Why is it that every millionaire and billionaire in the world seems to have a strict and rigid morning routine that they swear up and down is the backbone of their success? Does having a morning routine– a good one– really alter or affect your chances of being successful? If so, how can you create and follow such a routine?
by Hal Elrod
⏱ 14 minutes reading time
🎧 Audio version available
What is a good morning routine, anyway? It’s simple. A morning routine is a set of actions you habitually perform in the morning before tackling your day’s main event, such as going to school or work.
The thing about your morning is that they set the tone for the day. They also control your mindset. Ever woken up half an hour late and found your mood was absolutely foul for the rest of the day? See how much mornings control your mood? This is why you need to find a routine that’s works for you. As Tim Ferris, the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” said, “If you win the morning, you win the day.”
Step 1: Know A Good Morning Routine Starts the Night Before
That’s right. A morning routine that sets you up for success is one that actually starts the day before. This can be described in a single sentence: you need a good night’s sleep.
Not getting a sufficient amount of sleep or being sleep deprived can dramatically affect your day and take a massive toll on your energy. It also affects your productivity, your mood, your stress levels, your emotional balance, and eventually, your overall health.
The first step in establishing a phenomenal routine is in setting and maintaining a fixed bedtime. Consistency is key. In the same way you can’t change the time you clock in for work, make your bedtime an immovable rock. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. When you fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day, you set your internal clock, your body’s circadian rhythm, which ensures you get a more restful sleep at night.
Set yourself further up for success by preparing your outfit for the day the night before to limit the number of choices you have to make.
Step 2: Plan Ahead How Much You’ll Need
We still haven’t reached the step of waking up, because you need to figure out exactly when you need to do that. Figuring out how much time you’ll need in the morning helps the rest of the steps in our guide go smoothly. It also helps you avoid the number one obstacle every morning everyone faces: having to rush.
How about a bottoms-up method? Plan backward. When do you need to be at your first engagement of the day, such as the time you need to clock in, your first meeting, et cetera? From there, work on timing. You want to have enough time to fit every step of your routine.
Step 3: Know When to Wake Up
There is no shortage of pre-set morning routines on the internet and in biographies. If you find those overwhelming, have no fear! You can use the route of following the routine of someone who is already successful to achieve the same success…or you can create your own routine that works for you.
You can mimic Apple CEO Tim Cook’s morning routine and wake up at 3:45 a.m. every day. Or you go the Jeff Bezos way, which is seven hours of sleep each night after going to bed at 10:00 p.m. and waking up at 5: 00. Find an hour that works specifically for you.
The overwhelming majority of successful people choose to wake up around the 7 a.m. mark. While the rest of the world is in dreamland, they get started on accomplishing important tasks.
Step 4: Get Up Right
The moment of truth. It’s time to wake up! Your alarm blares warning bells, urging you to get up…but you need just five extra minutes of sleep and then you’ll get up. If you regularly hit the snooze button, you fall among the 57% of people who do so. This is an example of a bad morning habit that’s will hold you back– one you do not want to carry over into your brand new morning routine.
If you find yourself literally unwilling to get up without hitting snooze several times, start rethinking your expectations of what time you should wake up. This may be your body telling you it needs more rest.
Getting up right also includes another vital step: not rolling over and picking up your phone. Whether checking your email or scrolling through social media, both are terrible ways to start off your day. Because before you know what’s happening, you’re putting others before yourself and dedicating needless time for this. When you eliminate this step from your mornings, you’ll find it makes way for more productive things.
Step 5: Make Your Bed
Making your bed is more of a psychological thing. It’s an incredibly small thing to do, but it has a ripple effect. This one “chore” you finish in under a minute sets the tone for the rest of the day. It provides an unparalleled sense of pride, even if it’s something you do half-asleep.
According to Charles Duhigg, responsible for the brilliant book, “The Power of Habit,” making your bed is a “keystone habit” that results in a domino effect of good decisions throughout the rest of the day. Now that you have taken charge of your morning, got the first thing checked off your to-do list, you’ll find more motivation to tackle the next task– and then the next, and so on.
Step 6: Drink Water
Load up on H2O as soon as you wake up. The benefits are countless. Numerous nutritionists recommend starting your day with eight ounces of water when you wake up– rather than gulping down coffee or tea. Drinking water in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, helps balance the lymphatic system, digest food, absorb nutrients, and increase energy levels.
Step 7: Journal
If the best in the world insist on journaling, then there has to be a benefit to it, right? The answer is “yes!” Journaling has historically been a habit the majority of insanely successful people had.
Science says that journaling can help increase productivity and personal happiness, as well as lead to a better quality of sleep and organized thoughts. Examples of successful people who journal include everyone from Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein, to Warren Buffet and Richard Branson.
Journaling doesn’t necessarily mean writing “Dear diary” and divulging all your deepest secrets to a notebook, but that’s your thing, go for it! Your journal could also hold your daily to-do list, hopes ,and aspirations, both for the day and the long term.
Step 8: Get Your Blood Pumping
Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m. and immediately heads to the gym to work out. So do Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, and Bill Gates. Working out on a regular basis is absolutely mind-blowing when it comes to boosting your energy and reducing fatigue.
Think of all the oxygen and nutrients that are racing towards your heart and lungs as you exercise, how much your stamina and endurance will improve, as well as your cardiovascular system.
It may seem like a paradox because working out may leave you tired, but exercising early can result in helping you to feeling more energized throughout the day. More benefits include improved attention span, decision-making, and visual learning.
And exercise is a loose term. There is no need to go berserk on a treadmill. A simple yoga routine, a walk, run, or stretching can suffice.
Step 9: Eat Breakfast
Say it out loud: breakfast is the most important meal of the day! And devouring one in the morning is an unskippable step in your morning that you’ll never regret. Think again when you’re racing to get to work and forgo grabbing at least an apple or protein bar on the way. Breakfast keeps your blood sugar levels stable during the day. A balanced breakfast increases your productivity until lunch. It also improves your concentration and energy levels.
Step 10: Take a Shower
There is nothing like step number nine to finally set you up for the rest of the day. Taking a refreshing shower in the morning is a game-changer. It may be a given if you overdo it in the morning exercise, but a morning shower, overall, is essential.
That rush of pressurized water helps not only stimulate your body’s system, but also energizes your soul and leaves you smelling like roses at the end.
And there you have it. Ready to tackle the rest of your day?
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