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There’s no understating the importance of a morning routine for any high-performance individual. Many believe that how your morning starts off sets the tone for the rest of the day. While it’s not guaranteed that your day is ruined if your alarm fails to go off and therefore you miss your standard routine, what high-performance people are onto in valuing a morning routine is simply a time of the day to put themselves first, get clear on what needs to be done and re-center.
There’s no one magical routine that works for everyone. Rather, it’s a highly individualized process to determine what works best for you and gets your day off on the best possible start. Learning from the morning routine staples of other highly successful entrepreneurs can be a good starting point in hand-picking the routines that will work best for you. Try these out and see for yourself.
Related: 14 of the Best Morning Routine Hacks Proven to Boost Productivity
1. Start early
Morning routines are best done when you aren’t rushed before your first meeting, and so many entrepreneurs choose to rise before even the sun. One of these entrepreneurs is Richard Branson, who once blogged about how wherever he is in the world, he tries to wake up around 5:00 a.m.: “By rising early, I’m able to do some exercise and spend time with my family, which puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.
2. Begin with exercise
Branson isn’t the only high performer who squeezes a bout of exercise into their morning routine. One study shared in the Daily Beast found that just 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise had an equal energizing effect to a cup of coffee, and this had an effect on the researcher’s cognitive performance, too. There are many successful entrepreneurs who abide by this: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz bikes first thing in the morning, and Gary Vaynerchuk sees his personal trainer before anything else.
3. Reflect on gratitude
To have your best chance at a day of mental well-being and happiness, take a note from the research and spend some time in gratitude. Happify Daily shared research from UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, that concluded, “Simply keeping a gratitude journal — regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful — can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.”
Tony Robbins ardently believes in using this gratitude to “prime” the rest of the day. If you can’t have some time for gratitude in the morning, at night is fine, too. Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof, shared with Thrive Global that he has a nighttime gratitude routine with his children, where they each share three things that they’re grateful for.
4. Get in the right headspace with your goals
Mornings are also the perfect time to reorient in your goals, because your mind is still waking up and is therefore more impressionable than usual. Colin Yurcisin is a seven-figure entrepreneur who has created a Morning Routine Movement (known as #MRM on Instagram) that is helping his audience of thousands. The process? He begins by using affirmations that are phrased as if the goal has already happened, like, “Use ‘I am’ rather than ‘I am going to’ or ‘I will.'”
After that, Yurcisin writes a love letter to money. Through this exercise, address money like you would to someone you love, and praise it. And, of course, reflect upon gratitude. The best part about #MRM is that it seems to be working — not just for Yurcisin, but for the hundreds of others who have joined the movement. Yurcisin has logged many success stories of his own and has received many affirmative anecdotes from others about this process, but the most memorable is someone who had their first five-figure day after they had committed to this morning routine for a while.
Related: 22 Guaranteed Ways to Wake Up Early and Energized
5. Once you choose your routine, stick to it
Whichever of these routines you adopt, it could serve you to follow it to a T on a daily basis. Scott Adams, the creator of the cartoon Dilbert, shared with Business Insider that he follows the very same routine every single morning, down to his coffee and protein bar.
“Creativity is not something you can summon on command. The best you can do is set an attractive trap and wait. My mornings are the trap,” he wrote. “I wait for the ideas to arrive at their leisure, like a hunter in a duck blind. And in order for the trap to work, I exercise tight control over my physical environment.”
His notion is that by putting your body on autopilot, your mind can roam free without distractions, which leads to better work and better creativity. Autopilot also means restricting choices, which other greats such as Barack Obama and Steve Jobs have mimicked by minimizing their number of outfit choices, underscoring how the best reason to stick with a morning routine is simply because of how well it can serve you, your goals and your performance.