for the following day the night before. We lay out our clothes, pack lunch, place the gym bag by the door, and so on. But, few of us take the time to mentally prepare. FYI...going over your to do list in your head doesn’t count as mental preparation. I used to think it does too. 

Mental preparation only takes a few moments but has lasting benefits. It helps us become more proactive rather than reactive.

How to mentally prepare for the day ahead: 

Check in with yourself the night before on the things you expect to happen. Picture yourself at the moment the alarm goes off, waking up the children, making breakfast, etc. Envision the mindset you want to be in while performing those actions. I try to picture myself drinking a cup of coffee on the couch for a few peaceful moments before having to dash out the door; this does not happen nearly as often as I would like, but like you, I’m learning and making strides.

In the morning, think about the day ahead, what will your attitude be walking into work, attending a meeting, or getting together with a group of friends. Picture yourself in a positive light.

Then take a moment to consider how you want to handle an unforeseen encounter. While we can’t predict every occurrence of the day it helps to have a game plan of how you would like to react. Envision certain scenarios based on the day you have planned. Don’t go down the rabbit hole and start catastrophizing things, just dabble with a few minor hiccups like traffic, another project added to your workload, or perhaps a friend canceling on you.  

Continue to see yourself carrying on about the day in a positive light. Don’t think about the long list of things to do, rather focus on the type of mindset you want to be in while moving through those motions.  

Mental preparation increases resilience, allows you to be more flexible, and creates a brighter outlook on the day ahead.