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Your alarm clock goes off. You roll over and hit the snooze button. You roll over again. Maybe you hit the snooze button…again. Then, by some miracle, you’re finally able to put two feet on the ground and haul yourself out of bed.
If you’re not a natural morning person (i.e. the majority of humanity), this might sound all too familiar. We get it. Mornings can be tough. But what you do in the time between getting out of bed and going to work, taking care of the kids, or doing whatever it is you do, can add value to your life. And in some cases, it can make you a lot more successful.
For go-getters, mornings are the most important time of the day. So we talked with a few to get their advice on the keys to an absolutely amazing morning. Here’s what they told us.
Wake Up Early
This was by and far the most common trait of go getters across the board. People that get the most out of their mornings wake up early. And by “early,” we mean really early. Successful people tend to wake up at 5:30 am, 4:30 am, and even 4:00 am.
Waking up early gives you more control over your time. Because you won’t be bombarded by emails or have your attention compromised by children or other responsibilities, you can dedicate 100% of your attention towards the tasks and projects that matter most to you without any interruption.
None of this takes away the simple fact that waking up early—especially this early—is hard. Instead of jumping in head first, start by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual. Once you’re used to that, dial it back another 15 minutes, and then repeat until you’re up before the sun.
Develop a Power Hour
There’s a reason superstar athletes almost always head into games with headphones on—they’re getting motivated. They realized that motivation is hard to come by, and when it is, it can be fleeting. Go-getters use the early morning hours as a source of motivation, listening to music, reading empowering quotes, or otherwise psyching themselves up for the day.
Consider developing your own motivational mantra. Discover an idea that really inspires you. Then create a mantra. Breathe, relax, and repeat that mantra. Sounds weird, but it really works. And also, a power hour doesn’t have to last an hour. 15 minutes or so should do the trick.
Whether you’re dealing with a demanding job or kids, you’re going to push your brain to its capacity every day. That’s a given. It’s easy to let your mental health go by the wayside, especially with how busy the day can get.
Go-getters understand this, and they carve out time every morning to meditate. Meditation delivers mental space and clarity that can help you take on the day and focus on the bigger tasks you need to accomplish. It can also combat chronic pain and depression. If you want to get started meditating, there are several apps that can help. We love Headspace and Oak.
There’s a reason Steve Jobs always wore the same thing. He realized that an overabundance of choice burns mental power and takes up valuable time. Instead of spending 20 minutes in front of your closet trying to decide what to wear, choose to dress simply. Save your mental energy for bigger decisions. It can make a big difference on your morning, and during the rest of the day.
Plan the Day
Go-getters don’t leave the day up to chance. And they don’t waste time getting going. Instead of heading into your day blindly, plan for it. This means using the early morning hours to set the priorities for your day. Start with the big philosophical questions: if this was your last day on earth, what would you want to spend it doing? And then move down the ladder towards more task-oriented planning. What are the biggest things you want to accomplish? What are the things you’d like to get done if you have time? If you like to write to-do lists, make sure they’re prioritized.
Morning workouts don’t just give you a boost of energy, they set the foundation for the rest of the day. They put you in the right frame of mind and make sure your body is moving. When you feel good, you’re more than likely to start getting after the day long before the rest of the world is.
Exercising doesn’t have to be time consuming. Apps like Hot5 Fitness can deliver a total body workout in just a few minutes.
Enjoy the Silence
One of the most overlooked advantages to waking up early is access to the complete silence and stillness it affords. In a modern world that’s full of cars, planes, people, construction, and endless amounts of streaming music and movies, silence is hard to come by. If you want to make the most out of your day, consider spending a few minutes watching the sun rise, listening to the birds chirp, or just be still and soak it all in.
Revolutionizing your morning has the power to completely transform your life. It’s easy to go through the hours between waking up and going to work mindlessly. But if you thoughtfully approach how you spend your mornings, you’ll have the energy, motivation, and wisdom you need to make the absolute most out of your day.