When I was five years old, my mother taught me a valuable practice. She said as soon as you wake up, and stand up, that is the time to make your bed.
Without protesting or thinking otherwise, I’ve followed her instructions for the past 35 years. Today I am 40 years old, and every morning as soon as I wake up, I stand up and make my bed.
This is just a small habit in terms of how I live my life, but it’s interesting to think about the implications of it.
For me, there is nothing more unappealing (or embarrassing) than the image of an unmade bed. It’s a sign of laziness, avoidance, and immaturity.
It’s incredible to me that everyone over the age of five doesn’t do this. It’s surprising to know that quite a lot of adults will leave the house with their bedroom looking like a disaster zone.
The excuse that they are too busy to clean up falls flat for me. It literally takes one minute to make a bed in the morning. Considering most of us will spend several hours on our phones each day, there is definitely time to do it.
I have visited friends homes, and – when I caught a glimpse of their messy bedroom – they have actually apologized that their bed was unmade. I didn’t say a word, but they volunteered an apology. They somehow knew that an unmade bed wasn’t admirable.
I realize that by now I probably sound like a totalitarian.
“Ease off buddy,” you say, “sometimes I like to be lazy!”
But I think there is a lot of hidden value in the simple daily act of immediately making your bed.
For one thing, your first act of the day builds self-discipline. You immediately fight the urge to be lazy. You get it done.
In some ways, this sets the tone for the day, the behavior gives you a boost and sense of self-control. It might be tiny, but it’s there. Multiply that by a decade or two, and I’m sure it starts to affect your character.
On top of this, when you return home in the evening, the bedroom looks tidy and welcoming.
The bedroom is one part of our lives we rarely invite the world into. It’s private and personal. But the way it looks is a reflection of who we are.
That old saying ‘make your bed, and lie in it’ has a lot more relevance than we might realize. It essentially means that through your small actions you create your reality.
I wonder how much this small habit of making my bed each day has helped make me into who I am.