If you could only eat one thing all day, first thing in the morning, what would it be? Would you feed yourself small amounts of sugar and fat? Or would you overload on the good stuff, greens, fruits, lean proteins, etc.? I sure hope you would say the latter. The same is true with our words.

First thing in the morning
A man’s curses will fall and wrap themselves around him like a cloak. (Tweet That)

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Like a cloak

There is an old proverb that says, “A man’s curses will fall and wrap themselves around him like a cloak.” Imagine that for a moment. Your words…wrapped around you all day long.

The worse the words, the more tightly they grip you, strangling your creativity, your passion, and your peace right from you. The uglier the words, the uglier the garment.

You face a choice first thing in the morning: Speak words of beauty or speak words of ugly. (No, I am not entirely sure that sentence is grammatically correct, but it gets the point across)

A confession

On the morning that I am writing this, I started off with some choice words. The words I said and the manner in which I said them started my day off on the wrong foot. It was nearly four hours later when I finally snapped out of my funk.

What a waste! To allow those two minutes to control the next four hours. I’m sure I managed to accomplish a few things this morning, but not nearly as much as I could have starting it off the right way.

How to start your day off with the right words

Making sure you start your day off with the right words is not rocket surgery. It’s incredibly simple in theory, but very difficult in practice. At least it is for me…and everyone else I’ve ever talked to about it.

Here are five steps to starting off your day with the right words:

  1. Decide. Yes, the first step is to decide to do it. Recognize the importance of doing so and act on that recognition. Once you realize how important it is, resolve to start each day off the right way.
  2. Meet your needs. I can’t tell you what words you need. Only you know your needs. Do you need patience? Wisdom? Energy? Whatever it is you need in general or that specific day, start your day off with the right words for you, not for someone else.
  3. Write them out. Whatever words you decide on, write them out. Of course, they can change over time. I don’t suggest doing anything fancy here. You don’t need to use colored paper, fancy fonts, and then laminate it to work. They just need to be your words, on paper. 
  4. Make the time. You need less than two minutes. That’s it. But if you wake up at 6:30 to make the 7:15 train, your first words probably aren’t going to be what you wrote on your paper. So, in short, get your butt up earlier.
  5. Commit. I believe in the transformative power of our words, but I am also a realist. One day of doing this isn’t going to change your life. It might change your day, but not your life. So keep doing it, day after day, no matter what. Commit to a lifetime of starting your day off right…and being wrapped in beautiful garments for all to see.

Bonus tips: You can find more about positive visualization and other techniques to help you drill in your words in my post Leaders, You Are What You See, Part One.

If number five scares you, try it for thirty days. That’s all. That’s less than one hour of your life speaking the right words into your life first thing in the morning. You’ll see some results that quickly.

What do you say to yourself first thing in the morning?

19 thoughts on “The First Words You Say | How to Start Your Day Off Right

  1. Let's Grow Leaders says:

    Slowing down to chose the right words is vital, no matter what time of day. Great post.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Great point…it applies all day. I I can get people doing it for one minute first thing, it will expand from there!

  2. Shakti Ghosal says:

    Hi Matt,

    This is a great post.

    Reading it certain thoughts came to mind. We live and work as part of conversational networks.We need to therefore consciously master the conversational environment. How do we do this? By ensuring we do not leave underlying issues in the “unsaid” zone. We need to bring these up for completions.We need to show up with integrity and honouring our word. And be willing to clear out all consequences when we are unable to keep up.

    Shakti Ghosal

  3. Dan Erickson says:

    I’m with you, Matt. I believe in the power of positive words. You didn’t really bring up what we consider swear words. But I don’t think that’s the point. I know people who cuss up a storm, but are always positive. On the other hand, we can use all the pretty words, but if the attitude is off, they don’t hold much power.

  4. Nancy Heidger Benavides says:

    Great post especially the visual from the proverb! What are you wearing today? I’m wearing gratitude…

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That is a beautiful thing to wear!

  5. Paige Gordon II says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t ever heard that proverb before! I love it! And I think the biggest thing to remember about this is simply that you have to commit. You change your life one day at a time. It doesn’t matter what you did do yesterday or what you might do tomorrow, you can only control what you will do today. It’s all about committing to the right things on a moment-by-moment basis…

  6. Zech Newman says:

    Great post Matt. The power of words…Speaking life not death. We believe what we here ourselves say. Blessings today Matt.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      If you don’t believe your own words, whose can you believe?

  7. Katherine Leicester says:

    Thanks, Matt, for reminding me how important the first hour or so in the morning is to the day, the week, to the future. I learned (someone told me, I’m not this insightful) awhile back that the first hour of the day must be filled with the kind of quiet reassurance that (in my case) the study of scripture brings. These are the best words I can think of to build my spirit, reject the bad thoughts of the enemy of souls, and prepare myself for the day.

    It works, too. Even if the day turns out horrible (think, in my case, yesterday), at least the first portion was good, and solid. It was this first portion of the day I referred to yesterday when things were crumbling around my ears.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That is a powerful way to start the day. Love it!

  8. Lily Kreitinger says:

    Not being a morning person, my first words to myself at 5 AM are “Why am I doing this again?” I feel anxiety about possibilities of future endeavors. Doubt and fear creep in. Thanks for reminding me to “switch the sound track” 🙂

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I like that…switch the soundtrack. Do it.

  9. Isaac Dorrel says:

    I post stuff like this on my bathroom mirror so I see it every single morning. #5 reminds me of a book I’m rereading right now called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olsen. Great post Matt!

    1. Brett Thompson says:

      Good idea. I need to do that.

      1. Isaac Dorrel says:

        I have found that I need to change it up every so often, so I have something fresh to think about/speak into my life. Good luck Brett! You won’t see any changes today or tomorrow, but after several weeks you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes.

      2. Matt McWilliams says:

        Amen to that!

  10. Jon Stolpe says:

    “Get up! Let’s do this thing!”

  11. Jana Botkin says:

    I say, “Hi, God”.

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