When your alarm clock goes off and your eyes snap open, what’s the first thing on your mind? Do you calculate how long you can hit snooze? Are you already going over the day’s to-do list? Mindlessly checking your phone?
If any or all of these morning habits sound familiar, you’re definitely not alone. As a matter of fact, 60 percent of people check their phones immediately when they wake up, according to a 2015 survey. Not only should you stop using your smartphone in bed—seriously—but these mind-numbing routines are among what you’ll regret most in life. So why not take a different approach?
In a commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, Steve Jobs advised his audience to start each morning with one specific sentence. Doing so, he said, will change the way we approach our day-to-day lives. Jobs got the idea after reading a quote about death when he was 17. From then on, he started each morning by looking in the mirror and asking, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”
Now, try it for yourself. Asking yourself this powerful question every day requires you to deeply consider what you do on a daily basis—and if you find fulfillment in it. It can also help you narrow down your tasks to the essential ones. Instead of wasting time with mindless activities like browsing the Internet, you’ll start filling your days with more satisfying things, such as spending time with family and friends. (By the way, these two ages will be the happiest years of your life.) Plus, you’ll stop worrying about what other people think of you; your energy and focus should be elsewhere, like improving yourself, reaching your goals, and making an impact on the world.
Now that you have made a habit of asking this one simple question every morning, congratulations! You’re one step closer finding the secret to living a fulfilling life.