I’ve seen this quote floating around Instagram and Pinterest and now it even shows up on coffee mugs as a morning reminder that we all have a full day to make the most of. With the new year just begun, and the first official week of the year in the bag, I’ve got a few suggestions to make sure 2016 is the most productive and inspiring year yet!

Having a beautiful and productive year isn’t for the faint at heart. It’s not an easy feat to constantly remain inspired and be productive, (all the procrastinators raise your hands!) but it definitely is possible with just a few changes. By following these five suggestions, not only will you become a more productive version of yourself, but you will also allow permanent change to take place in your life.

1. Wake up early

This may not be easy for everyone (myself included) but waking up early and getting the day started is totally doable. Anyone who knows me, will tell you I hate the mornings and pride myself on being a night owl. And while I’m mostly always functioning on a different hemisphere’s time zone, I’ll be the first to tell you, its not always productive. So I’m going to also take my own advice and really make it a habit to start the day off right by getting up before noon (hey we said its a goal, don’t judge!). In all seriousness, let’s try to wake up a little bit earlier each day, so we can get through our “to do” list and feel productive!

2. Drink more water

I’ve recently started this habit of drinking 8 oz of water as soon as I open my eyes. I’m never drinking enough of water, and there really is no easy way around this. I’m making a conscious effort to change my unhealthy ways this year, and that truly begins with guzzling more H2O! Water gets rid of toxins in the body, it rehydrates us, and believe it or not it makes you glow! (I know! Who knew?!) But really, the more hydrated your body is on the inside, your skin looks more hydrated and radiant, and even your hair has a certain healthy gloss! So why would we skimp on this? I’ve literally started carrying water bottles with me constantly, just to serve as a reminder every time I feel a bit parched.

3. Exercise and eat right

OKAY, I’m not turning into some health nut (or am I?) but I am turning a quarter century this year, and I always told myself, once I’m 25 I’ll be a healthier and better version of myself. And while I still love pizza, coffee,cake, soda, and all the mashed potatoes in the world; it’s really time to just be a little bit healthier and self aware about what’s going into my body! The old saying “you are what you eat” comes to mind, and it’s so true! If you are waking up to a breakfast of red hot flaming Cheetos and Dr. Pepper (trust me been there, done that) it will most definitely show on your skin and your body will not be thanking you anytime soon. So I’ll leave this up to you for now on how you want to incorporate exercise and eating right into your year. Besides if we are already waking up earlier than usual, we definitely will be able to make those daily exercise goals!

4. Inbox at zero (0.0)

Having a clear and empty inbox is no small feat, and when I see my inbox at zero I feel a new boost of energy. I personally feel more productive and have a sense of control when my inbox shows “no more unread messages” and I’m not glaring at the number 12347564598309 on the little email app on my phone. It may feel like an enormous challenge to start but little by little you can conquer even the largest of inboxes, until you’ve reached zero. Personally, I like the Barbara Hemphill Fat method. File, Act, or Trash. Everyday when its time to check your inbox and process all those emails, make a quick decision on each email. If an email does not need a quick action then file it. If an email deserves a response ASAP, then go a head and respond right then and there. And of course trash an email as necessary. But the more prompt you are on your swiping and responding skills, the closer you get your inbox to that magical zero.

5. Gratitude (Give thanks to the MOST HIGH)

I firmly believe in number five. At the core of every happy and successful person is a grateful heart in awe and appreciative of their blessings.  Allah (the Most High) says:

“If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more” (Ibrahim 14:7).

Gratitude is important in counting your blessings and being appreciative of those elements, it allows one to feel fulfilled. As we set out to achieve greater heights, bigger goals, and grander dreams, we should also set out to be thankful and grateful for everything we have already achieved and for the countless blessings we already have. And while I may pray to Allah, and you may pray to someone, that doesn’t mean we can’t share in these basic human instincts. Gratitude and thankfulness don’t have to follow a religion, but it is always welcoming to thank the Almighty for the blessings in our lives. After all, how can we move forward if we do not realize how far we have already come.

Ease up on yourself in 2016. All these changes won’t happen overnight, and that’s totally OKAY. That’s what makes this journey so much more worth while. As we set out to make 2016 a better year, lets make room for better habits, and not indulge our bad habits. Pretty soon we’ll be waking up and jumping out of bed, ready to tackle the day —(and hopefully all of this day tackling happens before noon!)









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