Defining success isn’t as simple as looking it up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. While success is most often viewed as fame, fortune, and power, not everyone shares this viewpoint.
You see, most people have their own definition of success.
Jeremy Young, CEO of Tanga, believes that:
“Success, for me, has always been in providing a great quality of life for my family, for those who work for me, and to my community.”
The CEO of Hint Water, Kara Goldin, says:
“My definition of success is knowing that what you are doing is helping you and others lead a better, happier, healthier life.”
My definition is along the lines of Kara’s. I believe that success means living a healthy, happy life doing the things you love and surrounding yourself with people who care about you.
One of the many things I happen to love is helping others. I could shout how much I love helping others until I’m blue in the face, but talk is cheap. Action is power.
That’s why today I want to talk about crafting a morning routine that helps you achieve your version of success.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m all about making things simple. Starting your mornings off with a routine uniquely crafted for you is an easy, highly effective way to set yourself up for a successful life.
How to Develop a Killer Morning Routine And Own The Day
The first hour of your morning is the most critical.
The way you begin your day is directly related to how the rest of it pans out. Period. Multiply that by 365 and you’ve got a pretty good idea of how your entire year will be.
Imagine a day, perhaps recently, that you were in a rush heading to work. The night before you had every intention of waking early, maybe hitting the gym, stretching, making breakfast, reading a book, whatever to help you get going for the day.
Instead, the alarm goes off at 6am and you think “forget it, I’ll snooze for another 10 minutes”. Then another 10. And another…and another. Until eventually you wake up at 8am, shower (maybe), and frantically dart out the door to make to work.
Sound familiar? I’d be willing to bet almost everyone has done this at some point in their lives. However, for many, this is how they live every single day.
When this happens to me, I’ll be honest – I feel like crap. My anxiety spikes and my whole mentality is thrown off. I’m miserable and lucky to get one thing I wanted to do done that day.
In a world where 99% of people wake up and let their day dictate itself, it’s actually pretty easy to become the other 1%. It’s as simple as waking up, focusing on yourself, and taking control of your day before it takes control of you.
The first hour of the day is so important because it sets the tone for the remaining 23 hours.
Now, what if you sucked it up, worked on building better habits, and started waking up a little earlier each morning to do something for yourself? I guarantee that, if practiced over time, you will notice an astronomical difference in your state of mind, happiness, and productivity.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to at least try this whole morning routine thing. As you start to think about what you would do with your morning time, know this:
Not everyone should have the same morning routine.
It might be tempting to look up Tony Robbins’ or LeBron James’ morning rituals and try to mimic them, but you are not those guys. We are all unique individuals with different triggers and values, which is what makes this so awesome. Everyone thrives off different things. Things that make us happy and get us going for the day.
Knowing how to structure and choose activities for your morning routine is somewhat of an art, and it starts with:
Identifying what’s important to you.
In the quest to crafting the ideal morning routine, knowing yourself is king. The best place to start is by going back to your definition of success and your values.
You know my version of success, and my values align almost perfectly it. The most important to me are health, playfulness, and growth.
By knowing myself and what’s important to me, I can construct a routine that works best for me.
You can do the same.
My routine wasn’t something that just magically came together all at once.
It was the product of trial and error, and it continues to evolve as my goals and priorities change. When I try something new and it works for me, I include it going forward. Simple as that.
Now is probably a good time to tell you that I’m actually not a morning person. I’ve tried to be, but I haven’t been able to make it work for me – and that’s OK.
My message is more about what you do after waking up rather than when you wake.
It’s also important to know that you don’t need to use the full hour. I don’t. If you do, then great. That’s awesome. I only need about 20 minutes or so to get myself in the right frame of mind to tackle the day, and this will vary from person to person.
To give you an idea of how I spend my mornings, here is my morning routine:
1. I wake up, usually go to the bathroom, then fill up a large glass of water with Athletic Greens and drink it. This hydrates me after a good night’s sleep and replenishes my body with key nutrients for optimal health.
2. After that, I practice mindfulness by either meditating for a few minutes or doing some deep breathing. As a historically anxious person, this helps me to focus my thoughts and calm my nerves.
3. Next, I’ll do some combination of stretching, yoga, and body weight exercises (pushups, air squats, etc.). I recently injured my lower back, so I’m focusing more on taking care of my body. This does that and gets my blood flowing for the day.
4. Then I practice gratitude by writing in a gratitude journal. This is something I’ve been doing lately to help me focus on the positive. Inadvertently, it also boosts my productivity, which is why I immediately move onto the next thing…
5. Writing down my three Mission Critical Tasks (MCTs). With my mind in a positive mindset, I feel motivated to get stuff done. I write down the most important things I need to do that day and work on getting them done first.
That’s the core of my morning routine. After that, I’ll typically brew some coffee, sometimes watch an inspiring TED talk, then get to work on my MCTs. I try not to check my phone or email, except for the time, until I get my MCTs done.
Crafting your morning routine.
In summary, the mornings are the time to become the 1% of the world – the top performers that make success look easy. Creating and following your ideal morning routine lays the foundation for achieving similar success.
The tl;dr version of crafting a killer morning routine is as follows:
1. Know yourself and what’s important to you.
2. Identify the activities you can do to support this. Check out my morning routine and others to find out what they are doing. Don’t copy them, just get ideas from them.
3. Allow yourself the time after waking to try those activities, making sure they are focused on you.
4. If something sticks, then keep doing it. If not, ditch it and try something else. Don’t try to force something just because Richard Branson does it. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.
5. Lastly, don’t forget that your morning routine will evolve over time. Accept this and embrace it.
Don’t fall victim to being controlled by your day. Take the reigns and enjoy your rise to the top.
Photo credit: Unsplash.com