We only have about 25,000 mornings in our adult life.
Imagine if at least half of those mornings were set with an intention – how much more productive would we be as professionals and as individuals?
Creating a morning routine is essential in living a grounded, productive, and successful life. An earlier start to the morning allows for and encourages mental and physical wellness, as well as peak productivity. Some of the world’s most creative and successful people rely on their morning routine to ensure their days are as fruitful and productive as possible. The morning habits of the most successful entrepreneurs include waking up early and consistently, meditating, exercising, eating breakfast, working deliberately, reading, journaling, and setting goals and priorities for the day.
Highly successful women such as Oprah Winfrey, Marie Kondo, and Arianna Huffington kickstart their morning routines with inspiring strategies from the book My Morning Routine by Benjamin Spall. Oprah Winfrey starts her morning through appreciation and practicing gratitude. Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, wakes up around 6:30 every morning while opening her windows for fresh air to create a peaceful ambiance to begin her morning routine. Kondo enjoys warm drinks such as hot water or herbal tea before eating a well-balanced breakfast. Sometimes, she even practices yoga. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global, who grounds her morning routine in getting eight hours of sleep at night, doesn’t even need an alarm to wake up. She emphasizes that a big part of her morning routine is centered around what she doesn’t do. In other words, once she is awake, she takes a minute to breathe deeply and set an intention for the day, as opposed to checking her emails or looking at her phone as soon as she wakes. Huffington tells Oprah.com that she began to take her morning routine seriously when she fainted from sleep deprivation and exhaustion, hit her head on her desk, and broke her cheekbone. She even notes that she treats her transition to sleep as a “sacrosanct ritual.”
While a healthy routine might be the key to success, committing to a ritual and creating a routine may be the most challenging part. Here are some tips for maintaining a morning routine in addition to morning must-haves of successful people.
1. Choose a set time to wake up every day.
Waking up early gives you more time and you can spend this time cultivating other morning habits. Research shows that waking up at the same time every day gives your body and mind more sleep consistency, which is important for establishing and maintaining your circadian rhythm. Choosing a time to wake up every day and establishing rhythm also makes it easier to wake up in the morning.
Don’t hit the snooze button! Success begins the moment you get out of bed. According to sleep medicine physician W. Christopher Winter, every time you wake up and hit snooze, you enter a new sleep cycle. The extra few minutes of sleep that you get after hitting the snooze button might actually leave you feeling more tired.
2. Meditate and practice gratitude.
A major part of my morning routine is getting my mind right before I start my day. Through meditation and practicing gratitude, I am able to ground myself and focus on my intentions for the day, as well as my goals for the future. It gives me time to think about who I am and how I want to improve as an individual. Meditation is a guided, thoughtful practice that forces you to become aware of your inner thoughts and feelings. It is essential for clearing your mind, relieving stress, and starting your day in the right mindset. In addition, practicing gratitude – especially when combined with meditation -
A tool that I use to consistently meditate and practice gratitude every morning is a daily meditation book. I recommend Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie, a book that provides warm daily reflections that helps individuals learn to connect even more deeply with themselves. The daily mediations consist of about 2-3 pages and they are fairly quick to read, allowing some time for contemplation, meditation, and practicing gratitude. A daily meditation book is an effective tool to be consistent in practicing meditation because it guides you day-to day on what to reflect on.
Exercise is essential for both physical and mental well-being. A study from the University of Bristol found that people who exercise daily were more likely to have more energy and a more positive outlook compared to those who didn’t. Adding exercise to your morning routine can allow for mental clarity that lasts throughout the day as well. Having a quick sweat session at the start of your day can make you feel more motivated, happier, and more energetic for the rest of your day. It is easier to be consistent with a morning workout regimen when you are doing something you enjoy doing – whether that be a cycling class, running, or even a daily walk to your favorite coffee shop or park. Exercising in the morning can also create a feeling of accomplishment, leaving you motivated to tackle your goals and tasks throughout the day.
4. Eat a well-balanced breakfast.
It can be tempting to skip the most important meal of the day when you are running late for class or work. If you are well-rested and waking up consistently every morning, you won’t be in a rush to get ready and run out the door without eating breakfast, which will provide you with energy at the start of your day. Oatmeal with fruit, eggs, avocado toast, yogurt with berries, or a protein smoothie could be great breakfast options to fuel the beginning of your day.
5. Set goals and priorities.
You can’t achieve your goals if you do not set any. The most successful entrepreneurs and professionals all can agree that goals are vital if you want to succeed, being that they help set direction and motivate you to greater achievement. Smaller goals that you set and attack on a day-to-day basis are just as important as stronger long-term goals. Spending a part of your morning brainstorming and writing down the most important goals and priorities, such as creating a realistic “To-Do” list, can increase the likelihood of those tasks and goals being completed throughout the day.
6. Be consistent.
It is important to develop a morning routine that you can maintain, even on the weekends. This will allow you to be consistent with a morning routine, which will overall increase your productivity. When creating a morning routine, it is good to experiment and make small changes according to your needs. It is also important to establish a routine that is congruent with your goals and intentions, especially in regard to career or life goals.
Morning routines may sound mundane and to some, a waste of time. Establishing and maintaining a morning routine has allowed me to become the best version of myself, as well as increased my levels of motivation towards my academic, professional, fitness, and personal goals. Morning routines have the power to benefit and support the goals of ambitious women, in addition to encouraging women to become the best versions of themselves on the road to success.
Bratskeir, Kate. “The Morning Routines of Successful People.” WeWork, 20 Aug. 2021, https://www.wework.com/ideas/professional-development/management-leadership/the morning-routines-of-successful-people.
Brokaw, Ken. “The Importance of Establishing a Morning Routine.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 31 May 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/05/30/the-importance-of-establishing a-morning-routine/.
Clarke, Jodi. “Benefits of a Morning Routine.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 17 Sept. 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/morning-routine-4174576.
DeMers, Jayson. “8 Morning Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs.” All Business, Dun & Bradstreet, 4 May 2021, https://www.allbusiness.com/morning-habits-of-successful entrepreneurs-130650-1.html.
Spall, Benjamin, and Michael Xander. My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. Portfolio/Penguin, 2018.
Spall, Benjamin, and Michael Xander. “The Morning Routines of Highly Successful Women.” Oprah.com, Oprah.com, 21 June 2018, https://www.oprah.com/inspiration/the morning-routines-of-highly-successful-women.