Successful people have habits that start before breakfast. For many, the innate call to “do” things gets them up. Others are taught these habits by observing. For today, I use “we” to describe those of us who have figured out the special sauce of success as it relates to waking patterns.
We all start with the premise that a successful life is an active one, where we achieve more than we thought we could.
We all conclude that we need a head start. To have a successful life, we set aside the first hours of the day to invest in top priorities before other people’s priorities take over our priorities.
Lastly, we innately have discovered that willpower is like a muscle that becomes fatigued from overuse. Diets come undone in the evening, as does our desire to reach our goals. We are not immune to poor self-control lapses in decision-making that come later in the day. Instead, we tackle life, before the willpower drops. We have discovered that early mornings offer a fresh supply of willpower, and we are more optimistic in the morning, and we feel more ready to tackle challenging tasks and bucket list items.
We treat our early morning time like investing in a 401K…incremental deposits make us wealthy, but only if done over time. We can stop making deposits at any time; however, the net worth stops growing.
Here are a couple mission critical habits.
- We drink water in the am, not coffee. Water rehydrates us and it kick starts our metabolism. Coffee only wakes us up. I used to have a couple of cups of tea, every day, whether I “needed” them or not. Now, water is my go to, and the quality of my mornings reflect this.
- We work out, and we work out hard! Later in the day, after stress has taken our energy reserves, we lack the ability to train hard enough to develop strength, endurance and speed the way we would like. The am workout is a now-or-never strategy for us. Sure, sometimes I have to do a run at the end of the day. However, that run won’t ever set a PR, nor will it be a part of achieving a PR.
- We work on our most important business projects when our brain is fresh. We have discovered that we can get away with putting people and their demands off first thing in the am. We can’t do that after the world is at work.
- We work on personal passion projects…we write books, study scripture, make art, etc. Our brains are not drained, nor are our bodies. We respect that night owls are out there, and most of us have probably tried to respectfully attempt to become night owls only to discover that we end up like everyone else.
- We spend quality time with family. I cook a hot breakfast for my kids 9 days out of 10. Why? Because if I don’t do it at breakfast, I don’t do it consistently. Being an inconsistent parent, present in the home only when work lets us, is an embarrassing side effect of failure to plan.
- I connect with my wife. Nuff said.
- I network with people. Afternoon coffee and meetings are often interrupted with other people’s priorities.
- We pray and meditate. We listen to God, as best as we can, and we clear our minds. It keeps us centered. We know that between 8 and whatever time we stop work, we are uncentered.
- We journal and write down things that we are grateful for. We have discovered that noting our gratitude creates a positive attitude. We are also keenly aware that when we encounter someone with a bad attitude that they are not in touch with what they should be grateful for.
- We plan and strategize, without interruption from phone calls, text messaging and people walking in wanting to know what time it is.
- We write our lengthy emails and respond to the thoughtful questions that come our way.
- We read the news. It gives us something to talk about. We do this last, before beginning our traditional day activities like driving and starting with others in the office
If only one person reads this, ponders it, and becomes an authority of their own morning, then it is worth it. If you already have figured this out and have item #13 to add to the list, please do so.