If someone asked you to think of a way to describe each of these people, chances are you might say: Hoodies, dollar dollar bills y’all, “where focus goes, energy flows,” and New Balance sneakers, in that order. Or, you might have just said: successful.
Most of us strive to be like these people, or to attain the same levels of success that they’ve had. In order to do this, you might assume following their daily routines will help you achieve everything you want to.
Morning routines, evening routines, daily routines, pampering routines, routines, routines routines! We’ve all heard about the “routines of highly successful people” as if following them will guarantee you a unicorn and a billion dollars overnight.
I’ve tried for years to perfect my daily routines with the same tenacity as Miley Cyrus trying to prove she’s not a kid anymore.
In my pursuit of the perfect schedule, I’ve researched all the most successful people and tried to copy every detail of what they do. I’m embarrassed to say, I even tried wearing the same outfit everyday like Steve Jobs and his black turtlenecks.
As I looked into the schedules of successful people, many of them followed a similar pattern:
1. Wake up early
Tim Cook: 4:30 a.m.
Richard Branson: 5:45 a.m.
Warren Buffett: 6:45 a.m.
Almost every highly successful person seems to wake up early, some extremely early (we’re talking before 5:00 a.m. for some, yikes!)
In his book “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals,” Thomas C. Corley shares his five year study of 177 self made millionaires. He found that almost 50% wake up at least 3 hours before doing any work tasks.
So, maybe I should consider starting work at 1:00 p.m.?
Meditation has become quite a trend in the last few years. Many years ago it was considered something hippy dippy, strange people did and nobody really understood it.
These days it’s considered an essential part of most daily routines, especially considering anyone can do it. You don’t need to be on vacation on a super yacht with Bill gates or fork over your life savings to meditate; anyone can do it, anywhere, anytime.
3. Eat a healthy breakfast
When I was younger I would eat a bag of chips and down a can of cherry coke on my way to class and somehow manage to function on that all day. And, though it may seem like a simple thing to start you on the path to success, apparently eating breakfast does have some benefits.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that subjects who consumed a breakfast high in protein felt fuller throughout the day, consumed smaller dinners, and were less likely to have late-night snacks.
4. Practice gratitude
Apparently Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, and Tony Robbins all practice gratitude on a daily basis. So, how exactly do you do this? To “practice” gratitude makes it sound like your shooting 20 baskets a day in the hope that you’ll be as good a basketball player as Kobe Bryant. But, in reality, it’s as easy as thinking of things you’re grateful for in your head while you lay in bed in the morning.
A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that people who wrote about their gratitude showed greater signs of emotional well-being over a period of time compared to the people who wrote about negative or neutral life events.
Looking at all of these things that successful people do every morning, you may feel like you absolutely have to do them. However, what if they don’t work for you?
In making your own morning or daily routine, use the following tips in order to make sure it’s authentic to you and your needs.
1. Identify when you begin to lose motivation during the day
We all know of that mid-afternoon slump that can hit at the most inopportune times. Rather than taking a break or trying to do the easiest tasks during this time, most people reach for unhealthy things like a soda or chips.
Clinical psychologist Michael Breus wrote a book called “The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype–and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds and More.”
Breus’s book says that every human being has a chronotype, which is your biological clock that determines when you should sleep, wake, eat, etc. There are four: Dolphin, Lion, Bear, and Wolf. You can take this quiz to figure out yours: https://thepowerofwhenquiz.com/
When do you feel best going to sleep? Waking up? Eating breakfast? Decide that for yourself, rather than waking up at 4:30 a.m. just because Tim Cook does.
Do you want to determine when is the best time to go to sleep and wake in the morning? Try https://sleepyti.me/. It will tell you the exact right time to go to bed so you aren’t waking in the middle of your deepest sleep.
2. Identify what time of day you feel most motivated
Benjamin Franklin asked himself the same question every morning: “What good shall I do today?” Answer this question, and then determine what time of day you want to do it.
Do you wake up in the morning, jump out of bed and greet the birds with a huge smile on your face ready to start the day? (If yes, then stay away from me. Just kidding! Sort of.)
Or, do you feel a sudden jolt of electricity sweep through your body late in the evening? Do you feel like you could climb Mt. Everest at 10:00 p.m.?
Figure out when you have the most energy to work and plan your most important tasks for those times.
3. What does your “best day ever” look like?
We all have a fantasy of what our absolute perfect day looks like. My perfect day would involve a hot stone massage, chocolate cake, and a showing of Magic Mike.
If you had to plan the perfect work day, what time would you wake up? What would you eat for breakfast? What would you do and eat throughout the day to keep yourself healthy and motivated?
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Form daily habits that will bring you success but that also work in your own life, and bring you genuine happiness.