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7 Ways Experts Ensure a World-Class Morning Routine

7 Ways Experts Ensure a World-Class Morning Routine

Morning routines of the world’s most successful people have been studied time and time again, as if it is the secret blueprint to all wealth and happiness one could ever want. While those are high shooting ambitions, it can certainly be attributed that morning routines have an insanely high impact on our functionality throughout the day. Starting the day off right, whatever that may be for you, is going to be the difference between yelling in traffic or dancing to the new Beyonce jam playing on the radio.

I am not one to know, but I can imagine even Beyonce has a systematic approach to her mornings.

Morning routines have been highlighted for good reason. With a simple search on Google, tips and tricks can be found all across the web. Unfortunately, they are tips and tricks for someone else, and it leaves you wondering what works for you, testing various strategies and ultimately going back to the alarm hammering mornings we know so well from Hollywood movies.

There is indeed one takeaway worth capturing, though; a universal trait. Something applicable to the stars, the hard working college student, or anyone, really. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do in the morning, or what you do in the day. This is the one thing that is present in the lives of everyone kicking butt in their day.

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They start the day in control.

There is no perfect habit, as each individual has a different makeup, different sciences, and different experiences that have shaped us.

We all know this. This is nothing new.

So how do you find what might work for you?

We have established that the world’s most successful leaders start each day in control. But for those who are curious, this is because to start the day in a hurry or on your phone is on another person’s terms. Reading a text, flipping through sports, being late, or starting rushed means all of your first movements are at someone else’s beck and call. Your mind is not calm, and you have hardly laid a foundation for yourself.

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We can all try to be Superman or Superwoman, but nobody is the exception. Protect your morning; fight the notifications or the urge to sleep late.

Based on research from some of the world’s top leaders, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Ferriss, Ezra Klein, and much more, these are the seven most critical items you can add to your morning routine.

1. Wake up early

World leaders say it helps you accomplish what you want before the world gets going. There is always a distraction in the evening, but you can own your morning.

2. Sleep with your phone on airplane mode

Texts, news alerts, sports updates, and emails are draining and start your day on someone else’s time. Shutting things off lets you be in control of your day.

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3. Meditate

Many executives cannot go without meditation as it grants focus, control, and poise for the entire day.

4. Read

The morning is when we are most focused. Executives everywhere see this as their chance to hone some skills and always continue growing.

5. Go to the Gym

Exercising, whether you go to the gym or work out at home, releases endorphins, keeps you healthy, and gives you engergy, guaranteeing a good start to the day.

6. Take a Cold Shower

Experts say this chilling experience will help you start your day feeling like a champion. Additionally, there are many benefits to going cold.

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7. Write

Authors and influencers say this is their only time to capture their purest thoughts of the day.

If you are curious how you can fit all of this in before work at 9:00 AM, remember that you don’t have to do all of them. Pick one, two, or as many as you want, but give it a try!

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Andrew Frawley

Runs Content & Growth at SherpaDesk

morning-routine-cup-of-coffee 7 Ways Experts Ensure a World-Class Morning Routine

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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