If you can win the morning, you will win the day. The first 60 – 90 minutes of your day will have have a huge impact on how the rest of the day is shaped, be it positive or negative. Having some kind of morning ritual is an absolute key for icons, billionaires and world-class performers all around the globe. So here are the 8 most effective morning habits of highly successful people, that you could implement in your morning routine.
#1 Make your bed.
This might sound like a silly habit but it could be of huge importance. As soon as you get of bed, assuming you don’t hit the snooze button, make an effort into making your bed. It will probably not even take you a minute and you have successfully completed the first task of your day. Well done champ! This is something recommended by Naval Admiral William McRaven who has commanded every level within the special operations community. He held a speech at the University of Texas where he said “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Even if your day turns out to be a disaster, the last experience of your day will be to come back to something you accomplished.
#2 Check your list that you created the day before.
Having a list with certains tasks that you set out to do will give you a purpose for the day and you will find yourself being productive rather than lost or bored because you don’t know what to do. Start of by completing the most urgent and important tasks and finish of with tasks of lesser importance. Atul Gawande writes In his book the checklist manifesto that the checklist should not be lengthy, but should be kept at 5-9 items which is the limit of working memory.
Don’t check phone or computer.
#3 Meditate/mindfulness practise.
Some kind of meditation or mindfulness practice in the morning was the most common morning ritual among successful people in Tim Ferris’s book tools of titans. Having interviewed 100’s of the most influential people, 80 % of them were practising their minds as a ritual every morning. Meditation is a habit that improves everything else. You’re basically starting your day practising focus when it doesn’t matter, so that you can focus better later when it does matter. I’ve done a video on the benefits of meditation that you can check out, and if you’re just starting out with meditation there are some apps that will help you out such as headspace and calm.
Visualization is a tool you can use that will speed up the process of getting what you want. Visualize already being and having what you want. The mind have a hard time telling the difference between imagination and reality, and you begin to attract these things into your life. It’s very powerful and you will eventually no longer have to push yourself to get where you want, but you will be pulled towards it. The work to get where you want becomes effortless and taking steps towards your vision will feel natural. Keep the vision constant and you will be surprised how it can work to your advantage.
Journaling should not be mistaken as a diary but as a tool that will put your meta physical thoughts into physical reality. This is an opportunity for you to put your visions and dreams onto paper. Studies have shown that only putting your visions or goals on paper will significantly increase your chances of achieving them. According to this study, the three most important tools for reaching success was accountability, commitment and writing the goals down on paper.
The next step here is to write affirmations. Simply write I am, or I have followed by whatever you want to be. Try to be as specific as possible, not just I am great. You could say something like I’m excellent at managing my finances and I save and invest in my business wisely. Or I have a growth mindset and I continuously grow and progress.
You should also write down a few things that you’re grateful of. Write at least three things where one of them should be something really small that you tend to overlook such as the wind on your face, or the comfort of your shoes.
Reading just a few minutes were also a popular habit among the most successful people. If they weren’t reading the news, then philosophy and business were popular alternatives. Stoic philosophy has become increasingly popular and is considered the most practical philosophy as it urges you to do, rather than to just think. Marcus Aurelius, the great roman emperor, writes that when you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. So he’s already expecting this behaviour from people and he recognizes that he can’t control these people, but can only control how he deals with them. I know this might sound cynical but it’s meant to be a reminder that you are not able to control external sources, only how you frame them in your mind. This is a central theme in stoicism and can be extremely empowering. Realize that good or bad doesn’t exist in external sources, but are created from within. You’re always in control and can choose however you want to interpret events or situations. You can turn any obstacle upside down to suit your purposes. There are many great books on stoicsim and I would be foolish not to mention Mediations by Marcus Aurelius or letters from a stoic by Seneca here. However I recommend reading The daily stoic from Ryan Holiday as a morning ritual. It’s 366 meditations of daily wisdom and makes it a comfortable read as it usually only takes a few minutes to finish each section.
Exercising in the morning doesn’t mean that you should sprint to the gym, deadlift, squat and benchpress, then sprint back again. Instead just try to make a habit of something that will get your heart rate up and that will loosen your body up. The kettlebell swing is an excellent exercise that you could do in the morning and it won’t even take 10 minutes to do. You can watch my video where I go through the benefits of the kettlebell swing and why some people consider it the greatest tool of lifting ever invented. However if you don’t fancy the kettlebell, some good ol push ups should do the trick. Flexibility movements are also popular and is something you should consider doing in the morning.
#8 Cold showers.
When you’re done with your light exercise, try taking a cold shower for at least 30 seconds. This is something Tony Robbins among others try to do every morning. Step into that cold water and it will wake you up make no mistake about that. That slow and soft breathing you had when you were sleeping will be long gone once that water hits you. There are a lot of benefits with cold showers such as increasing testosterone, stimulate weight loss, increase alertness, reduce stress and build strong will power.
If you’ve watched till this point I will recommend a stoic practice to do before going to bed at night. Simply think about your day and ask yourself how it could be improved. It will only take a few minutes but could lead to big improvements in your life.
And lastly you should empty your last energy to set yourself up for the next day. Write a list of things you want to accomplish the next day. It doesn’t have to be many things, start of with 5 or 3 or even 1 thing and put a little square next to it. Let’s say your task of the day is to make your bed. Once you’ve completed that task, check that of your list. Just checking that box will give a sense of accomplishment and soon you will be on your way to checking of more boxes making progress every day.
And like Tony Robbins says it, the one secret to happiness is progress.
– The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wlPMTI
– Meditations by Marcus Aurelius on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jAq5Jb
– The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fbYxbB
Study for writing down goals: https://sidsavara-sidsavaracom.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/researchsummary2.pdf