I have yet to meet or read about a successful person who didn’t rise early, read or listen to positive messages, make goals, pray or meditate, and exercise on a daily basis. These 5 habits are often grouped together and called such things as “The Morning Miracle” (Hal Elrod) or “Sharpening the Saw” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey). Henry Ward Beecher said, “The first hour is the rudder of the day.” Most of us have experience with the opposite: Waking up late, rushing to get out the door, replacing breakfast with caffeine, cursing the traffic, and feeling tired all day. I often think to myself when I wake up in the morning that I am too tired to get up. But I have learned that more sleep does not awaken and invigorate you like these 5 habits can.
Thomas Jefferson famously said, “The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years” and Richard Whately mused, “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” I am not naturally a morning person, but I have learned that there is power in rising early. You start off the day telling yourself that you are a go-getter and not lazy. You take control of the day instead of being a victim of it. You have accomplished something for yourself before most people have even rolled over. Forbes magazine reports that Harvard biologist, Christoph Randler, has found that people who get up early in the morning are more proactive and feel more in charge of their lives. There is a deliberate message that you send out to the universe when you rise early that you are rewarded for throughout the day.
“The time just before dawn contains the most energy of all hours of the day. This has helped me become an early riser and an early doer…. When I wake to see that it’s light out already, I feel the world has started without me.”
Each morning you have the opportunity to start your day moving in a positive direction. If you aim your thoughts in a negative direction they will most likely continue in that direction–gaining acceleration as the day progresses. Thankfully, the opposite is true as well.
Each day is a chance to start over and no matter how rotten yesterday was, today is a new day with new opportunities. But you’re not going to see those opportunities unless your head is out of the sand looking for and wanting those opportunities. Ingesting good media is like turning a light on in a room. Suddenly you can see what is around you and what is possible. Good media can change the direction of your life.
Jim Rohn, America’s foremost business philosopher, once said that “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” So, why not associate with the greatest minds that have ever lived by reading their words or listening to their audios?
For the average person, making goals is a rare thing–something you do on New Year’s Eve and then forgot about for a year. Successful people live by goals. They set goals every morning and review those goals each night. Everything they do has a purpose. And that purpose gets them closer to their dreams. Making goals changes you from being a victim of your life to becoming a creator of your life. What are your goals? Ask a truly successful person and they can tell you daily goals, weekly, monthly, on up through the next 5 or 10 years. How can you reach a goal that you haven’t set?
“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”
– Abraham Lincoln
Success is not just an exterior accomplishment. It is crucial that we take time to stop and look inward. To spiritually renew ourselves and express gratitude for what we already have. When we are grateful to God and the universe for any good fortune we already have it puts us in an abundant mindset and opens us up to receive even more.
Alan Cohen has said,”If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.” There is peace, clarity, and inspiration when we take time away from the outside world to become one with spirit; To cleanse ourselves of negativity, fear, and stress, and call upon God to be our strength. I love what the character of Yoda says in The Empire Strikes Back movie, “For my ally is the force, and a powerful ally it is.”
Aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” Prayer and meditation can be combined with goal setting and reviewing those goals daily. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”
“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.”
Truly successful people exercise discipline in all areas of their life. They realize that mind, body, and spirit are all connected and must be fully engaged to make for a happy and successful person.
“If a man achieves victory over this body, who in the world can exercise power over him?”
Put together a routine of exercise that starts on your level and pushes and stretches you a little more each day. If you typically spend all day sitting at a desk, try going for a walk. This can get your heart pumping and your muscles feeling useful while also allowing you time to think or meditate.
“If you have time for Facebook, you have time for exercise.”
In summary, these are 5 simple habits that you can start doing today that will change the rest of your life. It isn’t easy to change habits (I can attest to that), but those that do reap the rewards. Good days turn into good weeks. And those good days have purpose and hope behind them.
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
What experiences have you had in rising early in the morning and setting the tone for the rest of the day? We would love to hear from you! Please share in the comments.