Many of us, including myself, struggle with getting out of bed in the morning, let alone getting up every single day at 5 AM to get a workout in before work. Yet, many successful people do it. Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, starts every morning off with an hour-long tennis match. David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, walks to work most mornings. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, runs six miles every morning. There is an overflowing list of successful business men and women who make working out the priority of their morning to create a strong, successful, and healthy start to every single work day.
However, working out every single morning can be a daunting task for many people looking to start their mornings off right – especially if you are a night owl. Luckily, many studies and successful business people have shown that working out is not the only way to create a successful start to your day. Instead, the focus must start with creating a morning routine, regardless if you are playing a full tennis game before work every morning, or simply meditating for ten minutes before work. Either way, many entrepreneurs have linked their personal success to having morning rituals that they adhere to no matter what. So what can you do to create a solid morning routine?
Do Something You Love
For me, it’s coffee. It is not for the energy – because it is healthier to find your long-term daily energy from other sources such as working out and eating well – but it is comforting, nostalgic, and a reliable source of happiness in my morning routine. Find what works best for you.
Maybe lay in bed an extra few minutes to cuddle your loved one, or read a chapter in a book you are interested in. Maybe you love to journal, and journaling out your daily tasks, expectations, and goals could be a great way to start your morning. Whatever it is, starting your morning with one thing you love that brings you comfort and sets the right mood for your day is vital.
Even though we addressed the fact that not every single person can get on board with doing long stretches of physical exercise before work every single morning, the reality is that creating a sweat and being active early in the day leads to higher productivity, more energy, and allows you to remain awake and ready to go. However, this does not mean getting up at 5 AM to run or go to the gym.
Creating a sweat can be stem from walking to work if you live close enough or doing ten to twenty minutes of active stretching or yoga before you start your day. Either way, being active in the morning helps set the right tone for your day, as well as eliminating the chance that you might skip out on your end-of-day workout due to other obligations that may arise throughout the day.
Mediation and Being Present
Many successful leaders, ranging from Ron Friedman and Arianna Huffington (founder and author) to Benjamin Franklin and Oprah Winfrey, implement some form of meditation into their morning routines. For example, Benjamin Franklin started his mornings and ended his days with “The Question: What good shall I do this day?”. For Franklin, it was vital to focus on what he called “The Powerful Goodness” and the Question in order to create a productive start to his day. Through meditation, reflection, daily mantras, and reminders of personal values and missions, you will craft successful ways to stick to your beliefs and values. In turn, this helps you remain accountable to your daily goals and tasks, while allowing yourself to be present to every aspect of the day.
Making Your Bed, Eating Breakfast, and Self-Care
Self-care is one of the most important aspects to a morning routine, but this can look different for everyone. Every person should make a point to start their mornings off with a good breakfast and plenty of water. Hydrating and nourishing your body after sleeping all night is one of the best ways to take care of yourself, all while setting up your day with the right mentality. This also leads to increased energy levels and higher productivity with work and life tasks.
If skipping breakfast is a habit for you, as it is with a lot of people, then consider prepping your breakfast the night before – or make a small, easy breakfast, such as yogurt and granola, to take with you to work. Either way, focusing on self-care is essential.
In conjunction with eating a nutritious breakfast, small tasks such as making your bed can help lead to improved mental health and clarity throughout the day. Or, if you absolutely despise making your bed, then consider doing some small, yet important tasks, in your personal life before you head to work. This can include things like doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen, paying some bills, and so forth.
Accomplish the Most Important Daily Tasks First
Studies have shown the importance of starting your day off by beginning with the most important daily tasks because your self-control and willpower continuously decreases as the day progresses. We utilize most of our self-control on the first few tasks that we put our focus on that day, which tends to leave us lacking self-control for end of the day tasks.
This is another huge reason why many successful leaders plan their workouts as part of their morning routines – to hopefully avoid the pitfalls of lacking self-control at the end of the day. However, it is so much more than working out and self-control. Accomplishing your biggest, most daunting tasks at the beginning of the day leads to a feeling of accomplishment, success, and inspiration for the rest of the day. Hence Mark Twain’s famous advice – “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
This is a key area that many people struggle with on a day to day basis. If you struggle with making breakfast or lunches for your work day, then prep the night – or week – before. If you struggle with sticking to a workout routine, plan a realistic, low commitment workout schedule during the weekend that you feel like you can actually stick to the following week. If you have a list of overwhelming tasks that you need to get done that week, start by writing down your to do list, and then start slowly whittling away at the list.
Furthermore, if you write out the list ahead of time, it is easier to see what aspects you can start on immediately, and what you will have to put off until later in the week. All in all, planning ahead is essential to forming a solid morning routine that will help elevate you to the next level in all aspects of your life.
While some of these components are essential to one person’s successful morning routine, it does not mean that it will work for everyone. We all have different stressors, obligations, and things we love to do in the morning. Either way, the point is that a morning routine that you can stick to even on the weekends is essential to a clear mind, higher productivity in all aspects of your life, increased work-life balance, and overall happiness coupled with less stress to help elevate you to the person that you want to be.