What if you could do all those tasks you never seem to have time to do, change all those habits you want to change and achieve your personal business goals for the day? What if you could do this and feel energized, motivated and inspired instead of frazzled, burned out and depressed? One of the best (and most painless) ways to actually achieve this lies in simply adjusting your morning routine.
No, it doesn’t mean adopting a whole life change, or keeping up unrealistic schedules that go south at the first intrusion of real life. I’m talking about changing the first two hours of your day before checking your email or Facebook.
Changing what you do in the first two hours out of your day may not seem like that big a deal — and the good news is, it isn’t. But you’re changing the two most important hours.
Think snowball at the top of a hill… it’s maybe about ten inches in diameter.
Start rolling it down a snow-covered hill and it picks up more and more snow, growing larger and larger.
By the time your snowball reaches the bottom of the hill, it could easily be three or four times the diameter you started with.
You didn’t spend any more time or energy packing it up with snow.
You just started it off in the right spot and momentum took over.
It tripled or quadrupled your efforts and grew all by itself.
That’s what changing the first two hours of the day can do for you. It makes you achieve better results and be left with better energy (and less stress) than if you forced yourself to rearrange every single work hour — and its effect is exponential.
So let’s take a look at how you can make this work for you.
Getting Ready for Success
Rather than leaping up and rushing through a list, think ahead and prepare to set yourself up for success.
- Set your alarm a littler earlier than usual
Do this so you will have time to really make the most of the next morning’s first two hours.
- Go to bed a little earlier.
Make sure you get enough sleep! Don’t try to get up earlier while going to bed at your “usual” time.
- Open your curtains
If you know you’re not likely to get out of bed first thing to do this, open them the night before, right before you hop under the covers.
- Drink a glass of water
Yes, I know the urge for coffee is over-powering, but just sip that glass of water first. If you hate the taste of water, try a slice of lemon or lime in it. If you don’t like water that is room temperature, make sure you’ve prepared fresh ice cubes the night before (or vice versa). If you really can’t stand water, try a quality green tea.
Don’t put sweetener or sugar in — that will defeat the purpose. In a pinch, try those flavor drops from the supermarket. But the purer you can keep your water, the better the health benefits.
- Exercise for Fifteen Minutes
If you can add even fifteen minutes of exercise to this routine, you’ll reap even more benefits.
Pick your own exercise! It doesn’t have to involve brutal aerobic workouts or running five miles a day (unless you like these things.)
WARNING: Don’t rush into heavy anaerobic activity for fifteen minutes. This type of exercise requires warm-ups and stretches before, and cool downs and stretches after.
Use aerobic exercise (cardio or stretching) if you’re limiting your exercise to fifteen minutes only.
- Fifteen-minute walk
- Set of stretches
- Fifteen minutes on an exercise bike or treadmill
- Walking around your house
- Going up and down your stairs
- Dancing to a favorite CD or show for fifteen minutes
- Catching the first fifteen minutes of your favorite fitness show
Optional: One final habit many successful and dynamic entrepreneurs have adopted…
- Start the day with a fresh Green Smoothie after your morning water.
Try a morning smoothie for even a week, and you will likely notice a positive difference very quickly. Morning smoothies (the sort you make yourself; not the sugar or fruit-juice laden ones you buy at juice bars or fast food stores) convey noticeable benefits:
- Stop heartburn
- Reduce or eliminate hunger between meals and food cravings
- Help you lose weight
- Heal your intestines
- Solve a lot of bowel problems
- Give you more energy
Try a morning smoothie—and see how quickly you’ll tick off the boxes in the list above.
How Hard is it to Make Smoothies?
It’s easy as pie.
All you need is a $39 Magic Bullet and the fresh fruit and vegetables of your choice. (Ice is nice, too!)
Add protein powder and/or plain Greek Yogurt if you are on a low-carb diet or need some extra oomph. Add a cup of fresh baby spinach, washed well. Even if you hate spinach, do this. It’s a painless way to ingest a cup of those dreaded “leafy greens”.
What happens to spinach in a smoothie is this: The spinach becomes totally neutral in taste — yet you benefit from all its vitamins.
Better yet, join the free 21-Day Green Smoothies for Breakfast Challenge.
If you’re a “breakfast skipper”, this is the perfect solution!
Just feeling healthier and having more energy will help you adopt other good habits and give you the mental sharpness you need to succeed.
Feed Your Soul
Now that the physical wake-up to your system is taken care of, don’t skip straight to Facebook or email. It’s time to nourish your soul!
Pick at least one suggestion that resonates with you the most strongly.
- Read or Listen to a Book or Podcast
Self-Help, Motivational, Inspirational, Business, or Spiritual
- Practice a Gratitude Attitude
This can be as simple as not allowing yourself to get out of bed in the morning until you’ve thought of three things you are grateful for. Try including a “Three Things I am Grateful for Today” section in a journal.
The “three things I am grateful for” habit is such an easy one to start. Not only does it take hardly any time at all, it is one of those little habits that can transform your life.
- Use Relevant Affirmations
Words have power. If affirmative statements inspire you, make it part of your two-hour morning routine.
Buy yourself a card pack with different affirmations daily. Or subscribe to a site like Goodfinding.com that will send you a daily affirmation by email.
Put your affirmation where you can see it as you work.
- Ask a Meaningful Question of the Day
Affirmations and expressions of gratitude are helpful because they remind us of what is really important.
Another way to do this is to pick a meaningful question you can ask yourself every morning (as well as throughout the day).
The late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., started his day by asking himself:
- Practice Visualization
If you are a highly-visual person, creating a dream board might be the perfect tactic for you. Make it a habit to review it every morning.
Goals should be specific and they should have a deadline. The further away a goal, the less items you should have on your dream board to represent it.
Use your dream board as a practical tool for regularly reviewing your monthly and yearly goals.
- Do Your Planning Away from the Computer
Plan your day’s most important tasks (or top three priorities) before you sit down at your computer. You’ll find ideas flow more easily if you are relaxed. For example, sitting in the garden with your coffee or snuggled up on the couch with a notebook.
- Center Yourself Internally
You can meditate or create a de-stressing, energization routine. This involves something like visualizing sailing for ten minutes or sitting in a forest listening to waterfalls.
When you do this, you automatically de-stress. What has you worried now becomes manageable. You may not know how yet, but you’re sure you’ll be able to tackle it. What you usually avoid now has you ready to face it.
- Make Family Part of Your Morning
Ashlyn Kittrell of Care2 Healthy Living recently wrote about the morning routines of 23 highly successful people, in which the habit of exercise topped all others. Second, however, came a routine that many entrepreneurs don’t even consider—including quality family time.
Virgin group founder, Richard Branson, advocates both exercise and family time in the morning at the top of his personal list.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, cites having a “healthy breakfast with family” as one of his essential morning routines.
Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, “makes coffee” for himself and his wife.
Spending twenty minutes in the morning with your family is the most priceless investment you could ever make—not just in your family, but in your own peace and well-being.
In the next post, I’ll cover 4 more things you can do to ensure you have a successful morning.
Are you already doing any of the above items? If so, you’ve already got a good start. Please share in the comments what morning activities you’re doing and enjoying.
This is Part One on the “Six Things Successful People Do Each Morning”.
Click here to read Part Two.
Hi and welcome to Virtually Done. I’m Leslie and it’s a pleasure to meet you! If you are an online entrepreneur or small business owner struggling to find enough time in your day to concentrate on the tasks you are passionate about, I can help you!
If you would like to learn more, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you!