The “Golden Hour”

Successful people often talk about the “Golden Hour”, which is the first hour after you wake up in the morning. According to this article from the National Institutes of Health, while we are asleep, our brains are hard at work de-cluttering and detoxifying themselves. This means that our brains are at their best right after we wake up, when they’re squeaky-clean from the night’s mental hygiene activities. Successful people have discovered that the “Golden Hour” is the best time of day to prepare ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually for the upcoming day.

The 21-Day Mental Diet

Technically I’m not “successful” yet…but I figured, if I ACT like a successful person, sooner or later I’ll BE a successful person, and in the meantime, I’ll FEEL like a successful person. Which, since none of these practices cost anything except some discipline and a couple hours of sleep, is pretty much a win-win, if you ask me.

It was while I was looking up “how successful people think” that I stumbled onto Brian Tracy’s 21-Day Mental Diet. And guess what? It includes several of the practices mentioned in articles on what successful people do before breakfast. Imagine that! I am currently on day seven of this mental diet, and let me tell you, doing these has really brought a new sense of focus and productivity to my days — which is a tough thing to do when one doesn’t have regular office hours.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you do on this mental diet:

1. Wake up early – Most top executives get up in the morning at 6:00 AM — at the latest! I get up around 5:00 AM most days.
2. Exercise –  While Brian Tracy suggests doing any physical exercise before mental exercise, I usually have to wait until later in the day to do any physical exercise because of schedule limitations.
3. Read motivational, inspirational or educational material for 30-60 minutes. Personally, I love the Abraham-Hicks material, which really gets my mind and spirit soaring for the day. Other favorites include the books by Wallace D. Wattles, (The Science of Getting Rich) or any of the other New Thought authors. There is a tremendous wealth of free reading material available in the public domain. If you like audio books, look to librivox.org, or for visual reading, check out this New Thought online reading list.
4. Write down your top 10-15 life goals. There is tremendous power in the act of writing, so yes, actually get out a pen and a notebook (What are those?) and physically write these down. Really. Just thinking about it doesn’t cut it. Use first-person, present-tense language: “I am making ___ dollars a year; I weigh ___ pounds; I drive a ___ car, I have ___ friends”, and so on. And don’t look back at your goals from the day before. By the way, this is a LOT of fun!
5. Write down everything you need to do that day. Again, yes, use a real pen and a notebook. Seriously. Organize this list according to priority, starting with the one thing you most want to get done that day.
6. Begin immediately to work on the biggest, most important task of the day. If you can finish this project while your mind is still fresh, it won’t loom over you and worry you for the rest of the day.

Throughout the day, but not necessarily before breakfast:

  • Listen to educational audio programs while driving
  • Pick up the pace between activities

Other Things That Successful People Do Before Breakfast

These are practices that aren’t part of Brian Tracy’s 21-Day Mental Diet, but are part of the morning routine of many successful people:

7. Write down things they’re grateful for. This is a favorite of mine. Two years ago, I started writing a “Daily Ten” of things that I was thankful for, liked, made me smile and so on.

8. Meditate. Another personal favorite, and if I can’t squeeze it in before breakfast, I do my best to fit it in another time during the day.

9. Work on a personal passion project. It is very easy to let what we love slip to the last item on our priority list, where it gets put off…and put off…and put off. I know — I never seem to get around to practicing violin!

10. Spend quality time with family/connect with spouses. My husband and I usually sit and talk over our plans for the day over morning coffee while we’re petting the dogs.

11. Network with coworkers, clients, or friends over coffee.  Early morning or breakfast meetings tend to be more productive in the mornings–because guess what? Everyone else’s brain is clearer, too!

12. Read the news. Find out the problems in the world so that we can figure out ways to solve them!

Featured photo credit: Elle est de retour!/Francois Meehan via photopin.com

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