If you want to be your best, you’ve got to be extra mindful of how you spend your time.
Success takes energy, application, and determination.
That starts the moment you wake up.
To ensure they seize the day, these are the things successful people do every morning…
1) Get up as soon as the alarm chimes
It can feel like there’s no harm done when you habitually hit the snooze button.
After all, it’s just 20-30 minutes. And we all know the importance of getting enough sleep, not only to our well-being but also to our productivity.
So what’s the problem?
Well as Ilene Rosen, MD explained to the New York Times, it is actually robbing you of your time and giving very little back:
“For most of us, that alarm is going off at a time when we are likely having REM sleep, one of the most restorative stages of sleep,”
But she goes on to point out that we don’t then return to that nice deep state when we indulge in snoozing, so “You’re short-changing yourself.”
2) Take advantage of the early morning hours
But what time do you set that alarm for?
Despite evidence that suggests the most intelligent and creative people tend to be night owls, perhaps the same can’t be said for successful people.
Successful people have a lot going on. There’s much to do and they need to get a head start.
Whilst the rest of the world is sleeping these hours can be the calmest in their busy schedule.
Even though the thought may not be appealing, some experts do argue that these can be the most productive hours of our day.
3) Visualize the day ahead and how they want it to go
Call it visualisation or simply call it getting into the zone.
It’s useful to get into the right frame of mind from the get-go.
- What do you want to achieve?
- How do you want your day to look?
- How do you want it to feel?
When we use intention to not only set the tone for the day but mindfully choose it, we start off in the right way.
I frequently do a guided meditation before getting started on my daily to-do’s. It focuses on picturing the day ahead of me, seeing myself completing tasks, and imagining how I want to feel.
One thing I’ve noticed quite clearly is that when I do it, I feel far more positive and raring to go.
Research has certainly found that visualization techniques can enhance performance, improve our cognitive processes such as memory and attention, and enhance motivation, as well as increase confidence and self-efficacy.
4) Minimize the decisions they need to make
Routines and habits can be really good for improving our efficiency.
That way, we no longer need to give certain things much thought. They happen automatically.
There’s some evidence to suggest that the mind-boggling amount of choices we have to make each and every day can quickly tire the brain out.
This phenomenon is known as decision fatigue.
As summed up by psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Maclean from the American Medical Association, it’s “the idea that after making many decisions, your ability to make more and more decisions over the course of a day becomes worse,”
Plenty of high-profile people are fans of taking action to avoid that.
It’s the reason why entrepreneurs like Elon Musk opt for the same minimalist wardrobe. That way they don’t even need to think about what to wear when they get up.
Knowing how your morning will look, what needs doing, and even the breakfast you’ll eat can help you focus your brain power where it really matters.
5) Figure out their priorities
Success is meaningless unless you know what it looks like to you and how to measure it.
For everything we say yes to, we may be required to say no to something else (and successful people are great at saying no!).
We have to know what we’re prepared to sacrifice and what matters most to us.
That requires us to understand some big picture and some small picture details.
Some big-picture factors will include:
- What exactly we are working towards
Then we’ve got to break those down into smaller chunks which translate into daily actions:
- What are the specific steps we need to take
- Which are most important right now, and which can take a back seat
Successful people know where they are heading and how best to apply themselves.
They have very clear and measurable goals to work on.
6) Be disciplined in ditching the distractions
You don’t have to rush full steam ahead if you want to be successful.
Despite what hustle culture would have us believe, there are ways to live a more balanced and fulfilling life and still be considered successful.
Having said that, successful people don’t have time to waste.
That means kicking to the curb countless distractions that want to grab our attention and steer us off course.
That’s why they’re not going to reach for their phone and open social media the second they wake up.
They don’t leisurely head to the living room to catch the morning news report or get caught up in doomscrolling.
If it’s not serving them, they stay well clear.
7) They ground themselves in mindfulness
As we’ve just said, hustle is a fast track to stress and burnout. And that’s only going to hold us back rather than push us closer towards success.
It’s why plenty of successful people make a conscious choice to start the day with awareness.
It’s been reported that TV host and author Oprah Winfrey uses meditation and morning exercise to do this.
Meanwhile, tech giant Steve Jobs liked to practice self-reflection and mindfulness every morning when he woke up in order to keep a hold of his vision.
It’s less about what you choose to do and more about the grounding effect it has on you.
For example, Barak Obama prefers to get into this zone through reading, once claiming that it helps him to “slow down and get perspective, and to get in somebody else’s shoes.”
8) They do one thing at a time
This may seem like an obvious point. But the reality is that plenty of us can fall into the habit of multitasking.
We usually have the misguided belief that it is helping us to get more done.
It’s particularly tempting for those of us who find mornings a hectic time of the day.
You might have kids you are taking care of and chores that demand your attention. The concept of self-care sounds almost laughable or an indulgence you cannot afford.
But the problem with multitasking is that it is a false economy.
We think we’re saving time but the evidence suggests it just makes us more distractible and prone to errors. It’s not only bad for productivity, but also our brain health.
Instead, we just need to focus on one thing at a time.
9) They move their body
Starting the day with some form of exercise can be powerful for several reasons.
First off, it gets the endorphins pumping which can be a great motivator. Engaging in regular exercise helps us to feel happier and healthier.
But secondly, it takes some real willpower to roll out of bed and get your ass to the gym.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be the gym. It can be a walk in the park, some morning stretches, or a short cardio routine from the comfort of your living room.
But the same idea applies. In making that conscious choice to do something constructive for your body and mind you are displaying and building discipline.
That’s undoubtedly a benefit to creating success, which demands we are tenacious in our approach.
In the words of personal development author Dan Millman:
“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.”
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