Your morning projects the vibe of the rest of your day, and that is something that the ultra-successful live by day-to-day. While the rest of the world is still struggling to find a coffee filter, there are people who have already laid the groundwork to make their day as productive and fantastic as possible.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Everybody from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg swear by their rigorous morning habits as a key to their success. And academic research shows that those who adopt morning routines have a greater “ability to take action to change a situation to one’s advantage.”
Adopting morning habits certainly isn’t a cakewalk (especially if you’re not a morning person), but the right ones will pay off enormously, and make it all worth the early morning cursing.
Here are some of those habits that will pay off for your entire lifetime:
Get that worm.
Is a key to success waking up fifteen minutes before work and stumbling in while out of breath? Not just no, but hell no.
The most successful people take their mornings a step further by waking up very early. But Former First Lady Michelle Obama found even greater success when she realized that she needed to see herself as someone worth making time for.
“If I had to get up to take care of my kids, I’d get up and do that,” she said. “But when it comes to yourself, then suddenly, ‘Oh, I can’t get up at 4:30.’ So I had to change that.”
Even if your work doesn’t start early, take the time and generate the willpower to stay away from the snooze button. Finding the time to take care of yourselfin the morning is well worth the investment.
Don’t take anything for granted.
A day that starts off with a negative perspective is unlikely to be a great one, or even a good one. That’s why renowned life coach Tony Robbins suggests a morning “Hour of Power” or “Fifteen Minutes to Thrive.”
A big part of this involves thinking about what you’re grateful for. The benefits of gratitude are enormous — including reduced stress, increased productivity, and a generally improved sense of well-being.
No matter how grumpy you are when you roll out of bed, make an effort to be thankful. This can include family, friends, career, anything you wouldn’t want to take for granted. Then visualize “everything you want in your life as if you had it today.”
Indulge in the silence.
Most of us, if not all of us, have just a little too much going on in our lives these days. Between the pressure at work, the crazy schedules of our families and the endless distractions from our phones and watches, there isn’t much quiet time (besides the very early morning, of course).
Take the opportunity to enjoy this time, because within the hour, all of the madness quickly starts to seep in. This quiet part of the day is the perfect time to indulge in some meditation.
If you are new to this, try the free app Headspace — it’s an introductory and guided meditation program that takes only ten minutes. Giving yourself this time has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep habits, increase memory and enhance relationships (just to name a few benefits).
Eat the frog.
We all have something on our to-do list that we just plain old hate doing, and a good majority of us will keep pushing it to the end of the day (or even to tomorrow), when we are exhausted from everything else, to finally get to it.
Instead of pushing things off, and getting exhausted in the process you should“eat the frog” (and no, I’m not referring to the French delicacy). Mark Twain famously claimed “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.”
As productivity expert Brian Tracy says “Your ‘frog’ is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.” He recommends tackling those tasks “before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.”
Not only does this method avoid procrastination, but it’s also a way to tackle things that take the most mental resources when you have the most energy in your fuel tank.
As much as we sometimes hate to admit it, mom was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and successful CEOs from Branson to Zuckerberg have all sung its praises and said that a big breakfast benefits them throughout the day.
There’s a glut of science backing them up. Breakfast does everything from boost your mental power to getting you in better shape.
The naysayers all say, “I’m too tired!” Well, breakfast wakes you up, while not eating anything does the exact opposite. And for those who cry in protest that there isn’t enough time to make a big breakfast in the morning. You can always do it the night before. I do.
Get your sweat on.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey jogs six miles every morning. Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at five o’clock in the morning to get sweaty. You don’t have to do exactly what they do, but you should really consider some sort of morning workout.
You probably know that exercise is great for you, but what you might not know is that exerting yourself in the a.m. will actually leave you feeling more energized and awake. And working out in the morning is the key to staying consistent with your exercise goals. “If you work out before your day distracts you, your chances of exercising regularly go way up,” says Cedric Bryant of the American Council on Exercise.
We all have good intentions of how productive we will be when we get home from work, that is, until our end of the week deadline gets bumped to tomorrow or our child gets sent home from school with a fever — and just like that, poof, another day goes by without a workout.
No matter how grumpy you are in the A.M., forcing yourself to find inspiration will do more to get you out of bed than the most heavily caffeinated Starbucks product ever will. Even when I’m sleep deprived, thinking about the change I’ll make that day through LexION Capital gets me all amped up.
Look no further than the late Steve Jobs. He famously said that he looked in the mirror every morning and asked himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
You don’t have to reinvent the computer. Just take five minutes or so every day to think about the things you can accomplish that day.