Make It a Gold Start Day!
In elementary school, nothing was better than a gold star for a job well done. Yes, a colorful A+ was nice. Yes, a 100 with a little exclamation point and a smiley face was cool. But nothing beat stickers, which were only doled out by the really cool teachers. And if that sticker was a gold star, it was the equivalent to ice cream after a little league win (i.e. pretty freaging awesome!)
I returned back to my love for gold stars in college when I was an RA. When someone did something really well, I would tell them they should get a gold star. They would just sort of laugh at first, until I actually took out my pack of them and put it on their hand or forehead. It's funny how something so simple could bring out a smile in people, even if they thought I lost my mind. It's as if it returned them back to their childhood when people made it a point to recognize and appreciate their accomplishments.
I'm a huge believer in affirmations as a way to reinforce new habits and change my self-image through positive repetition. But June kinda snuck up on me and I was having a hard time coming up with anything that really excited me. They sounded flat, contrived, or just uninteresting. And if you can't put feeling into an affirmation, you're being rote.
But I stumbled upon this one: make it a gold star day! But being someone who likes to play on words, I also created its prequel: make it a gold start day. I now use both for my mornings and, just like receiving a gold star, it always gives me a smile and a chuckle. Imagine rewarding myself with a gold star each day. It sounds so silly, and yet it has a lot of emotional charge for me. The same with "a gold start day."
So for me, they are a perfect pair of affirmations.
A gold star for completion. It forces me to ask: What I am going to do today so I look back and place a big gold star on the day for a job well done?
A gold start for initiative. It forces me to ask: How am I going to show up today (attitude, planning, etc) so that I give myself the best chance of ending this day victorious and get that gold star?
Book Ends for the Day
Jack Canfield recommends a very similar approach: a create your day meditation first thing in the morning and an evening review meditation right before bed. They are a simple and yet powerful set or processes, and takes just minutes. Think of them like book ends for the day. You check in first thing in the morning to see if you're still on track. You check in at night to acknowledge your daily successes, however minor they may be.
Long term goals can be quite a marathon. And without these short term check-ins, it can be easy to lose motivation and perspective. So I highly recommend implementing this type of daily discipline, whatever your goals and dreams may be.
How can you better start and end your day? Have you given yourself a gold start, gold star today?
Image used under Creative Commons from Lars Plougmann.
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.