The First Thing

Whatever the first thing is in your morning ritual will set your tone and priority for the day. A study detailed by Harvard Business Reviewfound that people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success.[1]In other words, the early bird indeed gets the worm. 

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:3

An Inc. Magazine survey of some of America’s most well-known entrepreneurs found they shared many of the same simple and practical “morning rituals”, which played a role in their overall success.[2]These included:

Get organized. Make your bed. Determine what to wear. Look ahead to what is coming during the day and plan when necessary. Check the weather and the traffic. Maybe catch a few minutes of the news or read the front page of the paper. Have an awareness at the beginning of the day of what is going on in the world, what aspects affect you, and what you need to accomplish. 

Work out. Nearly every successful leader has a morning workout routine. Former Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink heads straight for the gym at 4:30 a.m. each day for an hour-long workout. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a 30-minute walk near his home. Oprah Winfrey spends time on the treadmill. Whatever your morning routing, make sure it includes some time to maintain yourself physically. Raising your heart rate through exercise also increases blood flow to all areas of the body, including the brain.

Eat breakfast. What is true of every recent American President? They all begin the day with a hearty breakfast. Research shows a good breakfast feeds your cognitive functions, helping you to regulate your mood and think more clearly. It restores glucose levels lost during sleep, an essential carbohydrate needed for proper brain function. If you skip breakfast, you’ll miss vital nutrients you are unlikely to make up for by eating later in the day.[3]The National Health Service has shown that “Eating breakfast has long term health benefits. It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.”

Talk to God. Master of self-discipline Tony Robbins has a time of prayer each morning where he asks God for help, guidance and strength for the day. “If you don't have ten spare minutes to work on yourself every morning, then you don't have a life,” he says. There is no better way to put a day into perspective than to spend some time with God in His Word, the Bible, and in prayer. If you’re unsure what to do, start with a devotional book to structure your time. A good suggestion is Men in Leadershipby Bob Briner.[4]

Be consistent. Once you find elements of your morning routine that work for you, be consistent. Those who wake up with a purpose are likely to work toward accomplishing their purpose through the day. Steve Jobs asked himself each morning, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I'm about to do today?” Keep your routine, maintain your perspective and order your morning in order to help you work through the day toward your goals and life mission.