The Morning Routine: The Secret of the Successful
I have very vivid memories of one of my favourite hymns in school. The first verse was particularly delightful to me:
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world
Having had a very strong rural upbringing in the deep rural in Zimbabwe, this particular hymn was so special to me not only because of its beautiful lyrics and melody, but because I truly understood what it meant to wake up early in the morning. The myriad sweet melodies of birds mingling with the novelty of every naive morning would fill our ears before they were drowned by the bellowing sound of cows donning cow-bells and transporting noisy metal carts around our industrious community in rural Chivhu. The birds’ harmonious tunes heralded the start of a new day and sounded like a well-choreographed musical piece as they gently received swishing and rustling applauses from the tree branches yawning in adoration of the new day in anticipation of the bright and warm sun rays. Such was the signature of my childhood mornings in my beloved rural birth-land. I remember the smell of sweaty blistered hands from hard work in the long unending furrows of farming land. When it came to work in the fields there were no excuses accepted in respect of age, gender or state of health. If ever there was a time I learnt the power of self-talk and positive confession, this was it. Those were the joys of rural life. By the time you took a breather to take a sip of mahewu (traditionally brewed African beverage), your hands will have a familiar quiver and shake as you took hold of the gourd filled with the sweet liquid. The common mantra from our elders in that era was that “the lazy one should not eat,” so hard work was the order of the day.
Why is a morning routine important for success?
Probably the most important period of your day is when you first wake up. Your morning routine can set you up for massive success the whole day. You can choose to linger in bed, hitting snooze and dreading the alarm, or you can set yourself up for massive daily productivity and success with the introduction of a simple routine. A healthy morning routine helps us start the day right. What we do in the morning does affect how we view the rest of the day. When you set the tone early, you won’t feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up. That is the reason why many leaders have crafted morning rituals that maximize their energy, productivity, and creativity all day long.
The Slight Edge
In his book, “The Slight Edge,” Jeff Olson relates how the quantum leap behind success and powerful results lies behind the philosophy of exercising simple daily disciplines over and over until the compound effect takes over. This philosophy termed The Slight Edge is about developing a daily plan which you are willing to commit to everyday. I have found that my early morning devotions, quiet time, prayer walk and warm water have remained a standard routine in my life for the better part of the last two decades of my life. This routine has personally helped me to not only keep the balls in the air, but I have been able to set, track and evaluate my goals on a consistent basis. Being curious about how some of the movers and shakers make it in life, I have read some biographies of successful people and what goes into a winning morning routine. Captured here are some of the morning routines which I believe can lead you into a significantly successful life.
Make time for exercise.
Exercise will not just make you think clearer, be healthier and scientifically happier, it allows you to combat stress as well. An hour-long routine could be too daunting, so you can try running, dancing or even walking around the neighbourhood for at least ten minutes. Working out and moving is a huge part of building massive success. It’s not about being in perfect shape, but you have to move your body to move your brain and ideas around. After the quick blast of physical movement — stretch! Taking two minutes to stretch every day will greatly improve your flexibility of body and mind.
Your “Hour of Power”
Motivation doesn’t last forever, so you need to replenish yours regularly. Highly successful people dedicate ample time to increase their supply. Spend some minutes listening to inspirational anecdotes and empowering quotes.
Make an entry into your gratitude journal
As you count the blessings you are grateful for, you become more open to optimism and inspiration which improves your outlook in life. Every day, write down at least one thing that you’re thankful for. It is important to count the small wins.
Ask yourself one important question
“If today was the last day of your life, would you still want to do what you’re about to do today?” This hard-hitting question gets you right where it wants you. If you find yourself saying “no” several times in a week, then go out there and change something. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to do it the next time.
Plan and strategize
If you don’t take a few minutes of your time to map out the direction of your day, how will you know if you’re headed towards the right direction? Take at least 10 minutes of your day to visualize your life goals, review your tasks for the day and allot schedules for breaks. It will help your day be more manageable and less stressful.
Meditate and connect with your inner being
It is important spend a few minutes to prayer and meditation to keep you relaxed. Remember, 90% of illnesses are stress-related, so forget the rush. Take time to enjoy a few “hush” moments with your inner self. As bio-psychosocial spiritual beings, our success hinges on how well we are anchored in our spirituality.
Hydrate your body
For a start, 70% of your body is made up of water, so it’s essential to keep it fresh and topped up to keep the body working properly. When the body’s water requirement is not met, it has a variety of negative short-term and long-term health consequences. Help your body to better avoid these conditions by drinking water after waking up and keeping your body hydrated throughout the day.
Speak what you want to see into the day
Our words when they are released create molecules which attract and bring back what we have spoken. Take time to make positive declarations into your day and begin to create the day you want to experience.