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How to Have a Great Day ... Every Day!

By Dr. Alan Zimmerman

"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high
and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."

--Michelangelo Buonarroti, Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor

Michelangelo is right. You shouldn't settle for an "okay" life when an "exceptional" life is possible. You shouldn't settle for "getting through another day" when every day could be a "great" one.

And over the years, I've discovered that a "great" day has a lot more to do with how I approach it than what actually happens to me. A "great" day is a matter of choice and not a matter of luck.

That being the case, I've put together a list of ways you can have a great day every day. It's a compilation of my thoughts and experiences ... interspersed with the wisdom of others. Print out the list and look at once in a while ... because the more points you follow, the better your days will be.



  1. Take a few deep breaths throughout the day. It not only calms you but re-invigorates you.

  2. Get busy living. Don't sit around waiting for life to happen. And don't sit around wallowing in the grief of yesterday. Life is too short for long pity parties.

  3. And if you're feeling overwhelmed or burned out, just remember ... for fast-acting relief, try slowing down.
Put some RECREATIONAL fun in your day...
  1. Look for the humor in everyday situations. For example, if you show me a man that has both feet firmly planted on the ground, I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off.

  2. Look for the craziness in everyday platitudes. As they say, "Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime." But in reality, sometimes you teach a man to fish, he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day long.

  3. Don't watch life from the sidelines. Get involved and make the most of it ... starting now.

  4. Grow up without growing old.

  5. Always remember, no one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Keep your EMOTIONAL life in check...
  1. Lighten up. Most of the things you worry about aren't going to happen anyway.

  2. Don't go through life; grow through life.

  3. Dismiss discouragement. Every great achievement was once impossible.

  4. Remember, it's always darkest just before the dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

  5. Practice patience. Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

  6. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

  7. Be thankful for your problems. If you threw all your problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, you'd grab yours back.
Nurture your SOCIAL connections...
  1. Enthusiasm is contagious. Start an epidemic.

  2. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

  3. Multiply your happiness by dividing it.

  4. Tell the truth; then you won't have to worry about remembering anything.

  5. Remember, there's always someone who cares about you. In fact, if you think nobody cares if you're alive or dead, try missing a couple of car payments.

  6. Don't miss a good chance to shut up. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

  7. Beware of gossip. Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in again.

  8. If you want to G-E-T, you have to A-S-K.

  9. Guard your tongue. You cannot unsay a cruel word.

  10. Choose your friends carefully. When you wallow with pigs, you're going to get dirty.

  11. Strive to make people feel good. After all, people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

  12. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  13. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

  14. Even if you have pains, you don't have to be one.

  15. Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

  16. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
Approach your OCCUPATION with wisdom...
  1. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

  2. Don't corner anyone meaner than you.

  3. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Use your MENTAL capacity to think good thoughts and make good choices...
  1. Remember ... life isn't fair. Some days you're the bug, and some days you're the windshield. Deal with it.

  2. When you're pursuing what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

  3. Never dismiss the value of a mistake. Make the mistakes of yesterday your lesson for today.

  4. Be thankful for every experience. After all, good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of those experiences come from bad judgment.

  5. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

  6. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

  7. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

  8. Use common sense. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

  9. Keep on learning ... by reading and observing. Forget about learning the hard way. As Will Rogers said, "There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves."

  10. Keep your ego in check. And if you ever get to thinking you're a super-important, hot-shot kind of person, try ordering somebody else's dog around.
Tap into your SPIRITUAL side...
  1. Don't count the days; make the days count.

  2. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.

  3. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

  4. Don't go through life with a catcher's mitt on each hand ... with a "gimme, gimme, gimme" attitude. True happiness comes from throwing some things back into life.

  5. Don't forget ... every path has a few puddles.

  6. Do what is right whether or not you feel like it. The time is always right to do what is right.
So there's my list. Feel free to edit it as you like. Make up your own list. Write down your truths. And when the economy seems bleak, when your business is struggling, when your relationships are under fire, or you seem to be living under a cloud, pull out the list and read it again. Remind yourself you CAN have a good day ... EVERY DAY ... if you just apply a few of these truths.

Add two more "ways to have a good day every day" ... to the list above. Make it an even 50.

As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman has taught more than one million people in 48 states and 22 countries how to keep a positive attitude on and off the job. In his book, "PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success," Dr. Zimmerman outlines the exact steps you must take to get the results you want in any situation. Go to Alan's site for more information.
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