“Start as you mean to go on!”. A saying that, while over 200 years old, is still used as a mantra by many of the world’s most successful people today. But why?
Research has shown that starting your day in the best possible way not only enhances productivity, but also leads to increased feelings motivation, achievement and self-esteem. Some people believe that having these 3 personality traits is the real the key to success (and happiness) – more so than intelligence and academic qualification.
So what habits can you get into to ensure your day gets off to a great start?
1) Wake up early. Really early
It might not sound pleasant but many of the world’s most successful people swear waking up early is a pivotal factor in their success – and happiness. Being one of the only people awake at 5am means they can do what they want – without any distractions. Whether that’s exercise, work, personal development or reading – they take advantage of the early hours to get some ‘me’ time. Some also like to take the morning to spend quality time with their children. Whatever it is that will bring either a sense of achievement or fulfillment for you – fitting it in before the day starts seems to be key for a successful and happy life.
This one seems to be the latest craze and for a reason – it works. When you wake up in the morning, before you do anything else, start to write down all the thoughts in your head. These could be anything from habitual, stressful or happy thoughts to thoughts about all the things you have to do that day. It could be ideas or stories or dreams – real or imaginary. Think of it as a brain dump. The purpose? First of all, it can help clear the mind so you can start your day feeling free and ready to focus on what lies ahead. Second, sometimes it helps us clarify our ideas and can lead to significant moments of inspiration.
Meditation used to be thought of this “woo woo” thing that only hardcore yoga lovers and hippies used to do. This is no longer the case. With more and more scientific data confirming the positive effects of meditation on both our physical and emotional well-being, it seems everyone is jumping on the meditation band-wagon. From the billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio to Larry Brilliant (ex-Google CEO) to Oprah Winfrey – many of the world’s most successful people advocate the practice of meditation in their daily lives.
The physical benefits of exercise have been well-documented for years. What’s been hitting the headlines in more recent years is the extensive list of benefits it has on our minds – and our emotions.
More and more research is showing there is evidence of a mind-body connection. That changing our physical state (through movement) can have an automatic effect on our mental and emotional state. Even a simple change in posture can help change the way someone feels. A qualified personal trainer can help you discover the right types of exercises for you.
5) Making a to-do list
The most productive people always start their day by making a to-do list. Write down your tasks and then prioritise them, making sure you that you tackle the important stuff you don’t like doing at the time of day when you are most energetic. Otherwise you run the risk of constantly procrastinating and pushing it to the next day, and then the next, and the next…
6) Block your time
After you’ve made your to-do list, block time in your calendar to carry out each task. This includes blocking time for emails, social media and breaks. And I mean breaks. Breaks from work, social media, email and general technology. For some more advice on how to structure your day, read this article from Travis Bradberry.
7) Eat a healthy breakfast
Starting the day with a nutritious and balanced meal containing complex carbohydrates, proteins and good fats is not only good for your energy levels, but psychologically sets a precedence for the rest of the day. If you’re fasting during Ramadan, healthy eating at suhoor will help manage your blood glucose levels throughout the fasting period more so than a sugary meal. For more advice on healthy eating during Ramadan, these articles outline healthy food choices at iftar and suhoor.
8) Make a choice to be happy
Happy people don’t wake up feeling happy. And successful people aren’t born successful. The difference is they get up everyday and make a conscious choice to be happy. A conscious choice to feel successful. And they choose to take actions each day that will add to their success and keep them moving forward. They effectively make a conscious choice to be the CEO of their own life. If you want to be happy and successful – the first step is to see yourself as already successful. You have to choose to be happy with everything you have in your life right now. Because until you have done that – no amount of money or success in the world will make you happy. And you’ll spend your life chasing an empty dream. If you’re struggling with seeing your own value or success, my previous article “7 Things Confident People do Differently” will help show you where to start.
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About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.