Hey there —
If we asked you which part of your morning routine has the biggest impact on your entire day, what would you say?
Your first thought might be actually getting up when the alarm goes off, setting your intentions for the day with a quick meditation, your morning run, or even your daily cup of coffee. ☕
But for May’s habit challenge, we’d like to suggest adding a small (but mighty) task you may have overlooked — one that can set your day up for success in under a minute.
This highly impactful practice? Making your bed. 🛏️
We know, we know. First we told you to read a book, then go to bed earlier, then go outside, and now we’re telling you to make your bed. It’s like your childhood all over again. (And if you had the job of making the top bunk…good luck.)
But making your bed really is one of the simplest, yet most effective habits you can implement into your daily routine.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why (maybe it’s because it instantly makes the room look tidier or because it creates the illusion of having your 💩 together), but making your bed each day seems to lead to a marked increase in overall well-being.
Surveys have shown that people who make their bed each day feel more productive and accomplished, are more organized, have healthier habits, get better sleep, and even have more sex than their non-bed-making counterparts. 😯
Gretchen Rubin, reflecting on why something so prosaic as making your bed is so effective at boosting happiness, proposes that “picking one little task to improve your situation, and doing it regularly, can help you regain a sense of self-mastery.”
But perhaps the biggest reason this minor chore brings major benefits is highlighted by Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit. Duhigg identifies making your bed as a “keystone habit” — one that can kick off a positive chain reaction that helps other good habits take hold.
“Keystone habits offer what is known within academic literature as ‘small wins.’ They help other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious.”
When you’re working on creating a more meaningful life, it’s important to celebrate the small stuff. And it’s often the tiniest tweaks that wind up making the biggest difference in the long run.
Rather than dismissing a habit as simple as making your bed, view it as a catalyst. Starting small will allow you to build confidence, gain momentum, and trust in your ability to follow through as you work your way up to more audacious goals.
So go ahead and spend a few extra seconds straightening your sheets and fluffing the pillows. It could change the course of your day — and who knows what might happen from there. 🌞
Participate in the challenge!
Daily action: Every day for the next 30 days, make your bed.
To help you track your progress, download this printable Habit Tracker to mark off each day you tidy up that bedspread.
And after you’ve finished the challenge, fill out this Challenge Reflection to look back at your experience, take note of what you learned, and decide if this is a habit you want to make a permanent part of your routine.
Tips for success
👌 Don’t overthink it. We’re not here to bring a checklist of what qualifies a bed as “made” — though we do think it’s good to put some effort into it. That being said, you don’t need to pass a military inspection or have a Pinterest-perfect collection of throw pillows. Simply pulling up the covers will do just fine.
💃 Create a routine. Pick a specific moment in your usual waking routine — whether it’s as soon as you roll out of bed or after you’ve gotten dressed — to insert your new habit. Keep this new pattern consistent and making your bed will quickly become part of your daily rhythm, just like brushing your teeth.
👨👧👦 Make it a family affair. This is a great chance to instill good habits in the littlest members of your household! Put the habit tracker on your fridge and give everyone their own special sticker or marker color to check off each day (there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition for a good cause). And hey, if you don’t have kids, but still want to fill your habit tracker with gold stars — no judgment here.
How making your bed can change the world (some final inspiration + a helpful guide)
Naval Admiral William H. McRaven’s University of Texas commencement speech
By The University of Texas at Austin
Admiral William H. McRaven’s commencement speech for the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin is 20 minutes of inspiration you should definitely make time for today.
Using engaging stories from his time in basic SEAL training, he offers 10 lessons for anyone who wants to create a better world. Among them: ask for help when you need it, respect everyone, persevere through failures — and make your bed every day.
How to make a bed you can bounce a quarter off of
By Brett & Kate McKay
If watching Admiral McRaven’s speech inspires you to take your bed-making to the next level, this article will show you (complete with handy illustrations) how to make a crisp hospital corner.
Or, just scroll to the end to learn one writer’s college trick for making your bed without even getting out of it. 😉
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella