10 things successful people always do before 8 AM, according to psychology

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How we spend our mornings sets the tone for the rest of our day.

No wonder successful CEOs wake up by 6am or even earlier.

They take their time following a morning routine that’s designed for success.

In my attempt to get my life together, I examined the morning routines of the most successful people and read studies on how mornings can be best optimized.

And so in this article, I’ll share with you 10 things successful people always do before 8 AM, according to psychology.

1) They meditate

Successful people don’t hustle and grind the moment they wake up.

Oprah, Paul McCartney, Arianna Huffington, and many other people we look up to do some self-reflection and meditation before they do a single thing related to work.

And it’s not just because it’s a fad. It’s because it has many proven physical and psychological benefits

The most important one is that it reduces the body’s stress response. 

Meditation can help us manage our moods better, which then helps us get through the day’s work and make good decisions.

After all, how can you be a good leader if you’re easily angered? How can you paint, dance, knit, and sell stuff if you’re always overwhelmed?

2) They tidy up their room

You might go “Huh? Cleaning can make one successful?”

Allow me to explain.

While cleaning per se doesn’t give you dollars in the bank (unless you’re a cleaner), the act of cleaning helps one develop independence and accountability—two traits that are necessary for any kind of success.

The fact that no one else does these things for you is always a good reminder that if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.

What also makes making one’s bed a good habit is that it psychologically makes us feel accomplished. 

It’s such a small task that once done, can instantly make us feel like a winner!

There’s a study of 1000 people that shows that 82% of bed-makers believe that completing this small task helps them become productive all day. 

In fact, 79% said that making their bed is an important part of starting the day right.

So if you’re like the rest of us and you think FEELING productive can make you productive?

Set one minute each day to make your bed.

3) They get their blood pumping

Science suggests that all we need is to do 21 minutes of vigorous exercise every single day, and successful people make sure they do it even if they have a full day ahead.

Anna Wintour plays tennis at 5:30.  

Michelle Obama does cardio and lifts weights at 4:30.

Tim cook does strength training at 6am.

And they do it almost every single day!

Seriously. If the busiest people can do it, we can do it, too. Or we probably should so we can be more successful in life.

Exercise is not only good for the bones, it helps us become productive and alert, too.

It aids in the secretion of neurotransmitters that promote mental clarity and better attention span.

The sharpest people in the office are usually the ones who got their blood pumping early in the morning.

4) They eat energy-boosting foods

While studies show that skipping or eating breakfast doesn’t have a big impact on overall health, it’s always better for your productivity if you consume something that’s energy-boosting.

That’s why even if successful people don’t have a big breakfast meal, they consume coffee, yogurt, and other energy-boosting foods.

This is also important to add “credit” to energy which we will use up all throughout the day. 

According to psychologist Sarah Sarkis, “energy, just like money, is finite”. And one way to boost your energy bank is by consuming foods that give you energy early in the morning.

5) They read and update their to-do list

Studies show that simply being reminded of our goals and tasks can make us more motivated.

While having to-do lists doesn’t make one automatically more productive, psychologists say we still get a lot of benefits from simply organizing our week and our day.

The simple act of writing down the important things to do could help us map out how we should manage our day and how our week and month would look like.

This would then tell our subconscious that whatever we do this day will have an impact on what our tomorrow will be like, and so on.

In other words, this makes us psychologically motivated to commit to doing the day’s to-do list. 

6) They reflect on their goals

They remind themselves of their long-term and short-term goals and ask themselves if they still feel the same way about them.

And if they’re in the mood, they’d even ask themselves some questions like:

  • What do you value the most?
  • What motivates you to do better?
  • What’s your life purpose?

They don’t spend an hour on it. Ten minutes is enough!

They might do it after they meditate or while taking a shower…or while they’re on their way to work.

Just like checking their to-do list, simply knowing that what they do today could affect their future could lead them to make better decisions all day—and that includes not wasting time on things that are not leading them to their goals.

7) They watch the news

Any kind of success requires you to be aware of what’s happening around the world.

If you want to get rich, well you better know what’s happening with the economy—perhaps to know what are the things worth investing in and what new products are out there.

If you want to be an artist, you can’t be blind to what’s going on around the world.

The most successful people aren’t the ones who spend 16 hours a day simply working. 

They’re the ones who are aware, open, and always trying new things to match the current demands.

8) They do at least one hour of deep work 

While studies show that we are most productive between 9am-11am, this isn’t true for everyone.

We don’t experience peak productivity at the same time each day!

Personally, I write better and faster at 4am-7am than any other time of the day. And this is true for many writers and creatives.

And so if they’ve identified their peak productivity hours and it’s before 8am, they’d spend at least an hour doing deep work.

They know that if they don’t maximize it, they might miss out on epiphanies and ideas that can help them achieve success.

9) They spend quality time with their loved ones

Success is about accomplishments, yes. But not only! 

The truly successful people aim to have a happy, well- balanced, and meaningful life. 

And when it comes to happiness, they make time for interpersonal relationships. 

According to a study on longevity, joyful moments with friends and family are essential for a long and happy life. 

That’s why centenarians prioritize parties, get-togethers, and quality time with the people they love.

Successful people know this and so even if they have deadlines to beat, they’d never cancel their date nights and weekend getaways.

10) They get some inspiration

Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

They read about the lives of successful people.

They listen to motivational podcasts.

And if they’re too busy, they might simply read some inspirational quotes.

By listening about success, we teach our mind to make choices that could lead us to success. 

And this makes them mentally stronger and motivated to do whatever it takes to achieve all the things they want to achieve in life.

Last words

Mornings are so precious. 

It’s the best time to awaken the senses and mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead.

So do wake up early each day and establish a good morning routine. Try to incorporate as many of the things I listed above so you can fast-track success.

Remember: Successful people are simply those with successful habits.

So do give it a try. And see your life get 1000x better in no time.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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