The Secrets of the Successful: The Best Morning Routine to Effect a Fruitful Day
It’s easy to wonder how successful and wealthy people thrive and stay on top of their games. It’s not uncommon to hear that successful personalities like Oprah Winfrey credit their productivity to having the best morning routine. By taking advantage of their mornings, they gain control of their lives.
You wonder and then wander into the idea of wanting the same for yourself. Perhaps, with a bit more ambition, I too could change the world!
Everyone dreams of doing something meaningful. What do successful people do that the rest of us don’t? What is the secret to this morning routine?
What Is a Morning Routine, and Why Is it Important?
Benjamin Spall, co-author of the book My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, defines a morning routine as “consciously choosing to bring activities into your morning.” The activities can include early-morning workouts, meditation, or creative and productive work.
In the book, he and his co-author Michael Xander emphasize that “your mornings are a blank slate, an opportunity to start again. Even if your first action upon waking is simply going to the bathroom, this forms the beginning of a habit stack—a series of linked actions.”
They add, “waking up triggers you to go to the bathroom, which triggers you to brush your teeth, which triggers you to put on your workout clothes, sit down to meditate, or put the kettle on to begin brewing your favorite cup of tea or coffee.”
Laura Vanderkam, the author of What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, explains on her blog that mornings are a great time to do things that matter to you. The day is fresh and new, and we bring an optimistic attitude toward our lives in the morning.
Seizing this window of optimism allows us to work towards goals and self-improvement.
To put it simply, a morning routine is a practice of performing a deliberate set of activities. By consistently giving our days this foundation, we’re enabled to achieve short-term and long-term goals.
But, What if You’re Not a Morning Person?
What if your favorite thing to do in the morning is to hit snooze…again, and again, and again? Successful people start their day very early–some at six, seven, or some even at the crack of dawn! So, you ask, where is the hope for me?
Spall says that later risers shouldn’t feel pressured into “becoming” an early bird. One isn’t better than the other; the most important thing is knowing what works for you. Then, when you figure out when you’re most productive, the rest will fall into place.
How Do I Craft My Own Best Morning Routine?
It can be hard to get out of bed and face the day if your morning routine consists of drinking a few sips of coffee and jumping right into a ten hour day of work.
There are so many different types of morning rituals, and everyone can have their own version of it. Again, the key is finding what’s best for you.
First of all, consider how certain activities make you feel; what is the fruit of a certain passtime?
Rachel Kable of “The Mindful Mind” podcast suggests looking closely at the effects of various activities, and choosing ones that spark peace, joy, and enthusiasm. Part of her morning routine is looking at the plants in her home.
“I find it so calming and peaceful to go around to each plant, check the soil, look for new leaves and just admire and appreciate them. I know it might sound strange, but this is a part of my morning routine that genuinely leaves me feeling excited and joyful.”
Kable additionally meditates in the morning, as this pulls in the reins on her monkey mind. Rather than jumping around to everything she has to do during the day, a short five minute meditation channels her thoughts in a peaceful, calm direction.
This isn’t to say we all need to meditate and look at plants first thing, but rather that the best morning routine incorporates activities that bring peace, calm, enthusiasm and joy. For some, this can be a short walk, for others, reading a few pages of a fiction novel, and for others working on a painting or creative project brings a rejuvenating spirit to the day.
When you’re starting your day with something that sparks joy and vigor, waking up becomes something you genuinely look forward to!
How Do Influential People Craft Morning Routines?
There really is nothing like learning from the best and the brightest. What is the secret sauce that’s enabled their lives to flourish?
According to Laura Vanderkam‘s book, most influential people use their mornings to nurture one of these three fundamental aspects of their life: career, family, and self.
Let’s look at how some highly successful people have crafted their morning routines around each of these.
Additionally, we’ll consider a formula that encompasses all the characteristics of a powerful morning routine.
Perhaps you’ll find something here to inspire you!
Here are some successful professionals who practice a morning routine that allows them to bring their best to their careers.
Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert known for its white-collar satirical humor, says he has trained himself to enjoy the mornings. Ten minutes after waking, he is usually at his desk in his home office enjoying a protein bar and coffee. This “treat” (as he calls it) is an incentive to wake up and be productive. He spends his morning getting abreast of business and technology-related news. He follows this same routine, step by step, every day, including weekends and holidays.
Kevin O’Leary, a.k.a. Mr. Wonderful, the chairman of O’Leary Financial and an investor on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning “Shark Tank,” uses his mornings to sharpen his knowledge of business and markets. He wakes up just before six and immediately checks the Asian and European bond markets. While exercising on his elliptical, he watches the news, then reads even more business and technology over breakfast. Finally, at half past nine, he arrives at his office.
Mike Fishbein, a self-published author and a content marketing expert, uses his mornings to cultivate a creative headspace. He wakes up to music at six am, meditates for thirty minutes, and writes down his “ten ideas,” then journals at seven. At this point, he is primed. He works on blog posts and books for the rest of the morning, where he writes his most creative work of the day.
If you are a night owl like Cheryl Bachelder, the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, perhaps you’ll be inspired by her morning routine. Listening to a playlist through her morning puts her into the right frame of mind for the day. Breakfast and coffee are morning essentials. Reading and reflecting play the central part of her morning routine. Morning is also the best time for writing on her blog, where she writes mostly about leadership topics.
Many successful people spend their mornings on what matters most… giving their time and best to family members and friends.
Marie Kondo, known for her KonMari method and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, freshens and purifies her home first thing by opening the windows and burning incense. She then drinks water, herbal tea, and sometimes does yoga while her husband cooks breakfast. After eating, they pray before their home shrine to give thanks and imagine good things coming into their day.
Amanda Hesser, the CEO of Food52 and cookbook author, wakes up just before seven. She energizes her brain by reading news on her phone and drinking a large glass of water. Then she makes her kids’ lunches, does yoga and takes a hot shower.
The first thing Andrew Yang, CEO and founder of Venture for America, does in the morning is push his dog off of him. He then types three things he is grateful for into a memo file on his phone. Next, Andrew spends time with his son, as most nights his son is asleep by the time Yang returns home. Finally, he hits the gym.
Lastly, we have Danielle Snyder, Co-founder and creative director of DANNIJO Jewelry, known for its statement jewelry, tie-dye silk slips, and resort-leisure RTWs. She drinks a cup of coffee with steamed vanilla almond milk, then heads out for a boxing or pilates session. Afterwards, she has breakfast with her sister, who is also her business partner. The two discuss business over coffee and eggs.
For some, exercise and spiritual and creative practices form the backbone of their morning routine.
In a 2018 Harper’s Bazaar interview, Oprah Winfrey shared that she walks her dogs first thing in the morning. She then drinks a special coffee mix of caffeinated and decaffeinated espresso with milk and a little hazelnut. Her morning spiritual exercises include meditating, reading some thoughtfully chosen quotes from her 365 Gathered Truths box, and reflecting on Sufism wisdom.
Wende Zomnir, Co-founder and chief creative officer of Urban Decay Cosmetics, says she couldn’t function without morning exercise. Physical exertion in the morning calms her, and gives her focus and determination. Plus, being physically fit allows her to come into work with confidence.
Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution, regularly sleeps for eight hours every night. She doesn’t need an alarm to wake herself up. She begins her day with morning meditation, where she expresses gratitude and sets her intention for the day. After this, she works out on her stationary bike and does yoga stretches.
The author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport, begins his morning at just past six. He drinks a glass of water and takes his dog for a walk. While walking, Newport listens to audiobooks and does pull-ups at the local playground. On returning, he takes a quick shower. He then takes charge of his two boys and performs housework and family tasks.
What are the Components of the Best Morning Routine?
What is central to the morning routine of all these successful individuals?
In his book The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod shares an effective step-by-step process to transform your life, starting from the moment you wake up. He developed this process after studying the personal development practices and habits of successful millionaires, billionaires, athletes, and CEOs.
Elrod’s process is based around SAVERS, or Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. Practicing his steps cultivates a fruitful morning ritual that brings about the successful life you want.
According to Elrod, “setting a morning routine sets the tone, context, and direction for the rest of the day.”
Here are the steps to SAVERS:
- Silence — Meditation and prayer are essential. He recommends avoiding the phone, screens, news, coffee, and the usual modern things that rob you of a calm and quiet mind. Rather, allow “the wisdom of God or higher consciousness or your own infinite intelligence to rise to the surface.”
- Affirmations — Repeated affirmations, nurtured in the subconscious mind, can reprogram you to believe that success is guaranteed. Affirmation triggers thoughts and actions key to manifesting your dreams.
Elrod claims this to be the most essential part of a morning routine. According to him, affirmations must be based on three guidelines. First, affirm what you are committed to in a “no matter what, no other option” manner. Then, affirm why it is crucial and meaningful to do so. Lastly, affirm the specific actions you need to achieve and specify when.
- Visualization —According to Elrod, visualization has two parts: visualizing the end goal and the steps and actions you must take to get there. Visualization has been practiced by successful individuals like Jim Carrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, and countless others.
- Exercise — Exercise benefits the mind and body in so many ways. Elrod’s advice is to do simple stretching or similar forms of movement to pump up your blood.
- Reading —Taking in a few pages of a self-help or inspirational book in the morning allows you to learn something new. A study shows that reading can improve your social, mental, emotional, and psychological well-being.
- Scribing — Writing is the final step to Elrod’s morning routine. Elrod writes down three things he is grateful for, his to-do list of ten items, and the top three activities that will positively impact his life.
What’s Your Pleasure?
The Dalai Lama said, “just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
A morning routine is an excellent tool to jumpstart your day and give you the enthusiasm and energy to realize your goals. Many successful individuals vouch for its effectiveness in helping them craft the lives they have now.
What activities do you include in your morning in order to effect a positive outlook on your day?
You have the freedom to craft a morning routine that works for you. The principles of SAVERS and a focus on self, career, and family provide a solid foundation from which to craft this life-changing practice.
The future is yours!