One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that you have a positive and successful day is to become obsessed with how you spend your pre-work morning hours.
Unfortunately, many people never take the time to analyze their morning routine. A typical morning for most consists of picking up the phone right after they wake up to check email and social media, hitting the snooze button multiple times and never being intentional about positively fueling their mind and body before the workday.
The problem is, it’s challenging to perform at your high level and make an extraordinary contribution in the world if the above describes how you start your days. Instead, being intentional about how I start each and every day myself, and creating a powerful morning routine to do that, have been two of the most beneficial things I've done toward achieving my goals, increasing my energy throughout the workday and becoming a more positive person.
Here are four things you can do each day to create a powerful morning routine.
1. Wake up two hours before you have to be anywhere
I’m not going to be one of those people who tell you that in order to achieve those audacious goals of yours, you need to wake up ridiculously early, but I am suggesting that you start waking up at least two hours before you have to be anywhere.
This early start gives you enough time to work on yourself and feed your mind, body and spirit before your hectic workday is off to the races. The reason why I assign this "number one" on my list is because it’s nearly impossible to create a powerful morning routine if you're rushed and in a hurry.
2. Read something uplifting and inspiring
One of the best habits I have incorporated into my own orning routine has been to make sure I read something uplifting and inspiring for a half hour every single morning.
If 30 minutes seems too long, then start with just 10 or 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter if you are reading an actual book or a blog that you find inspiring, or listening to an audiobook. Just make sure you find the time in the morning to read something uplifting and inspiring instead of perusing negative news or checking your email right away. Fueling your mind with positive messages first thing in the morning helps you to build the self-confidence and motivational boost to go out in the world and make that specific day a masterpiece.
3. Practice daily gratitude
There is so much written about gratitude and its importance, but a huge percentage of people still don’t practice it. Knowing that something is important and great for you and actually practicing it in your own life are two different things. Scientific research from multiple leading psychologists shows us that those who practice daily gratitude are more likely to be happy and successful.
I have found that the best time of the day to practice gratitude is first thing in the morning. I have used a gratitude journal for years, and it has been a complete game-changer for me. I currently use The Five-Minute Journal, which helps guide the process for you. Practicing daily gratitude will always be part of the discussion about a powerful morning routine and the best way to start the day.
4. Get moving
I learned the power of doing some type of physical exercise first thing in the morning when I was an athlete. In college, as well as in the NFL, my friends and fellow teammates and I always had morning workouts; and I started to notice a pattern after a while.
When I worked out early in the morning, as opposed to the days that I didn’t, I noticed that my day was markedly better. I was not only more productive but more positive, and happier, as well. Even if your workout is just 20 minutes, you should get some sort of physical exercise in the morning.
Exercise increases endorphins and helps start your day in a positive way. A New York Times article I read described how exercise not only helps to build a better brain, but also increases brainpower. So, no matter where I am in the world or how crazy my travel schedule is, I make sure to do some sort of physical exercise -- a staple for creating for myself a powerful morning routine.
The key to creating a powerful morning routine, then, is to find out what works best for you and then execute that plan each and every morning. These four practices are simple and practical, but have impacted my life in a profound way. Whether you use one of them or all four, they're sure to help you in your own pursuit of a powerful morning routine.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.