How do you start your day? Is it kicked off with a ringing alarm clock, a big cup of coffee and a quick scan of your text messages and emails? That’s how many people start theirs. But, if you look at the morning habits of successful people, this is exactly what they don’t do.
Ariana Huffington says that a big part of her morning routine is about what she doesn’t do. After she wakes up, she doesn’t immediately grab her smart phone. She takes a minute to breathe deeply and be grateful. It helps her set her intention for the day.
I have read a lot over the years on how successful people start their day. While they don’t all start the day exactly the same, these top 6 morning habits are consistent. If you can incorporate them into your morning routine, you will certainly see a boost in your outlook, your productivity and your personal success.
Wake up early
90% of executives wake up before 6am. Highly successful people crank it up a bit by waking up at 5:00 am or earlier. If you are able to do this, not only will you have more control over your morning, but you’ll have more opportunities to do things that matter to you.
Start by getting up 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Then, you can gradually adjust as you begin to work these habits into your morning routine.
In addition, don’t set an alarm. Train yourself to wake up naturally. Oprah Winfrey relies on her internal clock to wake up every morning. In her wellness diary, she explained how she sets her internal clock. She never sets an alarm. She doesn’t believe in them. She says they are…well, alarming! She puts a number in her mind before she goes to bed and usually wakes up before that time.
Get your booty moving
Another good reason to wake up early is to have time to get your booty moving.
Successful people invest in their health. A healthy body and mind go hand-in-hand. It appears that morning exercise is best for reducing stress by lowering blood pressure. A 2015 study done by the University of Tsukuba in Japan says it also helps you burn more fat throughout the day and lose weight.
Many use their mornings for exercise as a way to jump-start their day. Plus, they don’t have to worry about squeezing it in later in their busy day. This is true for me. If I don’t exercise in the morning, it ain’t gonna happen! If you need some help, hire a personal trainer or sign up for an early morning boot camp class. (You are more motivated if you make a commitment.)
It doesn’t always have to be high-intensity exercise, either. Go for a walk outside or do 30 minutes of yoga. If it’s a day when I’m not feeling particularly up for an exercise, I at least get myself out the door for a walk. Then, once I’m moving, my energy level improves. And, it lowers my stress level.
Seek calm and tranquility
Spend a few minutes in solitude each morning. Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and relax your body before the day gets started.
Jeff Weiner, the Executive Chairman at LinkedIn, uses a meditation app that helps him keep a daily meditation routine.
When I started meditating in the morning, I used to stress out over it because my mind would wander. I couldn’t “focus on the breath” like the meditation gurus suggest. But, it doesn’t matter. The idea is to seek calm and tranquility.
I set the alarm on my phone for r 10 minutes and just spend that time relaxed, with my eyes closed, and let my mind take me wherever it goes. I do try to focus on my breath but, if my mind wanders, I go with it.
Remember, 90% of illnesses are stress-related, so forget the rush, don’t dash and enjoy a few quiet moments with yourself.
Many highly successful people write in a journal at the start of their day. This way, they create clarity of thinking, capture ideas, focus on gratitude, and prime their mind on their goals. Journaling is one of those simple habits that has a powerful effect on your performance.
I write two pages in my journal every morning. It doesn’t have to be a lot and it doesn’t take much time. I focus on writing down at least one thing I’m thankful for. You can improve your outlook in life if you start the day putting in writing what you are grateful for. Happiness is about wanting the things that you already have.
Use your journal to write down your affirmations and to visualize what you want. “Today is going to be a great day”. “I am open to all new opportunities that will come my way today”. “I am incredible”. “I can do anything I set my mind to”. Whatever uplifts you and encourages you.
I also reiterate my goals and what I’m going to do that day in order to reach them.
For me, it’s very effective in switching my perspective and emotion state – almost immediately.
Set priorities for the day
Most successful people plan their day the night before. This always make me feel so much more organized and relaxed when I wake up the next day. I know exactly what I have to do. Start with the goals you are working on and decide what tasks or activities you will do tomorrow to reach them.
Deciding what you want to do before you start the day means you start the day knowing exactly what you have to do.
Then, in the morning while you’re journaling or having your quiet time, decide on which priorities you’ll tackle first.
Eat the frog first!
It is a concept suggested by Brian Tracy, a great author for the book Eat That Frog. He says the willpower of highly successful people is fresh and ready to go in the morning. So, this is the best time to take advantage of it – do your hardest task, your “frog” first.
This way, you’re more likely to get it done and you’re more likely to finish it without other people barging in on you.
You only need to pick one “frog” for the day. And, get it done early.
If today were the last day of my life….
If today were the last day of your life, would you still want to do what you’re about to do today?
This hard-hitting question gets you right where it wants you.
If you find yourself saying “no” a lot, then it’s time to change something. There’s no time like today and you never know when you’ll have another opportunity to do it.
This has become a mantra for me, especially as I get older. Time is the most precious asset we have. I want to make sure I’m spending it on what matters most to me and what I enjoy doing.
A strong start of the day sets the tone for a highly productive and successful day. This is precisely why nearly all peak performers have a morning routine.
The fastest way to grow and achieve higher levels of success is by modeling the common habits of the most successful, so try at least 3 of these habits yourself!
If you have success with other morning habits, I’d love to hear about them. Leave me a note in the comment section.
Here’s to your continued personal growth!