What you do when you first wake up can impact your entire day. In fact, the early morning hours are what set the most successful people apart from the rest. After all, first impressions count even when it comes to starting your day.
The good news is that implementing a new morning routine or updating your current routine is fairly easy. Once you know what you need to do, the next step is just to get started—it’s as simple as that.
Willpower is like a muscle that you have to use and stretch regularly. If you exercise your willpower every morning to implement a new routine, you’ll discover better self-control, easier decision-making, more optimism, and a zest for tackling challenging tasks.
So what are some things successful people do every morning?
Things Successful People Do Every Morning
It’s all about routine!
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, daily routines matter for executives. For example, when Yahoo! Finance set out study the routines of 20 CEOs, they found a few overwhelming similarities for the most successful individuals because it just makes sense.
“I find that having a productive morning routine keeps me on track for the rest of the day. If you start behind you’ll likely finish behind. Starting focused early on and limiting distractions from the get-go should lead to better afternoons and evenings,” David Johnson, COO of Fireman’s Brew, told Business Insider.
Here’s how you get started.
1. They Wake Up Early
Sleeping late might sound wonderful, but it won’t make you successful. In a poll of 20 executives, 90% state that they wake up before 6:00 AM on weekdays. And some wake up even earlier. For example, Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer for Motorola, wakes up at 4:30 AM every day.
And it makes sense. According to a 2012 study published by the American Psychological Association, morning people report feeling happier and healthier than night owls. People who wake up earlier also tend to be more productive and get better geared up to function the rest of the workday.
2. They Exercise Right Away
Studies indicate that people who exercise regularly have improved concentration, sharper memory, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, and lower stress. Unfortunately, for many of us, planning to exercise after work is a good way to make sure that you never make it to the gym. That’s why one of the main morning activities for successful individuals is hitting the gym to exercise.
- Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, schedules an hour-long personal training session at 6 AM twice a week.
- Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary spends time on the elliptical or exercise bike every morning at 5:45.
- Gary Vaynerchuk completes an hour-long workout with his trainer in the mornings.
- Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Square, jogs in the morning.
- Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks, bikes first thing.
It’s clear; working out is one of the most important things successful people do every morning.
3. They Work on a Project
If you want to be productive all day long, then you need to start out your morning being productive. This means working on some type of project.
For some executives, spending the quiet hours of the morning working on an important work project is the ideal choice. This is what Prime Minister Winston Churchill used to do. Right after he woke up, Churchill would spend the first part of the morning in bed reading mail, catching up on national newspapers, and dictating to his secretaries.
However, if getting your job done first thing doesn’t sound great, you can instead spend time working on a personal-passion project. This might mean writing your novel, painting, or improving your baking skills. The idea is to spend an hour or so working on something you love before giving your time to work and life.
4. They Spend Time with Friends or Family
Life shouldn’t be all about work. Striving for a healthy work/life balance is one of those things successful people do every morning. That’s because they know that spending time with friends and family makes you healthier by lowering stress and helping you live a longer and fuller life.
And spending time with your loved ones doesn’t have to be complicated. Many successful individuals do something as simple as having a big breakfast together or calling someone up on the phone. And if you have a significant other, morning sex is also a good idea for energizing you for the day. Science reveals that regular sex makes you smarter, boosts your income, and burns calories.
Also read: 5 Practical Tips for Being an Introvert in an Extrovert Job | Your Best Professional Self Series
5. They Take Time to Meditate
As the day goes on and you get busy, it can be hard to disconnect from everything you need to do. It’s for that reason that meditation is one of the things successful people do in the morning. By meditating right away, you calm your mind before you head out the door and rush off to everything else.
And meditation can be done in a variety of ways. For Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Workweek, meditation is spending five minutes each morning to write down what he’s grateful for and what he’s looking forward to. For Chris Meyer, co-founder and CEO of Magilla Loans, meditation happens during his three-mile walk before sunrise.
“During these quiet moments, I am able to see, hear, and feel the simplicity within the complexity of things around me,” Chris told Business Insider. “This appreciation for simplicity is both the genesis of our platform design, as well as my constant reminder to provide an effortless experience to our customers.”
6. They Get a Jump Start on the Day
A recent survey found that one of the first things successful people do every morning is check their email, this is especially true for executives. The idea is to scan your inbox for urgent messages that need attention while your mind is fresh.
Another way to get a jump start on your day is to plan and strategize for the day, week, or month ahead while your brain is energized and ready to think about the big picture. Scribbling out a to-do list is a great way to anchor the rest of your day and ensure you stay focused.
For Brian Tracy, author of Eat the Frog, the best way to get a jump start on the day is to eat the “frog” or take care of the most important task you’re dreading. Once you do this, you’ll get such a boost of accomplishment, the rest of the day will feel less daunting.
7. They Fuel Their Brains and Bodies
You can’t get through the day without fuel. That’s why one of the things successful people do in the morning is fuel their body with a glass of water first thing and then fuel their brains with reading and watching the news.
Starting your day with a glass of hot water with lemon is something that both Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and Birchbox Man chief Brad Lande do. That’s because water helps you feel more alert, rehydrates your body, and kick starts your metabolism.
As for brain fuel, GE CEO Jeff Immelt swears by spending time in the morning reading the paper and watching CNBC. The same goes for Kenny Dichter, the founder and CEO of Wheels Up. He reads the newspaper while he stretches and then watches the news while he’s showing and getting read.
Setting Up Your Morning Routine
While there’s no morning routine that works perfectly for everyone, by implementing these seven things successful people do in the morning, you’ll find yourself more focused, productive, and ready to tackle everything that comes your way. Just be sure to work on your morning routine one step at a time. Don’t do an overhaul all at once. Instead, implement one new practice each week until you get where you want to be.
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