Morning routines of successful people and how you can create one of your own.
When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do? For most people, they grab their phone and start scrolling. But did you know that for most of the world’s successful people, this is the last thing they have on their minds?
Yes, many of the world’s top CEOs today have unique morning routines that do not involve checking messages and current news at all. When it comes to doing things as soon as they wake up, most of the things they prioritize revolve around self-care.
The morning routines of successful people have been studied for many years. In fact, even history’s most celebrated men had unique morning routines they strictly followed for their entire lives.
What do most geniuses, CEOs, top athletes, the US Navy, and even NASA scientists have all in common? Well, it’s not a high IQ, that’s for sure. The most common thing they do everyday is a rigid morning routine.
What is a Morning Routine?
A morning routine is a series of tasks one performs as soon as they wake up, in the same order every day. These tasks are usually done before you start your day’s main activity, such as work or going to school.
This morning routine can involve anything from drinking a glass of water to doing yoga for 10 minutes, to as complicated as a 2-hour set of tasks that involves meditation, reading a book, or dancing.
When people hear the word routine, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s strenuous and tasking. Imagine having to do a series of tasks when you’re still feeling groggy and sleepy. All you want to do when you wake up is roll over and get back to sleep, that’s why the snooze button is one of the most overused buttons in the world.
However, morning routines are nothing but exhausting. In actuality, the morning routines of successful people are actually enjoyable.
According to authors Benjamin Spall and Micheal Xander, who wrote the book, “My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired,” they discovered that the most successful people actually perform activities that make them feel good. These activities never feel like a chore and they actually look forward to waking up.
So what does this mean for you? Well, psychologists have actually learned that morning routines bring about a number of benefits that help you improve your life.
From increased productivity to improved well-being, and even an increased lifespan, morning routines set you up for improved health and success.
The Benefits of a Morning Routine
The benefits of morning routines have been well-documented in the field of psychology. Studies have shown the tremendous physical and psychological effects of doing a series of enjoyable tasks the moment you wake up.
In the book, “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, he discusses the importance of building the structure of your morning around set boundaries. He emphasizes this practice will help you feel more grounded, less stressed, and leads up to a day of productivity.
Let’s discuss some of these benefits.
- Lowered Stress Levels —
One of the causes of stress is not having enough time to accomplish tasks at work, at school, or in your personal life. A morning routine sets you up for structure and organization, helping you gain control of your time.
Increased stress levels have been associated with increased blood pressure, leading to increased risk for heart disease and stroke, as well as other chronic ailments.
- Improved Relationships —
It is known that the more stressed you are, the less fulfilling your relationships will be. With lowered stress levels, you are able to manage your time better, as well as improve your decision-making skills, eliminating impulse behavior such as outbursts of anger and other risky activities.
- Increased Productivity —
With a clear mind and a positive mood that’s ready to face the day, you begin work with a sense of purpose and improved productivity.
A morning ritual can be the primary determinant of how your day is going to be. If you have been struggling to be productive or you lack direction, it could be the direct result of a lack of a morning routine, or an inefficient morning ritual.
- Improved Mood —
How you start your day is incredibly important in setting the tone for your day to day mood. Will you be irritable today, or maybe happy and optimistic? Or maybe you’re anxious and nervous?
What you do when you wake up sets you up for how you will feel for the rest of the day. A morning routine can help you get started in a good mood by doing things you enjoy, as well as activities that boost your health, such as exercising or eating a healthy breakfast.
- Improved Confidence and Self-Esteem —
By doing things that feel good to you, your self-esteem and confidence immediately improve. This is because feeling good is closely associated with feelings of positivity, and feelings of positivity means you are optimistic that things will go your way.
If you work at the office, or if you have a business, a morning routine can help you feel motivated and inspired to succeed.
- Better Mental Health Management —
The importance of routines has been associated with a variety of mental health conditions, such as in studies revolving anxiety, depression, addiction, bipolar disorder, and many more. Psychologists believe that routines help individuals who may be suffering from such mental health issues in terms of organizing their day and thoughts, bringing more control and predictability.
Structure can help calm the overactive minds of people who are suffering from such conditions, easing their symptoms.
A morning routine provides a good structure of organization for those who may find it difficult to get by on a day to day basis.
Why Do a Morning Routine and Not an Afternoon or Evening Routine?
An entire day has 24 hours, but why must we have a morning routine rather than an afternoon or evening routine?
Well, it all boils down to will-power.
It is believed that the greatest amount of willpower humans have is in the morning. This means that starting the day right increases the probability for success and achievement throughout the entire day.
Think of willpower like a muscle. The longer you use your muscles, the more strenuous it becomes and the less strength you can endure and use.
People are mostly optimistic and ready to tackle the day in the early hours of the morning. But as the day goes on, the more tired you feel and your energy is depleted as the hours linger on.
It is known that poor self-control, reduced ability for decision making, and lapses in choices occur later in the day, as compared in the morning.
By the end of the day, such as when the sun goes down, we crave rest and relaxation, rather than actively doing something for ourselves or for our success and achievements. By sunset, the mind naturally craves sleep and rest instead of doing something new or fulfilling a goal.
In a nutshell, early morning hours and the rest of the morning are the best time to organize your tasks, care for yourself, as well as achieving goals and tasks.
Morning Routines of Highly Successful People
To give you a better idea of what a morning routine is, here are some examples of the morning routines of successful people. I’ve gathered a few names whose morning rituals consist of simple and easy tasks that anyone can do on their own, too.
Let’s begin with some of today’s most popular names.
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos —
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a big proponent of sleeping eight hours a night, which is the standard hours of sleep adults need for proper rest. He also does not make use of an alarm, and wakes up early in the morning to take some time to himself.
Once he wakes up, he usually reads the newspaper, has some coffee, eats breakfast with his kids, and does the dishes.
According to a study conducted by the University of California, Santa Barbara, Bezos is actually on to something. They discovered that spending time on endless tasks actually allowed the mind to wander and get more creative.
This might explain why Bezos, one of the world’s richest men and a true self-made billionaire, spends his mornings doing mundane tasks.
By 10am, he is ready for his first meeting, which usually requires the most brain power out of all the meetings in his day.
This act of performing mundane things in the morning also rings true to another one of the world’s richest men, which is Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He usually wakes up at 7am, takes a shower, dresses, and drinks coffee.
He has mentioned that showing is a critical part of his morning and prepares him to face the challenges of the day ahead.
World-Famous Life Coach Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is a New York Times bestselling author, life coach, and philanthropist. One of his morning routines consists of plunging into an ice-cold pool. Every mining, Robbins jumps into a 57-degree Fahrenheit pool for a radical change of temperature.
The benefits of cold water swimming have been well-documented and among them include an improved immune system, boosts blood circulation, burns calories, reduces stress, increases libido, and gives you an endorphin high, which prepares your body for a good mood.
VIDEO | Tony Robbins : Creating the Life You Want
If you don’t have a temperature control pool at home, a cold shower will come close to swimming in ice cold water.
Recommended Books by Tony Robbins :
Venture Capital Investor Tim Draper
He starts his day early with a game of basketball, taking advantage of the “release of endorphins” exercise brings. The benefits of endorphin release in the body have been well-documented.
In fact, it is responsible for the sensation of the “runners high,” which is the ecstatic feeling you get after jogging or running for a period of time.
Endorphins are known as our body’s natural pain-killing hormone, which acts like morphine in its ability to reduce sensations of pain. It can also help lift your mood, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.
After a game of basketball, Draper follows it with a breakfast of 3 eggs, which are high in protein and keeps his appetite in check. He credits his morning routine for keeping him focused throughout the day.
Other proponents of exercising in the morning include Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, who starts her morning with a game of tennis, as well as former President Barack Obama, who always does his cardio and weights routine in the morning, followed by breakfast with his daughters.
One of he Greatest Boxers of All Time, Muhammad Ali
The late Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time, started his morning by reading inspirational content. He would read empowering affirmations each morning, with the intent of changing his beliefs. He had the idea that if he repeatedly read the same affirmations, they would subsequently change his behavior and thoughts.
VIDEO | Muhammad Ali : Rules of Success
Affirmations are known to be quite powerful in terms of improving your self-esteem, confidence, and changing your perceptions. They are positive statements that help us overcome negative thinking and thoughts that are self-sabotaging. When you repeat them frequently, you eventually start making positive changes.
Think of affirmations like a physical exercise. The more you workout at the gym or the more you practice a dance routine, the more you master it, where it eventually becomes muscle memory and you no longer have to consciously think about it. It becomes a habit and it becomes you, performing on autopilot rather than making an effort to think about it when you do the task.
Repeating an affirmation again and again does the very same thing to your brain. The more you say it, the more it becomes you, and it eventually changes your thoughts and behavior.
Studies have also shown that affirmations can help you perform better at work. Research shows that affirmations increase your confidence, calms your nerves, and improves your chances of a successful result.
Bestselling author Elle Russ also practices affirmations in the morning. As soon as she wakes up, she practices mindfulness before getting out of bed. She then expresses her gratitude to the universe for her body and health, then proceeds to say an affirmation to set her intentions for that day.
These are only a few of the morning routines of successful people around the world, and I’m sure there are many inventors, entrepreneurs, and billionaires who equally have such interesting, mundane, and rigid morning rituals they follow on a daily basis.
Even Mozart, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and many other historical figures had morning routines to live by. It’s not just a modern practice done by today’s most successful and famous personalities.
Now that you know that many of the world’s greatest minds have structured morning routines, isn’t it about time you make one on your own so you can reap the benefits of this daily practice?
If you don’t have a morning routine or you never considered one, then the following section of this article will help you. We will start with creating a few tips and guidelines on how you can start a morning ritual, followed by a sample routine that you can do on your own.
Three Major Benefits of Morning Routines that Prime You for Success
In my research trying to find out what makes morning routines so effective in reaching goals and being a success, I discovered the work of Eric Barker.
Barker is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, who wrote the book, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” The book talks about the studies and research about what separates the extremely successful people from the rest of the population.
The book teaches us about what we can learn from these people so we can be more like them, as well as discovering why it’s good that we aren’t, in some cases.
He discusses three important benefits of morning routines that are responsible for priming a person for success. I found his explanations to be very clear, precise, and very eye-opening as well, and really makes you think the key to your success was right under your nose all along.
Barker believes there are three major effects of a morning routine, and these are:
- Feeling a Sense of Purpose
- Feeling in Control
- Feeling Optimistic
He created an abbreviation of these benefits, and it’s PCO: Purpose, Control, and Optimism. Let’s dig deeper into what each of these mean.
1 — Feeling a Sense of Purpose
One research that was done at Tohoku University in Japan did a 7-year study of over 43,000 adults who were aged 40-79. They had asked these subjects if they had Ikigai, which is a Japanese term for having meaning in life. The researchers tracked these people’s health over 7 years, and discovered that those who answered yes were much more likely to be alive after 7 years.
This study provides solid evidence that having a purpose in life can lead to overall well-being and longevity.
When you wake up in the morning and plan your day ahead, or create goals to accomplish, you are creating a purpose for yourself. You create meaning in your life by performing tasks that are geared towards accomplishing a goal.
When you feel a sense of purpose, such as healing the sick if you’re a doctor, or fighting for injustice if you’re a lawyer, or simply raising your kids in the best way possible, it gives you the motivation to live each day.
Morning routines give you a sense of purpose that not only helps you accomplish your goals, but can potentially extend your life as well.
2 — Feeling In Control
In the book, “The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise,” the authors mentioned that a sense of control in both career and relationships can lead to feelings of happiness and satisfaction. The authors revealed a study that people who had a sense of control over their lives were 66% more likely to be happy.
In another book entitled, “The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People,” the author discovered that people who construct their goals in concrete terms were 50% more likely to feel confident that they will achieve their goals.
One of the most common morning routines for successful people is setting goals for the day. When you can write down your tasks and plan a structure on how to accomplish them, you are giving yourself a sense of control and in a way, makes your day more predictable, lowering your overall stress and anxiety.
In fact, making decisions, creating goals, and setting intentions are considered to be a part of the same neural circuitry and engage the brain’s prefrontal cortex in a positive way. When this happens to the brain, worry and anxiety are reduced, making setting goals an effective way to lower instances of mood disorders.
When you feel in control and are able to accomplish your goals, it changes your perception of the world as you are actively finding solutions to your problems and calming your limbic system.
3 — Feeling Optimistic
A study done on soldiers and endurance was conducted, where they discovered that endurance is not only dependent on muscles and strength, but the mind actually plays a very important role in how soldiers can go through intense training and warfare.
The results of the study goes to show that one’s outlook about how they will survive and accomplish goals can be just as important as skills or intelligence.
It also goes to show that we have the power to change our mindset. When we feel optimistic about our day, we will feel more confident, happier, and more satisfied with ourselves and the world.
In summary, you can ask yourself, “How does what I do benefit others?” In a selfish world, we rarely do things that benefit those around us. When we gain money, fame, and success only for ourselves, we will barely feel happy when we’ve achieved them. The key to happiness is when success is shared, and this creates a feeling of purpose.
Next, you can ask yourself, “What goals do I want to accomplish today?” Create a list of things to do that you can complete for a specific day. This creates your sense of control.
And lastly, you can ask yourself, “How can I achieve these goals?” Plan what you need to do so you can achieve your goals. When you’ve created or planned the solutions, you become confident and optimistic that you will be able to accomplish them.
Tasks for a Great Morning Routine
Based on a number of morning routines of successful people and from several books that I gathered, here are 7 tasks for a great morning routine that you can follow.
You don’t have to do all of them, as long as you remember PCO, or Purpose, Control, and Optimism, you can create an amazing morning routine that can help you succeed in both your career and personal life.
7 tasks you can do to create your very own morning routine:
1 — Wake Up Early
Benjamin Franklin coined the quote: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
In the book, “My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Everyday Inspired,” the authors interviewed over 300 successful people about their respective morning routines and what they discovered was that these people usually woke up early, with the average time at 6:27 am.
Famous personality Oprah Winfrey is known to wake up around 6:20 while Elon Musk is known to wake up at 7am. Anna Wintour wakes up at 5:45am, while Warren Buffett, considered to be one of the world’s most successful investors and one of the richest men in the world, wakes up at 6:45am.
Waking up early provides you time to do things by yourself, and for yourself. Before the kids wake up, before you start preparing for your job, and before the rest of the world awakens, you can have a few minutes alone all to yourself.
This time alone can provide you with the time for self-reflection, free of distractions, and you can enjoy a peaceful time with no one else around needing anything from you.
If you find it hard to wake up early on a daily basis, don’t worry. It’s hard to change or adjust your circadian rhythm, but it can be done.
Try to wake up at least 15 minutes earlier than what you’re used to. Though Jeff Bezos and Oprah Winfrey never use an alarm clock to wake up, as soon as your body adjusts to its new schedule, you will eventually wake up at the very same time everyday.
If you usually wake up at 7:30 am and start getting ready to go to work, set your alarm at 7:15 am. Use this extra 15 minutes of free time to do your morning routine. If you want more time, slowly adjust your waking time by 15 minutes earlier until your body adjusts.
2 — Get Your Body Moving
Did you notice what Tim Draper, Anna Wintour, Tony Robbins, and Obama had in common with their morning routines? The answer is exercise. Getting their body moving in the morning is one of the very tasks on their morning routines to help them prepare for the day.
You don’t have to have an intense body workout, just 10 to 15 minutes of walking, jogging, running, or yoga is enough to kickstart your day and get those endorphins going.
Exercise is not only good for your physical health and physique but it’s actually known to help you think clearer, healthier, and even happier. Exercise is also one of the simplest ways you can reduce symptoms of depression since it’s proven to lower stress levels.
If you can’t exercise, then some simple stretching will do. Researchers at the University of British Columbia discovered that when athletes win a race, their body language becomes expansive. When they lost, their body language looked defeated, characterized with slouching and shrinking.
When you wake up first thing in the morning, do a whole body stretch to expand your body. This body language of expansiveness might just give you a dose of energy and feelings of positivity as soon as you get up from bed.
3 — Cognitive or Spiritual Immersion
Just like what Muhammad Ali did, reading, listening to a podcast, or watching a video about affirmations, spirtual mentors, or a book even for 5 to 10 minutes can have drastic effecs on your mind and perception.
Reading or listening to a motivational speech can inspire you to go after your goals or be happier. Motivation doesn’t last long, so you would need to replenish it regularly.
Actively reading or listening to something that’s cognitively or spiritually immersing can give you a feeling of empowerment and inspiration.
4 — Meditate or Pray
Meditation or prayer quiets the mind. It also clears your thoughts and helps you relax and have a sense of peace, which is how you’d want to start your day.
The benefits of meditation have been scientifically studied, and among them includes lower stress levels, lowered blood pressure, improved concentration, and uplifts your mood.
According to Dr. Nicole Bernard Washignton, who is a board-certified psychiatrist and the chief medical officer at the Elocin Psychiatric Services, recommended all her patients to engage in some form of prayer or meditation as soon as they wake up in the morning. The doctor states that the benefits of these practices empty your thoughts and allow you to start the day with a clear mind.
5 — Practice Gratitude
You can start a gratitude journal where you write down 5 things you’re thankful for as soon as you wake up, or you can also say it out loud, as if you’re speaking to the universe.
The act of gratitude has long been studied to promote feelings of happiness and satisfaction in life. Gratitude is known to create positivity in your mind, as you are focusing more on the good things in your life, rather than the bad.
You need to choose what to expose your mind to when you wake up. By focusing on the great things that you already have, you will start your day happy and fulfilled.
6 — Make a List of Things To Do
Once you’ve practiced self-care, it’s time you jot down 5 things you need to do today. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to finish writing a paper, or do you want to clean the house, or maybe you need to walk your dog by 5pm in the afternoon?
Make a list of things to do and plan how you’re going to achieve them. It helps you organize your time, declutters your mind, and makes you less stressful.
7 — Time with Family
Spend time with your family. It could be as simple as having breakfast with your kids, such as what former President Barack Obama does, or you can take some time to walk your pet, cuddle with your wife or partner, or simply kissing and embracing them before they go to school or for work.
Hugs are also very powerful. According to the book, “The Simple Secret for Being Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise,” a simple hug can reduce the effects of stress. It can lower your blood pressure and even your heart rate by half.
Kissing your significant other before you leave for work can also be beneficial. In fact, a kiss goodbye can extend your life and even boost your salary by 30%.
In the book, “The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us,” a study that took 10 years in Germany conducted in the 80’s revealed that men who kissed their wives before leaving for work added 5 more years of their lives, as well as earned 20 or 30% more than their peers who left without a kiss goodbye to their wife.
Other information they were able to get from this study revealed that kissing in the morning also reduced the probability of a car accident by 50%.
The researchers discovered that it’s not the actual kissing that’s bringing about these benefits but it’s the positive emotion and attitude these men had as they left for work, leading to a healthier lifestyle, more productivity at work, and better decision making on the road.
These 7 tasks are just a recommendation, you can add or remove some tasks, as long as you remember to practice a task that gives you a sense of purpose, a feeling of control, and a positive attitude.
Tips to Help With Your Morning Routine
- Place your phone away from your bed when you sleep, so that reaching for your phone when you wake up becomes a chore. You can place it on a table near the door, in your bathroom, or even your closet.
- Stop using the snooze button. Every time you wake up from an alarm and hit the snooze button, you’re entering a new sleep cycle, according to W. Christopher Winter, a board-certified sleep medicine physician. He says that this extra sleep cycle is light and fragmented and causes you to feel more tired when you do get up from bed.
- Hold off the coffee till you get to work. Research has shown that cortisol levels are naturally higher for the first 1 to 2 hours after you wake up. These higher cortisol levels have been known to increase alertness levels, and therefore minimize the effects of caffeine. By the time you get to work, about an hour or two after you wake up, your cortisol levels have naturally dipped, which is the perfect time for you to take that cup of coffee.
Final Thoughts / Morning Routines of Successful People
When you want to achieve great things, whether it’s in your career, your business, or any endeavor you may have, it can be overwhelming and incredibly stressful. You would need to organize your time, your thoughts, and manage your energy, giving attention to priorities that need your skill sets the most.
A morning routine can help you manage your time and energy levels, while also giving you the perfect time to practice self-care.
The morning routines of successful people are never a chore. If you feel like writing in a gratitude journal feels taxing, then you might not want to include that in your routine. If you feel like running for 20 minutes is exhausting, then maybe a few minutes of yoga is the right exercise for you.
Remember that the key to a morning routine is that the tasks are enjoyable and that you actually like doing them. And when it comes to the tasks you plan to do, always keep in mind PCO – purpose, control, and optimism.
When you consider all these elements in a morning routine, you can expect to enjoy a day of happiness, productivity, and joy.