Ask any successful person to share their best productivity secret, and most of them will tell you the same thing… If you win the morning, you win the day.
So, what is the best way to win the morning? The experts agree that the number one thing you can do is have a structured morning routine. Your routine should set you up for a day that gives you the energy, focus and attitude you need to accomplish your goals and live the life of your dreams.
I studied the morning rituals of hundreds of the world’s top-performers and found that most of them follow a similar structure. In this article, I share the top 5 recurring themes that I found among high achievers. Perhaps they’re on to something?
1. Take a Cold Shower
We know. It sounds downright miserable right?
But cold showers have a variety of documented benefits, including accelerated weight loss, reduced inflammation and increased happiness levels.
In fact, Tony Robbins starts each day with a dip in a freezing 57-degree pool. He claims that it resets his nervous system and gets him primed to start his day. Countless other gurus have also joined the cold shower and bath movement.
Good news? It turns out that you don’t have to submerge yourself in a freezing shower to get these benefits. (Phew…)
Instead, take a warm, comfortable shower, and at the end of your shower, reduce the temperature for about 60 seconds. The cold water still triggers the positive benefits without you having to experience the torture of walking into an icy waterfall unprepared.
Cold showers have psychological benefits as well. People who practice this habit daily report that they procrastinate less because they can remind themselves that any discomfort or unpleasantness is temporary, whether it’s a cold shower or a boring task.
2. Journal for 5 Minutes a Day
If we didn’t lose you with the cold shower, did we just lose you with journaling? 😉
We’re not naive, when people hear that they should journal each day, the most common objection is a lack of time or that is sounds plain silly.
Luckily, you don’t have to write pages and pages of reflections in order to get the full benefits of journaling. The purpose of writing in a journal in the morning is to create a positive mindset first thing and to maintain it throughout the day.
One of the most popular journaling tools today is The Five Minute Journal. It literally takes only a couple of minutes in the morning to do this exercise. You start by identifying three things you’re grateful for, list your top three priorities for the day and then write one or two affirmations. At night, you do a brief performance review, taking just a moment to reflect on what went well in your day and what you could have done better.
3. Get Physical
Exercise is a healthy “any time” activity, but the most positive, success-triggering effects will happen if you exercise first thing in the morning.
Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, whose client list includes Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow believes, “You can take on anything during the day and any stressors that happen. There’s so much more to working out than having a great butt or perfect abs. It has to do with our mental health, our attitude, and our ability to fight disease and stress. It’s really important.”
Think about the last time you did a workout first thing in the morning? Didn’t you feel a little bit more awesome when you started your workday?
4. Nourish Your Body
Even if you’re not a breakfast person, it’s important to provide your body with nourishment in the morning. Whether it’s a green juice, a protein-packed smoothie or a hot tea with lemon, it’s beneficial to give yourself fuel to tackle the day ahead of you.
The following recipe is a simple smoothie consisting of mostly greens and a hint of fruit.
1 ½ cups spinach
1 ½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup chopped beets
¾ cup chopped cucumber
1 tablespoon flaxseed
Juice of 1 lemon
And remember, avoid heavy foods and simple carbohydrates to prevent fatigue as the day progresses.
5. Make Your Bed
(You knew we had to throw that one in here right?)
Bestselling author, Tim Ferris, is a proponent of making your bed first thing in the morning. He says, “In a world full of unpredictable and uncontrollable variables, you can start your day with a tiny win. And, you can also come back to something you accomplished at the tail end of the day.”
Countless success gurus as well as the highest-ranking military officials have echoed this sentiment. Retired Navy Admiral, William McCraven, is often quoted from a commencement speech that he gave at the University of Texas at Austin.
It goes like this, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.”
(Of course, with Primary Goods' bedding, you don't really have to "make" your bed!)
The basic strategy behind making your bed each morning is to accomplish something tangible. Achieving this small win gives you momentum. It gives you a positive start. If the next item on your agenda is to take over the world, you’re much better prepared now that you’ve made your bed.