The key to success is not simply a question of hard work, or honing your skills. True success comes from a mindset that embraces challenges, rejects negativity and refuses to conform to narrow definitions. This kind of perspective allows successful people to let go of negativity that will hold them back, and approach life with a desire to rise above limitations.
And how does it start? First thing in the morning, when most of the world is still asleep. Here are some early-morning pointers that could help you rise above the pack.
Beat the inner voice
You know the one. It’s the one that says you went to bed too late to even think about getting up now, or that hitting the snooze button once - or twice - won’t make a difference. You can tell yourself that, but successful people know better. They know ignoring that voice gives a sense of control right at the start of the day - a day they can get going on early, while the competition is still in bed.
Drink lemon water
This may sound odd, but it’s no joke. Lemons help your body absorb nutrients more effectively, and drinking it with water as soon as you wake up is a great boost for your physical and mental energy. Drink it first thing, on an empty stomach, to make sure you gain full absorption. Lemons are full of good stuff like potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants…just make sure you drink it with water, as the acid is tough on teeth. Half a lemon if you’re under 150 pounds, a full one if you’re over, and you’re good to go.
The benefits of morning exercise are well known, and well documented. Successful people listen to the research and build it into their lives - just ask Richard Branson and Bob Iger. A little effort - or a lot, if you prefer - goes a long way; studies have shown that exercising just twice a week, for ten weeks, left people feeling better socially and academically as well as making them healthier. Those who exercise daily benefit from more energy, and a brighter outlook on life - both crucial when it comes to beating opposition.
Exercising in the morning sets you up positively, improving concentration and control all the way through to bedtime. It also gets it out of the way early so you don’t have to think about it again - no one wants to come home after a difficult day, and drag themselves into a gym.
Eat (a healthy) breakfast
The importance of breakfast cannot be overstated. If you eat anything at all in the morning, you have an advantage over the people who don’t - your blood sugar levels will be more stable, you’ll concentrate better and you’ll be less inclined to snack. A healthy breakfast is even better, releasing energy at a steady rate, improving your focus and making you feel better in your body…which will mean you feel better in mind.
Know when to disconnect
Early morning is the perfect time to let some peace into your life. If you wake up and immediately get caught up in social media, a busy phone and a bursting inbox, you are sucked into dealing with what other people want from you.
Use a peaceful hour or two to focus on yourself, and/or your family. By starting the day in a relaxed and calm frame of mind, you’re more likely to set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
Mindfulness meditation is being given increasing respect in the world of business. Just take a look at the big companies who actively incorporate it into their working practices. This isn’t a fad, but a research-based understanding of how employee health increases productivity, and therefore profit. Even if you don’t work for a company that promotes meditation, you can take time in the mornings to practice, and reap the benefits just the same. Enhanced ability to focus, increased emotional intelligence and a boost to creativity are just some of the rewards on offer for making time to be calm.
We all know that setting goals in life increases the odds of achievement. A series of small milestones you know you can reach leads to success with longer, larger aims. But successful people take this a step further, and plan each individual day in order to maximise their output. Consider taking time after a meditation session, when your mind is calm and clutter-free. Plan your day with clarity, and you’ll be far more likely to make the most of the hours available to you.
Protect the mornings
The most successful people in life are not the ones who say yes to anything and everything. Of course being proactive is important, as is taking opportunities that are offered - but if someone wants to encroach on your precious morning time, it is important to have the strength to say no. The early hours are a powerful commitment you make to yourself, time spent readying your mind for the stresses of your job and responsibilities. If you value the peace of mind that time will give you, and recognise the positive influence it will have on the rest of your day - surely it’s worth looking after?
Get one step ahead
This is one that happens all on its own. Waking up early allows more time for everything that successful people need to have a productive day. They won’t be the ones rushing to the office, or running to catch a train. They’ll be calm, prepared, organised, and in the right frame of mind to make the decisions that will get them ahead. They’ll be first into the office, getting started on work with no distractions from colleagues. By getting a head start on the day, the early riser gets life under control.
It might take a couple of days to adjust to a new schedule, but give it a try and see how much more productive you can be. Go to bed earlier so you won’t be too tired, and stick with it even if it feels strange to begin with. Those super-successful people who swear by early mornings can’t all be wrong.
Did we miss any tips? Let us know in the comments below!