How to Create a World-Class Morning Routine
One of the most common pieces of advice from “successful” people is that you should have a morning routine. There are even bestselling books all about this secret to success, such as “The 5AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life” and “The Miracle Morning.”
Millions of people have read these books as a morning routine is constantly talked about as the surefire way to a better life. Heck, even people like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Gates all swear by a morning routine.
So do you really need a morning routine to become successful? Or, is it just an overhyped waste of time?
Personally, I think it’s a little of both. If you wake up tomorrow at 5am, will you change your life overnight?
Probably not. But I can say that once I started a morning routine and followed the advice of top entrepreneurs and authors, it has made a huge impact on my productivity and overall well-being.
Because if you think about it, you can’t always control the middle of your day very much with meetings, work, etc. But you always have the ability to control how you start your day and make sure you set yourself up for success.
That being said, I don’t think you need to spend an hour or more each morning with your routine to find success. Conversely, adding one or two of these rituals might help you start the day with energy, enthusiasm, and intention.
How to Start An Empowering Morning Routine (5 Rituals)
If you’re ready to jumpstart your mornings, here are five rituals to get you started.
1. Wake Up Earlier
Did you know that 90% of executives wake up before 6 am on weekdays? That’s what Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author of "What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast" has affirmed.
If you want to make the most of your day, waking up early is the most important step in winning your mornings.
Once I adopted this ritual in 2015, I’ve had so much more time in my day to work on my business, read, and not rush off to work feeling behind every day. Don’t get me wrong, sleep is important and one of the cornerstones of personal health. If your body needs the extra sleep because you’re not feeling 100%, do it.
Hustle isn’t more important than sleep!
But if you hit the snooze button every day and never feel like you’re making progress in life or business, it’s an easy way to shift your momentum. I would argue the snooze button has killed more dreams than anything else. As Richard Whately said, “Lose an hour in the morning and you will be hunting for it all day.”
The key is to balance enough sleep (between 7-9 hours according to the Sleep Foundation) and still giving yourself time for you each morning. Waking up when the CEOs do will allow you to get up energized and give you time to use the other morning routine success rituals.
2. Read, Listen or Watch Something Positive
Chances are you’ve probably heard the old marketing slogan, “If it bleeds, it leads” when it comes to news coverage. Sadly, the majority of news on TV and social media is negative, which doesn’t make it the best way to start the day.
But it’s not 100% because fear-mongering networks are trying to ruin your morning. It’s actually part of our fight or flight mechanism. As the LA Times said,
“There are some evolutionary reasons as to why negativity bias exists, the scientists pointed out. For one thing, it can be much riskier to ignore negative information (a storm is coming) than good news (a dog rescued a boy from a tree). Paying attention to negative news, the researchers said, is generally an effective survival strategy.”
So what does the news have to do with a morning routine?
If you wake up and instantly start consuming negative information, it likely won’t help your mindset to start the day. Many believe that the subconscious mind is highly active right when you wake up, and it’s responsible for the majority of what you do every single day (some researchers, such as internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit Dr. Bruce Lipton, say up to 95% of all decisions).
Yet, tons of people wake up and instantly scroll their feeds or turn on their TVs to get caught up on the news while lying in bed. News networks take advantage of negative content because the brain is wired to always look for what is wrong as its primary role is your survival.
That’s why negative news is so addicting.
So instead of starting your day off negative, use the first 60 minutes of your day to focus on positive or inspirational content. Avoid the news like the plague and start your day with inspirational content like uplifting podcasts, motivational videos on YouTube, or a new book.
3. Focus on Your Health
The mornings are a great time to set yourself up for success health- wise too. By getting up earlier, you can make sure you don’t skip a workout or hit the food trucks for lunch.
Here are some good ideas to start the morning with healthy habits:
- Join a running club.
- Work out with a friend.
- Prep your meals for the day.
- Eat a high- protein breakfast.
- Go on a long walk with your dog.
- Find a yoga class (or do a home).
Remember, health is wealth - you only get one body in this lifetime, so take care of it. Waking up early allows you to spend time working on your mind and body.
4. Spend Time Working on You
Do you ever notice once the day gets going, you never have much time to yourself? With work, kids, friends, and other commitments it might feel impossible to squeeze in any personal time.
But waking up early can help you intentionally carve out time for your own well-being.
Make part of your morning all about you. Not your spouse, kids, work emails, or projects around the house. This time should be all about your own growth, energy, and development.
By putting yourself first, you get to start each day with a clean slate and not let yesterday affect today. Plus, the better you are, the better you will be to your family, friends, and people at work. Spend 10–15 minutes doing one or two of these activities:
Start a Mindfulness Practice
Tim Ferriss published a book, “Tools of Titans” where interviews some of the most successful people in the world from all industries. From billionaire CEO’s to Olympic athletes to world-class entrepreneurs. The one thing they almost all had in common?
A daily mindfulness practice.
Whether it’s meditation or mindfulness, 80% or more had some sort of mindfulness ritual. The benefits are nearly endless and it’s a great way to start the day clear, focused, and intentional.
Write In a Journal
A journal is your vessel to create your future before it happens. Journaling lets you get what’s in your head out to gain clarity on your biggest goals, dreams, and problems in life.
Write Your Goals Daily
How many times have you set a goal(s) only to forget about them a day or a week later? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I've been there myself. But writing your goals down can have a big impact on achieving them - 42% more, according to Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University in California.
Even if you spend one minute reviewing your biggest goals, you are constantly reminding yourself of what you are trying to achieve!
5. Do The Hard Stuff First
The final ritual to help you win the morning is to get the hard stuff done first. As Robert Allen said, “The fundamental level of success is doing the hard things first. If you go for the feared thing first, then the rest of the day is easy.”
When you attack the challenging tasks or projects you’ve been avoiding early, you will create a ton of momentum. Which can stay with you all day.
So is a morning routine worth it?
100% yes in my opinion. Do you need to meditate, read, exercise, stare at your vision board, chant affirmations, and 15 other “success” rituals to have a successful routine?
A morning routine will not make you a millionaire overnight. And it won’t give you the perfect body that you’ve dreamed about and put on your vision board.
But, a morning routine will help you start the day on your terms and give you a head start on most people. Using some or all of the morning rituals will ensure that you have your mind and body primed for a great day.
Does it mean that every day will turn out amazing?
Absolutely not, we are all still humans on a spinning rock just trying to figure it out. But empowering rituals will put you in the best position to succeed and crush the day.