Set Yourself up for Success – Start an Early Morning Routine!
The Most Effective Way Of How To Plan Your Day For Success Is To Start An Early Morning Routine. This Will Provide Immediate Momentum And Motivation To Conquer The Rest Of The Day And Be The Best Leader You Can.
Imagine every morning having the time to think about and focus on your goals and the kind of leader you want to be. Before most people’s alarms have sounded, you’ll have already conquered the snooze button, meditated for 15 minutes and journaled your thoughts – small victories that affect the rest of your day; you will be proactive instead of reactive, setting you up for success.
A morning routine will give you up to two, possibly even three, hours a day to focus completely on yourself. Once you take the leap and start to get up earlier, even just 30 minutes to begin with, you will see results. And like me, you may decide to push the time back further to give yourself more uninterrupted space to work and focus on the things that really matter.
This investment pays off throughout the day, as I make a head start with my goals and feel more positive and motivated. And far from feeling tired or burnt out by lunchtime, my energy levels are actually elevated – I stay focused, can prioritise my work and at no point do I feel overwhelmed.
Research backs up the transformative power of a good morning routine, showing that early risers are likely to be more driven and productive.
Starting my day with a structured routine of exercise, meditation and reflection significantly reduces my stress levels. Not only do I get things done, but I also positively affect my overall mood and wellbeing for the entire day.
After reading Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, I have had my own morning routine for three years now.
I started out just getting up at 6.30 am instead of 7 am, but I enjoyed it so much that my wake-up time is now 5.30 am (even in the winter with a camping light and heavy blanket as above!) …Trust me, I never thought I’d ever be getting up at this time voluntarily! Three years later, I absolutely attribute what I’m doing now to those extra hours I gained each morning.
Since starting my morning routine, I have read a stack of books I never would have had time to get through – books that support my learning and growth as a leadership coach and businesswoman.
I have been able to launch my blog and YouTube channel. I have also conquered my stop-start habit of exercising, and generally, I just feel better, both physically and emotionally, because I am focusing on myself and my life, every single day.
What follows is my morning routine – I do it every day but relax the times a bit at weekends. But an important caveat first: you shouldn’t adopt this routine verbatim (at least to begin with). Maybe you feel you can – in that case, go for it! But generally, it’s much more beneficial to start small. Make progress step by step. And, crucially, don’t beat yourself up; be kind to yourself. If you slip up one morning, just get back in the saddle the following day, and over time, maybe just a few weeks, your positive, healthy morning routine will be habitual. You’ll probably even wonder how you managed without it.
How I Plan My Day for Success: My Morning Routine
- 5.30 am – Alarm. Glass of water, open curtains and window. Brush teeth, splash face with cold water. Make a pot of coffee.
- 5.40 am – Meditate.
- 6 am – Journal (gratitudes, acknowledgements, three things I want to achieve/experience that day), speak to a partner.
- 6.15 am – Read (self-help book or specialist subject book)/write.
- 6.45 am – Daughter wakes up, I make her breakfast and hang out.
- 7.15 am – Go running / do a HIIT session / get ready.
- 8 am – Leave the house.
Creating a Morning Routine
Creating my morning routine serves the purpose of setting my own focus for the day rather than allowing outside responsibilities and pressures to dictate it. These habits set me up for success on a daily basis, ensuring that I utilise my energy levels effectively and manage my time efficiently.
Habit 1: Get Up!
The first habit to establish is that you actually get up when your alarm goes off – this was the hardest one for me. What really helps here is a big glass of water (dehydration makes you feel sleepy) and opening the curtains. So that is the first step – no snooze button!
Habit 2: Meditate
I’ve used a variety of meditation apps to help myself get going. Do shop around and try out different ones before settling on what works for you. Scientists have shown that meditation really does have a positive impact on the brain. It will give you the clarity, focus and motivation you’ll need to make changes, as well as help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Habit 3: Journal
This is extremely good for reflecting on and thinking about what is important to you on a daily basis. It also helps you keep track of what you’re doing and your achievements along the way. My journal practice comprises three gratitudes, three self-acknowledgments and three things I want for the day.
Habit 4: Read
I have found this has made a huge difference; if you read for 30 minutes every day, think how quickly that adds up.
Habit 5: Exercise
I found this tough, especially in the cold. As I’ve said, it immediately makes you feel more focused and motivated, and is great for combatting stress and anxiety.
Habit 6: Practise Visualisation
The other great step that will help you stay on track is visualisation. Set a timer on your phone (ten minutes is ideal, five minutes is enough to start with), and just sit there with your eyes closed and imagine your goal and the kind of life you want to be creating.
These are the six habits I cultivated for my mornings – and you can, too. With determination, you will make progress towards your goals, and developing a healthy morning routine is the first step in planning your day for success.
Perhaps you’re wondering how on earth you can do this on top of everything else. You probably don’t have a PA or full-time childcare, and you need that extra time in bed.
Combating this doubt is all about making incremental changes – don’t try and implement large-scale disruptions all at once. Take your time. Sow your seeds one at a time, and within a few months, you will have developed positive habits that will form the basis of your continued success.
Rooted in neuroscience and mindfulness, this approach ensures lasting behavioural change, which is why we developed the EQ Leadership Formula Model. EQ stands for emotional intelligence, and successful leaders perform better by developing it.
To help you on your path to leadership excellence, we offer EQ leadership development programmes, skills masterclasses and leadership coaching.
Our EQ Leadership offerings are born out of our joint passion for emotional intelligence, neuroscience and mindfulness and the positive impact they have on people, business and the world at large.
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(Rodolphe Plouvier, Senior Management at Generali, France)