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12 Things You Didn’t Know Successful People Do Before Breakfast

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12 Things You Didn’t Know Successful People Do Before Breakfast

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.

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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:

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  • 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.

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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!

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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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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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