Things All Successful People Do in the Morning
There are things that separate successful people from unsuccessful people, rich from poor, and productive from unproductive. We have discussed quite a few of those things over time. During our discussions, one thing has become pretty clear. Most successful entrepreneurs are morning people. Not only that, but they do some very specific things every morning.
This routine sets their day up for success, but it also has a profoundly positive impact on the rest of their week, and carries over to their month, as well. So, what are the things that you need to incorporate into your morning routine if you want to join the ranks of the successful? We will dig through all of those in this post.
Why Does Your Morning Routine Matter?
Before we dive into what successful people do in the morning to fuel that success, we need to talk a bit about why a routine is important in the first place. Shouldn’t you be spontaneous? Why be a morning person at all?
Let’s address that second question first. Why be a morning person? There are plenty of reasons, but one of the most important is that morning people tend to be more optimistic, upbeat, and productive than their night owl counterparts. The good news is that you can adjust your mindset so that even if you’re used to staying up late and sleeping in, you can become a morning person. Often, just getting into the habit of getting up early is enough to rewire your brain.
That leaves us with why you should have a routine. Aren’t routines bad? Aren’t you supposed to think outside the box? Sure, but there is always a place for routine, as well. And, I’m not suggesting that you lock yourself into some sort of rigid structure that doesn’t allow you any freedom or flexibility. These are simple habits that help you start the day off on the right foot, not commandments.
So, with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the subject.
Wake Up Early
Get up well before you need to leave to get to the office. How much earlier? Ideally, you’ll have at least a couple of hours at home before you need to start your commute. By waking up well ahead of time, you have the chance to take care of tasks that would otherwise fall by the wayside, but you’ll also be able to dedicate time to taking care of yourself. After all, what good does earning a great salary do if you’re too unhealthy to enjoy it? Just to give you an example, Disney’s Bob Iger gets up at 4:30 in the morning. My recommendation is that you sleep no later than 5 AM.
Pretend Your Snooze Button Does Not Exist
Successful people don’t hit snooze. They get up and they get out of bed. In truth, many successful people don’t even wait for their alarm to go off before they wake up. They’re up 10 to 15 minutes before the alarm sounds, so when it’s time, they just step out of bed and get on with their day.
There is also the fact that if you hit the snooze button, it means you’re actually oversleeping. If you oversleep, it automatically means that your morning is going to be hectic and rushed. Chances are good that you’ll jump out of bed, hit the shower, then rush out the door without stopping for breakfast, much less having a chance to follow any of the other recommendations here.
Get Your Exercise in Early
Getting some physical activity every day is crucial. However, many of us are tempted to leave it for later. We go for a walk on our lunch break, or we wait until we’re on the way home after a 12-hour day to hit the gym. Don’t do that.
First, waiting until later in the day creates a subconscious false value for physical activity. By moving it to the last thing you do, you move it far down the list in terms of what’s important to you. You can’t afford to do that – you need to see exercise as being just as vital as anything else in your routine.
Second, by working out first thing in the morning, you actually help ensure that you’ve got the energy necessary to finish your day strong. Working out generates feel-good endorphins that elevate your mood, but physical exertion also means that you will be able to focus more on the task at hand during your day.
Meditation can be performed instead of exercise first thing in the morning. It’s exercise for the brain and has similar benefits for your mental state. Take 10 or 15 minutes and sit quietly, meditating on your breathing. You can do this anywhere, from the shower to the dining room table. The point is to make it part of your routine so that it becomes second nature. As you do so, you’ll find that you slip more and more easily into that head space, and that you enjoy more and more benefits from the practice.
Wait Until Your Coffee to Check Email
It’s tempting to dive right into email first thing, often on your phone while you’re lying in bed. Don’t do that. You might think that you’re getting a jump on the day by plowing through your email notifications early on, but what you’re actually doing is sabotaging your mood, and thus your ability to be productive.
Instead, wait to look over your emails until you’re having your coffee. By this point, you should have exercised and/or meditated, and you should also have had your shower. Your brain should be humming along pretty well, and your mood should be lifted. That puts you in a prime location from which to handle things like emails without having the nature of those communications affect your outlook on the day.
Down a Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and you cannot afford to skip it. However, you also cannot afford to fuel your body with simple carbs. Ditch the donuts and opt for something with complex carbs and less sugar. Go with unsweetened almond yogurt topped with granola, or a bowl of wholesome oatmeal. Muesli is always good, as are nuts and beans. In a pinch, grab a piece of whole fruit – an apple or banana – but not sweetened fruit.
Read the News
As an entrepreneur or business owner, your time is valuable, and your schedule is packed. However, you need to keep up with the goings-on in the world around you. Your morning is the best time to do this. Check out the news from the night before, but make sure you go with a news source that’s as unbiased as possible. Eschew right or left leaning sources like Fox News or CNN, and instead opt for something that’s as central as possible. The BBC, Al Jazeera, and Reuters are all good examples here.
Find Something Positive to Focus On
The news, even if you get it from a central-leaning source, is going to have some depressing things in it. It makes sense. Bad news gets the most attention. Good news isn’t really all that talked about. The problem is that too much negative news leads to a negative mindset, and you cannot afford that. Successful people are optimistic and upbeat, motivated by hope. So, to combat the glut of negativity you’ll get with your dose of news, find something positive to focus on before you end your morning routine and head out into the workaday world.
Set Goals for the Day
I’ve mentioned goal setting several times in my posts, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see it here, as well. Set goals for your day. Know what you’ll be doing, where you want to go, and what you must do in order to get there. It’s also important that you set aside time in the morning to tackle your most challenging tasks of the day. Don’t put it off – set a goal to tackle your single most difficult challenge first thing when you walk into the office, and then base the rest of your day’s goals on achieving that.
When it’s all said and done, the world’s most successful people have a lot more in common than you might think. Part of that is getting their day off on the right foot. The habits and simple rituals I’ve described above will help you do just that and ensure that you’re able to join the ranks of the successful business owners and entrepreneurs.
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