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Last Updated on August 2, 2018

The Ultimate Morning Routine for Success of Highly Successful People

The Ultimate Morning Routine for Success of Highly Successful People

You know what makes highly successful people less stressed, happier and more productive? They know that their personal priorities are worth more than other people’s priorities.

Upon waking up, these significantly successful professionals don’t immediately check their email – they make it a point to claim the early hours of the day as their “me” time.

After all, these extraordinary people believe that if their priority needs to be done, then it has to be done first. 

What do highly successful entrepreneurs and executives do upon waking up in the morning? Let’s learn from this morning routine for success:

1. Wake up really early

Surely you know that time is an invaluable asset. Highly successful people take it up a notch by waking up at 5:30 am, 4:30 am and even 4:00 am.

Not only will they have more control in their early hours, they’ll also have more opportunities to do things that matter to them. 

Start with waking up 15 minutes earlier than your usual time. Then, gradually adjust.

2. Burn your calories

We don’t mean just the intense exercise regimen – you can simply do yoga, like Christies CEO Steve Murphy does.

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Exercise will not just make you think clearer, be healthier and scientifically happier, it allows you to combat stress as well.

Make time for exercise. An hour-long routine seems too daunting, so try running, dancing or even walking around the neighborhood for at least ten minutes.

3. Do an “Hour of Power”

Motivation doesn’t last forever, so you need to replenish yours regularly.

Highly successful people know this, so they dedicate ample time to increase their supply. You’re more likely to continue accomplishing a task once you’re emotionally invested in it, right?

Spend thirty minutes listening to inspirational anecdotes and empowering quotes.

4. Jot down on your gratitude journal

Happiness is about wanting the things that you already have. By enumerating the blessings they’re grateful for, highly successful people become more open to optimism and inspiration and improve their outlook in life.

Everyday, write down at least one thing that you’re thankful for. Learn to count the small wins.

5. Ask yourself one important question

“If today was the last day of your life, would you still want to do what you’re about to do today?”

This hard-hitting question gets you right where it wants you.

If you find yourself saying “no” several times in a week, then go out there and change something.

You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to do it the next time.

6. Eat that frog first

It is a concept suggested by Brian Tracy, a great author for the book Eat That Frog.

In the morning, the willpower of highly successful people is fresh and ready to go. So, this is the best time to take advantage of it – do your hardest task, your “frog” first.

This way, you’re more likely to get it done and you’re more likely to finish it without other people barging in on you.

Choose your “frog” of the day – only one – and stick to completing it before you even get to eat breakfast.

7. Connect with your partner

Use your morning hours to reconnect with your partner. Talk about your plans, your finances and even your beloved hobbies as a way to always be present in their lives.

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In the morning, highly successful people know that they’ll have more energy and more focus so making this a ritual is paramount.

You can even set up one day of the week as your “breakfast date”. Go to the nearest cafe for breakfast or run around the neighborhood with your partner. It may do wonders for your relationship.

8. Plan and strategize

If you don’t take a few minutes of your time to map out the direction of your day, how will you know if you’re headed towards the right direction?

Take at least 10 minutes of your day to visualize your life goals, review your tasks for the day and allot schedules for breaks.

It’ll help your day be more manageable and less stressful.

9. Meditate and clear your mind

Keep calm and let your inner peace guide you:

Spend a few minutes to say a prayer or to meditate to keep you relaxed.

Remember, 90% of illnesses are stress-related, so forget the rush, don’t dash and enjoy a few “hush” moments with yourself.

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Focus on your breathing. You may even recite an empowering mantra during your routine.

Here’s a 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

10. Cuddle and bond with your kids

If you have children, this is for you. Don’t be that parent who says, “Oh, my son/daughter grew so fast! I barely had time to enjoy with her/him.”

In the morning, when there is less clutter in your mind and less stress in your system, make it a point to help them get dressed, cook a hearty breakfast (or bake a batch of cookies) and even talk to them about their dreams.

After all, you’re working so that your family will have a better time. Don’t let work get in the way of family – make time for your priorities.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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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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