From working out to reading the news and meditating, your early morning hours are sacred time that can, and should, be spent doing things for yourself. Because once the workday begins, you hit the grind and by the end of the day, who knows if you’ll have any time for yourself.
A majority of highly successful business executives, entrepreneurs, and celebrities wake up early so that they can make the most out of every minute of their day — especially their mornings. And most use this quiet time to prepare for the day ahead, get in the right mindset, and set a positive and productive tone for the day. So, instead of hitting that snooze button, it’s time to take back your mornings.
To learn how, here are eight morning habits you should cultivate to be successful.
1. Wake up early
If you’re not a “morning person,” you may want to become one. Because to most successful people, time is precious, so the more time you can squeeze out of your day, the better. According to one study, 90 percent of executives say they wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays and in another study, 50 percent of self-made millionaires say they wake up three hours before their workdays even begin.
These numbers stand true too. Just take a look at some of today’s most successful people: Apple’s Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m. every morning, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi wakes up at 4 a.m., and Starbucks exec Howard Schultz gets up at 4:30 a.m.
2. Make your bed
Making your bed every morning provides a sense of accomplishment and sets a positive tone for the day. In his commencement speech at the University of Texas, retired U.S. Navy Admiral Seal and author of Make Your Bed: Little Things Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World William H. McCraven explains the importance of making your bed every morning.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” he says. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
3. Eat breakfast
It’s often said that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and it turns out, there’s evidence to prove it. According to research, children who eat breakfast perform better in school. And the same is true for adults. In another study, researchers uncovered the importance that a morning’s meal has on both children and adults, improving cognitive abilities and providing sufficient energy to help you throughout the day. Eating breakfast has been linked to heightened focus and job performance.
Getting an early morning workout won’t only benefit your health, but it will help to set a positive and motivational tone for your day. Research shows that morning exercise reduces stress and increases motivation.
Not only that but highly successful people are typically very busy, which is why the morning is the best time to do things for yourself because once your day begins, who knows whether or not you’ll have the time to hit the gym after work. “Morning workouts tend to be completed by those who prefer to check exercise off their list for the day before the rest of the daily to-do’s, children’s needs, busy gym, or decrease in motivation hit them,” senior exercise physiologist at New York University’s performance lab Heather Milton told NBC News.
5. “Eat your frog”
In the words of Mark Twain, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In other words, tackle your most difficult task of the day in the morning when your energy is at its peak. That way, when you get into the office, you won’t have to worry about that major project or deadline taking up your time and energy because you’ve already completed it.
6. Practice mindfulness
A quick meditation session is one of the top morning habits of highly successful people, and just ten minutes of mindfulness each morning will help start your day off on the right foot. A Harvard study found that meditation can help decrease stress and anxieties, which in turn helps to improve attention, sleep better, make smarter choices, and regulate thoughts.
Just take a look at some of today’s most successful celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington. Winfrey has shared that she tries to consistently meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening; for Winfrey, meditation is about getting in tune with your mind and your body. The same is true for Arianna Huffington who swears by a quick meditation session in the A.M.
7. Dress simply
Going to great lengths every morning just to figure out what to wear can become a great burden on your time. And as a highly successful person, you don’t have time to spare standing in front of your closet. Famous techies Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg developed their own strategies for automating this morning process by wearing the same thing every day — completely eliminating the need to make this trivial early morning decision.
While that doesn’t mean you need to empty out your closet and replace your clothes with black turtlenecks and blue jeans, there is a lesson to be learned: dress simply. By simplifying your wardrobe with neutral clothes and basics, it will become much easier to color coordinate and mix and match outfits in the morning.
8. Read the news
It’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world. That’s why a number of highly successful people make reading the news an integral part of their morning routines. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Howard Schultz, and Richard Branson all admit to waking up early and reading the news. Because, how can you change the world if you don’t know what’s going on in it?