We often mistake our lives to be far more predetermined than they really are. Small actions that might be right at our disposal every day, may have the power to alter our entire life for the better. Yet we usually don't act on them because we feel so set in our ways.

One such small action is starting each day on the right foot. This idea, so simple and basic, is a crucial tool in maximizing our quality of life. The first hour - even the first five minutes - of each morning have far reaching consequences.

The first few minutes of the day have the power to decide if our day will be happy or stressed, family oriented or not, focused or not. 

Jewish tradition capitalized on this millenia ago and instituted a two line prayer called 'Modeh Ani' (I am Thankful). The full prayer is:  מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם, שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְּחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ,
 'I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.'

These few short words enable us, especially when said with focus, to begin each morning on a positive note and make sure that the day's potential is brought to fruition.

Tomorrow morning, try saying this prayer upon rising. For the first 5 to 10 minutes try staying away from anything negative and focus on family, the gift of life, nature, faith or anything of a positive nature. The consequences can be surprisingly far reaching.

Rabbi Avrohom