The Single Most Important Action To Take Right Now To Make You Successful

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Throughout the year we make personal commitments of things we want to change for the better. Diets, exercise, family, work, travel etc. For many of us, we take on multiple resolutions with every intention of improving ourselves for the better. Too often, we fail to kick start and sustain the new “US.” Goals become overwhelming and we fall into the trap of never achieving what we set out to do.

The complex formula of success
So much information exists on what success is and how to achieve it. Articles with headings such as “30 Things Successful People Do Differently” capture our attention with the hope of inspiring us to take meaningful action.

The problem is that’s 30 things we are to remember and implement to supposedly achieve success. One article I recently read listed their number one step to success being “Internalizing your locus of control.”

Locus of control? What does that even mean?

These articles can provide meaningful insights but they often overpower us and end up being nothing more than an informative read.

Inspiring? Sometimes. Actionable. No.

Success is not a complex formula. It is far simpler.

Excuses over results
Success can come at any time. We get caught in the trap at looking at success as this grandiose plan that must start and be completed by self-defined timeframes and prescribed results. It becomes so daunting that we give up because we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we try to achieve our goals, they don’t come fast enough and we use this as an excuse to give up. We end up being our own worst enemy.

You can either have results or you can have an excuse, but you cannot have both.

Take someone’s plans to lose weight. They set a goal to lose 30 pounds which includes a diet plan and workout regime. They are initially dedicated to working out multiple times a week and stick to a strict meal plan. It’s tough at first but as several weeks go by they start to feel better about themselves. More energy, clothes feeling a little looser and an overall more positive attitude. Then they step on the scale at the end of the month to find they have only lost 2lbs!

The minimal weight loss is deflating after all that dedicated, hard work. They start to lose steam. Workouts get missed. Diets get blown. Before long the excuse “I can’t do this” enters the mind and the weight loss plan is in the scrap bin.

The amazing results achieved in a single month get buried and forgotten. More on those amazing resulting in a minute.

The secret of success: One step
One small step. That is all it is. A single step is all it takes to move towards success. It’s so fundamentally simple and yet so easily overlooked.

It’s the greatest secret never to be told by successful people. We read about other’s success and can’t imagine how we could ever achieve the same. They are so successful and have achieved so many amazing things that we see them in a different league. What we fail to realize is that these successful people all started with a single, first step. Then they took another step and another. Before long they had a mile of steps behind them and the second mile didn’t seem so bad. They kept going and went on to build massive momentum. Always looking forward. Never back.

Sure there are missteps. People outside of the successful stream of consciousness look at missteps as failures. Successful people don’t’ see failure. They see opportunities to learn, reflect and move forward. Always achieving greater success than when they started.

Celebrate each step
Each small step you take is a pause for celebration. Your decision to spend more time with the family. The first day at the gym. Booking that amazing trip abroad. Deciding to make a career change. Those are all small steps worthy of applause

Celebrate each and every step of success along the way.

Imagine how many of us would stick to our weight loss plans if we instead focused on the many positive steps we took in the first month and not the actual loss of weight.

Let’s break it down. Attended the gym. Ate healthy. More energy. Looser clothes. Multiple small steps all worthy of celebration. Each step building on the previous. It’s all about changing your perspective. It’s amazing when you change your frame of mind how you can view something that seemed so insignificant really isn’t. Two pounds is no longer weighing you down. That’s worth celebrating and continuing with your step journey.

You can start your new YOU whenever you chose. Start small and take one little step at a time. Push yourself forward because no one else is going to do it for you. All it takes is a single step.

Clark Glassford is the founder of My Practice Interview. The company’s purpose is to inspire others to achieve their dream career. My Practice Interview provides industry-leading services including tailored resume writing, curated LinkedIn profiles and expert interview coaching delivering results beyond expectations.
http://www.mypracticeinterview.com

Morning People Really Are Happier, According to Science

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By Michelle Darrisaw

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You may want to rethink hitting your snooze button in the morning. According to a new study, the time you decide to rise and shine could impact your overall mental and physical health.

Jacqueline Lane, an instructor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently conducted a sleep study and published her findings in the Nature Communicationsjournal. In an interview with TODAY, the professor revealed that early risers are essentially happier and healthier than nighthawks. Lane observed that those who wake up early have a specific genetic component that lowers their risk of developing depression and chronic illnesses.

“Individuals who tend to be happier tend to be morning-type individuals,” Lane said.

The population sample for the study was comprised of two groups: 250,000 people in the U.S. who used the DNA and ancestry services of biotech company, 23andMe and 450,000 people in the U.K. who enrolled in the biorepository Biobank across the pond. Lane and her team of researchers used sleep timing measures to evaluate circadian biology as it relates to genes.

They separated the group by those who identify as morning people and those who can’t pry themselves away from Netflix at night (or, ya know, just go to bed late in general). From there, Lane and her associates examined their genomes to determine the relationship between their genes and their preferred wake-up time and how it connects to their health. And what they found was pretty interesting.

Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.

“We show that being a morning person is causally associated with better mental health but does not affect body mass index or risk of Type 2 diabetes,” stated Lane in the study’s results.

“There is also a link between evening preference and a higher risk of schizophrenia (and depression),” she explained to TODAY.

But don’t think that just because you don’t hit the hay as soon as the sun goes down that you’re at risk for developing a mental health disorder.

“It is incredibly complicated,” she added. “The genetics about being a night owl is only part of it. It is more about environment, with living out of sync with your internal clock. Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.”

Still, Lane admitted more research needs to be done on how our genes are affected by our sleep cycles. However, it couldn’t hurt to set your alarm to get up a tad earlier.

“Understanding if you are a morning or evening person can really impact the schedule you choose,” Lane said. “It might determine when you choose activities or the timing of your meals.

So, now you know there’s a quasi-scientific reason why all the those morning people in your life tend to wake up so darned peppy.

5 Essential Morning Habits For The Modern Entrepreneur

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Tanner Simkins

Behind the most successful entrepreneurs is often a motivated morning routine. According to researchers at The University of Nottingham, self control, willpower and task-performance all peak in the morning. This means business owners who can max out this crucial time are off to a great start for the day. In this spirit, here are five essential morning habits collected from case studies and best practices in the sports and entertainment industries.

1. Consult a tomorrow list.

Start your morning the night before. In doing so, you will immediately create a sense of purpose and anticipate potential problems. With a plan in mind, your day will already be timely, organized and more effective. Scott Cullather, CEO of inVNT, a live events agency in New York, schedules a meeting with his key support team before the close of business in order to review the following day’s agenda. Cullather says “we review and forecast what tomorrow is going to look like and how we’re going to get through that. It gives us an opportunity to re-prioritize. It also allows us to go to bed at night. Your mind does a lot of work for you while you’re sleeping. You get there the next day and are much more efficient and productive.”

Related: The 10-Minute Morning Routine That Will Clear Your Mind

Another example is athletics, where training schedules and game plans are the norm. Head coach for Team Running USA, Terrence Mahon, says the “benefits of preparing and executing a training plan come in so when the pressure mounts, athletes will feel reassured that they’ve done enough.” The same is true for leaders in business.

2. Practice morning mindfulness.

Entrepreneurs should focus on meditation or exercise in order to pre-establish focus for the entire day. Tim Ferriss engages in both meditation and exercise prior to his workday. In meditating, “you’re practicing focus when it doesn’t matter so that you can focus better later when it does matter.” Former MLB great and now Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter lists one hour morning meditations as a regular part of his routine.

3. Focus on the morning nutrients.

A healthy breakfast fuels your day. The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has a healthy fruit salad and muesli to start his day. Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has two hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce every morning. For elite professional athletes, nutrition rituals exist as a very specific, and often superstitious, routine to begin the day. Professional tennis player Novak Djokovic follows a long, detailed order beginning with a large cup of room temperature water and ending with muesli or oatmeal, to provide his body with what he needs to perform at peak levels.

Related: 6 Morning Health Hacks to Boost Productivity and Keep You Energized All Day

Rachel DeMita, host/producer for sports highlights network Overtime and a digital content creator, told me in our recent interview that “eating healthy and getting in a good workout are important for me. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I make sure to continue to stay active for my work. I’m still able to hang with some professional athletes and hold my own in a way.”

4. The quintessence of positivity.

Envisioning success will help you realize success. Olympic gold medalist and author Katie Ledecky writes “think of something else, something that doesn’t cause you stress.” Take Ledecky’s advice to radiate happiness and suppress anxiety.

I recently sat down with Jack McClinton, former NBA player and current CEO of Active Dreamers, a company innovating sports retail with its unique blankets and pillows that resemble player likenesses. He told me in our interview that he always tries to “wake up and win the day.” The athlete turned entrepreneur added “I always try to keep my energy at a positive level and vibrate at a high level because I understand this elevates your mindset.”

Related: 5 Tips to Improve Focus and Get Things Done

5. Track results and review goals.

Most entrepreneurs are already goal-oriented people, but where many of them fall short is in writing down their goals and tracking their progress. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals — SMART goals — is the secret sauce for successful entrepreneurs.

With the proper and consistent application of these five morning essentials, entrepreneurial success is well within reach.

7 Unconventional Ways To Maximize Your Morning

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CW Headley

I recently wrote an article about the role coffee plays in our cultural routine. In addition to its practical one, it also serves as a reliable boost for morale.

Coffee shares this distinction with a good many things, the bulk of which are painfully pedestrian: Eight hours of sleep, a mantra in the mirror, a cup of coffee and a read during your commute – we’ve read it all before.

Monotony is the common enemy of every profession so here are seven unconventional but healthy ways to start your morning.

1.  Eat pasta

Claire Lower made a great case for why breakfast lasagna is a practical morning meal in a piece recently published by Lifehacker. You can make a big ole’ batch that’ll be good throughout the week, it’s relatively easy to make and it’s a great source of fat, protein and carbs if prepared properly.

There’s so many ways to make a tasty-healthy pasta dish, too. Whole grain noodles for your dose of fiber (whole grains also fight disease and reduce your waistline), tomatoes for your vitamin C, and cheese for your needed drench of comfort.

2. Yoga

In 2017, Leah Wynalek did yoga every day for two weeks before heading into work. The results? Most relevantly Wynalek found the routine to drastically reduce the discomfort of sitting in a desk chair all day. She felt “energized” and much more prepared to start her morning.

In a more general sense, yoga has been proven to yield a calmer mind. Mental clarity is the most salient ingredient to a productive morning.  Just 10-12 minutes a day is more than enough to starting seeing results.

3. Quick 5-Minute Meditation

“While the body needs consistent movement in order to be healthy, the mind thrives with regular doses of stillness.” This quote arrives by the curtesy of meditation expert Ralph De La Rosa.

Morning meditation is a great way to energize mood ahead of a productive day. Try and wake up a few minutes earlier than usual, sit at the edge of your bed, close your eyes–and breathe. You’ll notice that things seem just a touch more attainable, you become a little less overwhelmed a little less easily. The sacrifice of a few extra minutes of sleep every morning bestows a feeling of preparedness for your daily challenges.

4 Subbing coffee for healthier alternatives

You’ll find no protest from me regarding the effectiveness of coffee (I probably drink something like 9 cups a day) but I’d be remiss to suggest there aren’t a significant number of healthier alternatives that get the job done just as well.

Things like Matcha, (powerful source of anti-oxidants), chicory (rich with inulin), Yerba Mate, (riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium) and chai (lowers risk of heart disease) are all great places to start.  Here’s a link for Healthline’s guide of ingredients and preparation.

5.  Blast Some Tunes

Before I became a fully realized coffee junkie, I used to start every Monday by blasting Another Side Of Bob Dylan front to back. If you’re not careful mornings can be a sort of personality vampire. On the days I leap out of bed and launch straight into work without giving myself even a modicum of personal attention, all of my values and interest feel stale in my mind.

Reserve a little space in your pre-work routine for your favorite song just to remind yourself of your identity outside of the office. Life coach Sharon Stokes corroborates stating: “Music has the ability to shift your state, so play something that gets you in the right mindset for your day. ”

6.  Social interaction

Many of us aren’t the most gregarious in the wee hours of the morning but studies suggest that a little bit of social interaction can go a long way in rebooting your moods throughout the day.

Try and touch base with your significant other before you head in to work (I’ll just leave this here), or ignite a conversation with your barista.  A brief chat, whether superficial or intimate, can boost alertness as well as temperament

7. Make a plan

In his book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, author, Charles Duhigg, counsels us to determine what things deserve our attention. In chapter 4, Duhigg mentions the four classifications of goals frequently utilized by corporations: the specific,  the measurable, the achievable and the realistic – all applied to a timeline.

Make the “smart goal” system keep you on track. Visualizing what you wish to achieve helps your streamline your focus. Setting goals, allows room for the unexpected of course, but having a definitive finish line in mind will make you more productive.

52 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself To Ensure That You’re Living A Mindful & Meaningful Life

PsychCentral Article Here

Questions To Ask Yourself For Every Week Of The Year:

  1. What is standing between you and your biggest goal?
  2. What do you get distracted by that keeps you from effectively engaging and connecting with others?
  3. What or who could you pay more attention to in life?
  4. What thoughts or ideas do you attach to (your rules, script about people and things) that keep you from growing and making further progress?
  5. How often do you make excuses about things? About what in particular?
  6. Where do you want to be in five years from now? What may get in the way? What are you willing to do about it?
  7. What is one change you need to make in your life this year?
  8. What meaningful thing(s) did you learn about yourself this year?
  9. What was the best day of your life? Why? How can you replicate those meaningful moment(s)?
  10. If your life was a movie, what would the title be? What would you want it to be?
  11. What life lessons do you wish you knew 10 years ago? What got you to the place of learning those life lessons?
  12. What is the biggest dream in life? Did you achieve it? Hope to achieve it? What will help get you there?
  13. What is your biggest fear? Why? Are your actions guided by this fear? Does it get in the way of doing what I want to be doing? In what way?
  14. What are some personal characteristics or qualities that you’re not proud or fond of? What helped to create them (e.g., family genetics, family role modeling, experience, etc.)? What are those you need to accept and what are those you could work to change? Are you engaging in this process?
  15. Do you think that you’re enough and are worthy of love and affection? If not, what gets in the way of this?
  16. Do you quickly get defensive and have a hard time facing yourself or confronting your mistakes or imperfections? About what? Why do you think so? What is its impact?
  17. Do you quickly get defended or cut off to avoid uncomfortable/negative thoughts or emotions? Which emotions? Why do you think you do this? What is its impact?
  18. If you had one year to live, what would you try to achieve?
  19. If you have one month left to live, what would you try to achieve?
  20. What would you say about you at your funeral? What would others say about you? What would you want to be said?
  21. What is your ideal self? What does it mean to be your best self?
  22. Look at your life now. Are you living the life of your dreams? What’s getting in the way? What can you do to change it?
  23. What advice would you give to yourself 3 years ago?
  24. Is there anything you are avoiding/running away from? Why?
  25. Are you settling for less than what you are worth? In what arena of your life? Why?
  26. What bad habits do you want to break? What’s keeping you from breaking them? How will you go about working on them?
  27. What good habits do you want to cultivate?
  28. How can you make your life more meaningful, starting today?
  29. What qualities do you want to embody?
  30. Who is/are the most important person(s) to you in the world? Why are they most important?
  31. When was the last time you told yourself that you love and appreciate yourself? Do you feel comfortable doing so? Why?
  32. Do you treat yourself with the love and respect you truly deserve? What gets in the way?
  33. What is one thing you could start doing today to improve the quality of your life?
  34. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? What?
  35. Is there someone who has hurt, angered, or rejected you that you need and want to forgive?
  36. What parts of your life doesn’t reflect who you are? How can you improve that?
  37. Do you find yourself feeling lonely at times? What’s making you feel this way?
  38. Where are you not being honest with yourself and why?
  39. Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable? How does this impact you?
  40. Do you enjoy your own company? If not, Why?
  41. What do you want to be remembered for?
  42. What are you most thankful for?
  43. When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone? Do you avoid doing this? When? Why?
  44. Who has had the greatest impact on your life? Why? In what way?
  45. Who do you want to get closer to? How will you pursue this relationship?
  46. What can you improve about the way you communicate to others? How would you go about doing this?
  47. What emotion do you often tap into and is most familiar to you (e.g., worry, anger, frustration, etc.)? If you were to look more in depth and beneath that feeling, what might you find (e.g., sadness, disappointment, etc.)? Are you willing to go there? Why or why not?
  48. What was the most challenging circumstance that you had to experience, that profoundly impacted and changed your life? In what way did it affect you? What did you learn from it?
  49. What is the one rule that you hope or wished for that everyone lived by in order to live a more meaningful life? What are you doing to change or reconstruct this rule in your life or in society in general?
  50. What regret do you have that you wish you can change? Have you learned from it going forward? What have you learned?
  51. Are there times like you feel like giving up? What leads you to that state? What helps you out of your rut?
  52. What’s your strengths and best qualities? What contributed to the formation of it? How could you continue fostering them?

You are the architect of your owner destiny; you are the master of your own fate; you are behind the steering wheel of your life. There are no limitations to what you can do, have, or be. Accept the limitations you place on yourself by your own thinking.

Take Care Of Yourself

14 Tips On How To Travel Italy Like A Local

14 Tips On How To Travel Italy Like A Local – original author & creator of content

Vernazza in Cinque Terre PHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

In many parts of the world, tourists are treated differently than locals. If there are ways you can adopt the local customs, you’ll be able to have an authentic experience and have a better understanding of the culture. When I think of places that culture lovers enjoy most and where people dream to visit, I immediately think of Italy. It’s on the top of most people’s bucket lists and even those who have been to Italy dream of returning. It’s easy to see why, Italy is beautiful and has it all –including history, art, architecture, food and wine. Beyond checking off the major tourist sites like the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, people visit Italy to experience the Italian way of life. With a unique set of customs, traveling in Italy is a much better experience when you have some knowledge and insights from a local.

Recently, I connected with Greta Omoboni, an Italian born and raised in Milan and Sardinia, Italy. Greta is a millennial who offers travel advice on her blog called Greta’s Travels which has articles on things to do throughout Italy like Venice, Milan, Tuscany, Rome, and more. I asked Greta to share tips on how to travel like a local – covering all the do’s and don’ts like when and how to eat in Italy. Save yourself from any potential embarrassment the next time you’re in Italy and read Greta’s 14 ways to travel like a local. For more information on Italy, you can visit the Italian Tourism website.

1. Greet everyone with two kisses

Regardless of age, gender and how well you know them, when you meet someone you greet them with two kisses, one on each cheek. Italians are very affectionate people and aren’t afraid to burst your personal space bubble to say hello. Two kisses are the common greeting in Italy and anything less will just look awkward.

2. Don’t order a cappuccino after 11 AM

Cappuccino is strictly a breakfast drink. If you order one anytime after 11 AM, especially with a meal, people will think you’re either weird or had a huge night out and only just woke up.

VenicePHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

3. ENJOY A MID-AFTERNOON “RIPOSINO”

Foreigners often complain about shops closing at lunch break. Unfortunately, that is the reality of things in Italy, especially in summer. The stifling noon heat makes everybody hide from the sun during the hottest hours of the day. Take a “riposino” (a nap) and try again after 4pm, you will have better chances of finding open shops.

4. Don’t put ketchup on pasta or pizza

Every time you ask for ketchup in a restaurant you break an Italian chef’s heart. Ketchup is totally acceptable on a burger or fries, but if you put it on pasta or a pizza you will stand out like a sore thumb in Italy and earn yourself some disapproving nods from the people at nearby tables.

5. Start your day with a sweet breakfast

The classic Italian breakfast is a sweet pastry of some sort, a coffee or cappuccino and occasionally orange juice. Most hotels and restaurants won’t even serve a cooked savoury breakfast. So, embrace the start of your new Italian day by heading to the closest bar and ordering “un caffé” to drink at the counter with your croissant and orange juice.

Manarola in Cinque TerrePHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

6. Dress up

This isn’t just a stereotype, Italians like to dress well. Despite some Italians being casual, the majority are well dressed. So, on your next trip to Italy show off that new dress or pair of sunglasses and you will blend right in with the fashionable locals, especially in Milan.

7. Don’t visit in summer

Summer is the worst time to visit Italy and when a lot of Italians leave the country. With the school holidays and nice weather, tourists from all around the world flock to Italy, making all the prices skyrocket. If you’re visiting a city like Rome or Milan, the Italian heat combined with the crowds will make it a particularly unpleasant experience. Instead, try to visit in spring or autumn, when the weather is still mild, the prices cheaper and places not as overcrowded. Early June is ideal, when the days are still long and the prospect of the upcoming summer puts everyone in a good mood.

8. Don’t stand in lines

Italians have a special way of queuing, they try to avoid it where possible. You will find there are informal queues everywhere you go – whether you’re buying a ticket at the cinema, ordering food at McDonalds, or waiting to board a plane. Lines resemble more of a mob instead of an orderly line. This is normal in Italy and you have to learn to make the most of it if you don’t want the worst seat on the plane. Wiggle your way to the front and stand with the attitude as if that is your rightful spot in the queue. People will rarely challenge you, mostly because to be at the front with you they probably also cut the queue.

Greta Omoboni on a gondola boat tour in VenicePHOTO COURTESY OF CRISTINA FIORENTINI

9. Embrace the “aperitivo” way of life

In case you didn’t know already, Italians love food. Since three meals a day aren’t enough for us to properly enjoy all our tasty cuisine, we decided to add a meal between lunch and dinner; the glorious “aperitivo”. Intended as a pre-dinner this can often turn into a full-on dinner depending on where you are. If you sit down for an aperitivo between 5pm and 8pm, most bars will bring you crisps, pizzas and all sorts of snacks and nibbles with your Aperol Spritz (the aperitivo drink by definition). A lot of places have evolved into the “aperi-cena” where with 10 EUR you can get a drink and an all you can eat buffet. Aperitivo is usually the most common type of social hangout and if you want to really blend in in Italy, consider trying one out.

10. Stop and talk to people

In Italy, no one is in a rush. Regardless of what commitments you may have, if you bump into someone you know in the middle of the street, you stop for a chat. Yes, you might be late for your restaurant reservation, but chatting with the locals is important to better understanding the local way of life and generally people run late anyway. Be polite when someone says hello and remember the phrase “buona giornata” which means “have a good day” when you say bye.

11. Drink only water, wine or beer with meals

Both at home or in restaurants the most common drinks will always be water, beer or wine. Most restaurants don’t serve cocktails. Children can drink sodas with meals but adults should steer clear as it’s perceived to cover up the taste of the food whereas water will allow you to properly enjoy your meal.

Vernazza in Cinque TerrePHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

12. Do things later

Everything happens later in Italy. You wake up later, have lunch and dinner later, and go to bed later. If you ask your new Italian friends to have dinner any earlier than 7 PM they will look at you in horror.

13. Speak with your hands

Once again, this isn’t just a stereotype. Italians gesture a lot while talking, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We find it adds to the conversation, especially if you’re explaining directions. Give it a go, next time you talk to someone in Italy, throw in some hand gestures for good measure – it will make you easier to understand!

14. Have your coffee at the counter

In Italy, if you order a coffee at the counter you will never pay more than 1 EUR, 1.50 at most. However, if you sit down at a table they can charge you as much as they want because of cost of service to bring it to you. In prime tourist spots such as Piazza Duomo in Milan or Piazza San Marco in Venice this can be even more than 5 EUR. Be like the Italians and save yourself some cash by having your coffee on the go at the counter. You can order it by saying “un caffè per favore”.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/monicahoughton/2018/01/16/14-tips-on-how-to-travel-italy-like-a-local/#716a0b1c6b62

7 steps to a more productive morning

7 steps to a more productive morning
– by Josh Steimle

 

 

When you hear someone talk about mornings, what comes to mind? Do you picture peace and serenity with a warm cup of coffee in one hand and a computer mouse in the other – fervently getting a head start on the day’s tasks? Or do you imagine hitting the snooze button, rolling out of bed, and hastily grabbing a breakfast bar before getting in the car and racing to the office?

When discussing the topic of mornings with people, you’ll get passionate responses and beliefs. There are those who believe mornings are meant for productivity and output. And then there are those who feel like mornings are meant for sleep and idleness. And while there’s a time for both, rarely do you meet successful people who opt for the snooze button over starting the day a few minutes early.

For decades people have said, “the early bird gets the worm.” For many years, this has been nothing more than opinion; however, we’ve recently been inundated with a number of studies that justify the validity of this saying.

Take a 2012 study published in the American Psychological Association journal, Emotion. The study worked with more than 700 people ranging in age from 17 to 79 and showed that early risers report feeling happier and healthier than self-proclaimed night owls.

But why exactly is this true? One theory is that the 8-5 workday structure is oriented around mornings. Morning people tend to procrastinate less and have a proclivity for being proactive.

Christopher Randler, a biology professor who has had some of his work published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, has noticed that, “[morning people] tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges which then leads to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive.”

By the way, this doesn’t mean night owls are bums. Throughout history, there has been a demand for people who are productive at night. It all started with manning watchtowers and is now carried out in the form of night shifts for 24/7 businesses.  And as Randler tells the Harvard Business Review: “Evening types may no longer serve as our midnight lookouts, but their intelligence, creativity, humor, and extroversion are huge potential benefits to the organization.”

With that being said, morning people — on average – tend to be more productive and efficient, especially in a society that is heavily structured around the hours before lunch.

Have a productive morning with these seven tips

Is there hope for night owls who desperately want to enjoy the benefits of morning productivity? While Randler notes that half of each individual’s chronotype is determined by genetics, the other half can be manipulated by conscientious choices.

So, here are some tips that both early worms and night owls can use to become more productive on a daily basis.

1. Prepare the night before

Best selling author and productivity expert Michael Hyatt’s recommends sleeping more to get more done, and his first tip for a good night’s rest and great morning starts the afternoon before by avoiding caffeinated drinks, especially after 4:00 p.m. “In my 20s for sure, but even in my 30s, I could drink a full cup of coffee at 9:00 at night and go right to sleep. It didn’t faze me at all,” he says “But I noticed when I started getting into my 40s that I started developing some sensitivity so that if I had caffeine in the evening… I wouldn’t get to sleep until 2:00 in the morning.”

“Set your intention for waking up, before you go to bed,” recommends Hal Elrod, author of the best selling book The Miracle Morning. He recommends deciding every night to create a positive expectation for when you wake up in the morning. Some people do this by listing three big things they want to accomplish the next day and making a plan for how they’ll get them done first thing in the morning.

If you exercise in the morning (which you should, see #5 below), then prepare your exercise gear the night before so it’s ready to go.

2. Get a good night’s sleep

A productive morning includes adequate rest, which means quantity andquality. While most people think about a good night’s sleep in terms of the number of hours they get, this is just one part of the equation.

Quality sleep depends on having the right sleeping environment and getting an adequate amount of undisturbed sleep. Minimizing artificial light from screens an hour or two before going to bed and leaving your phone outside your bedroom are two quick tips to improve your sleep.

Another is to have a consistent sleep schedule. “This is key!” says Shawn Stevenson, author of Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success. “You can literally get amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping at the right hours. It’s been shown that humans get the most significant hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. This is what I call ‘Money Time’.”

One issue for many people is that they sleep on the wrong mattress. Your mattress is where you spend a third of your life and it can have a big effect on the other two thirds when you’re not horizontal. Spend time evaluating your current situation and identifying the best mattress for your specific needs. A lot of new mattresses have come on the market in the past few years and competition has pushed quality up and prices down. You can get a high-tech gel mattress from mattress maker Purple for just $1,000, which might sound like a lot until you shop around and see that similar mattresses are going for thousands.

3. Wake Up in the Right Manner

How you wake up can have a major impact on your first few waking hours. If a blaring alarm clock leaves you feeling agitated, perhaps you should try a more gentle approach.

There are lots of alarm alternatives, including natural light simulations that mimic a sunrise or the Kello “smart” alarm clock that connects to an app on your phone that acts like a morning coach and integrates with services like Spotify and Soundcloud. If you can’t stand getting out of bed and stepping on cold floors, then have a pair of warm slippers waiting for you. Whatever your biggest pain point is, there’s a way to overcome it.

Immediately after getting out bed, start with something you’re passionate about. This could be reading, writing, or playing with your dog. “As humans, we are most disciplined in the things we are most passionate about,” writer Kalen Bruce says. “Start your day with something you’re passionate about and you’ll be much more likely to get up and do it.”

4. Eat a real breakfast

Your parents always told you to eat a good, healthy breakfast in the morning if you wanted to perform well during the day – and it looks like this is more than just parental wisdom. Multiple studies have validated this idea, connecting a healthy breakfast to lower BMI, less fat consumption throughout the day, and having better memory and focus throughout the day.

As Eliza Martinez of LiveStrong.com says, “Eating first thing not only improves your concentration and ability to remember, but it also helps control the number on the scale. When you skip breakfast, your body goes into fasting mode, which increases your insulin response and, in turn, causes your body to store more fat.”

And remember, a real breakfast doesn’t come in the form of a breakfast bar or something greasy from a fast food restaurant. Instead, go for oatmeal with fresh fruit or a fruit and veggie smoothie.

5. Exercise

“Exercise has been touted to do everything from treat depression to improve memory, with the power to cure a host of problems while preventing even more,” researcher MK McGovern notes. “In particular, exercise leads to the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental. Additionally, it is one of the few ways scientists have found to generate new neurons.”

While you can get exercise whenever you want, an early-morning routine can help wake you up and release neurotransmitters that will carry you through the rest of the day. And you don’t need an hour-long workout – just 15-30 minutes will do.

6. Tackle the hardest task on your agenda

We all have tasks that we enjoy doing and those that we’d prefer not to deal with. Make it your priority to tackle the most difficult, least interesting task first. By completing this task early in the morning, you can free up your schedule and change your entire outlook on the day. Instead of dreading certain things, you’re able to enjoy your time.

7. Set some goals for the day

Before you really get into the “meat” of your daily routine, spend a few minutes in the morning setting goals for your day. This may be a list of mental goals, or it could be a physical checklist that you write down. The important thing is that have a plan and you’re managing your time, rather than letting your email inbox manage it for you. This will help you maximize productivity for the remaining hours of the day.

Anyone Can Become a Morning Person

We all have our own natural tendencies. Some are drawn towards nighttime, while others prefer to enjoy their mornings. But the reality is that anyone can train themselves to maximize their morning output by putting into practice habits that squash procrastination and elevate productivity.

Learn from those around you and develop a routine that works for you.

When you hear someone talk about mornings, what comes to mind? Do you picture peace and serenity with a warm cup of coffee in one hand and a computer mouse in the other – fervently getting a head start on the day’s tasks? Or do you imagine hitting the snooze button, rolling out of bed, and hastily grabbing a breakfast bar before getting in the car and racing to the office?

When discussing the topic of mornings with people, you’ll get passionate responses and beliefs. There are those who believe mornings are meant for productivity and output. And then there are those who feel like mornings are meant for sleep and idleness. And while there’s a time for both, rarely do you meet successful people who opt for the snooze button over starting the day a few minutes early.

For decades people have said, “the early bird gets the worm.” For many years, this has been nothing more than opinion; however, we’ve recently been inundated with a number of studies that justify the validity of this saying.

Take a 2012 study published in the American Psychological Association journal, Emotion. The study worked with more than 700 people ranging in age from 17 to 79 and showed that early risers report feeling happier and healthier than self-proclaimed night owls.

But why exactly is this true? One theory is that the 8-5 workday structure is oriented around mornings. Morning people tend to procrastinate less and have a proclivity for being proactive.

Christopher Randler, a biology professor who has had some of his work published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, has noticed that, “[morning people] tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges which then leads to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive.”

By the way, this doesn’t mean night owls are bums. Throughout history, there has been a demand for people who are productive at night. It all started with manning watchtowers and is now carried out in the form of night shifts for 24/7 businesses.  And as Randler tells the Harvard Business Review: “Evening types may no longer serve as our midnight lookouts, but their intelligence, creativity, humor, and extroversion are huge potential benefits to the organization.”

With that being said, morning people — on average – tend to be more productive and efficient, especially in a society that is heavily structured around the hours before lunch.

Have a productive morning with these seven tips

Is there hope for night owls who desperately want to enjoy the benefits of morning productivity? While Randler notes that half of each individual’s chronotype is determined by genetics, the other half can be manipulated by conscientious choices.

So, here are some tips that both early worms and night owls can use to become more productive on a daily basis.