Author: Bret Gornik

You wake up each day with countless choices. What's the first decision you make?  The first thing you do is snooze the alarm once…twice…maybe five times.  Then you check your phone: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Email.  Each of these platforms is a different rabbit hole that sucks up time and energy.

In a quest for lifestyle optimization, I became very fascinated in how starting the day translates to success.  

Across my corporate peers and those in the startup game, I have surveyed the people I look up to the most on what they accomplish within the first 60 - 90 minutes of their day.  Jason and I always ask this question to our podcast guests.  I found out what the most successful people are doing in the morning to set themselves up to own the day.  As I worked my way up at two large corporations, I found that the people at the top always had very organized mornings.   

Through personal experience, I began to notice that on days where my morning was more organized, I not only felt better physically, but I accomplished more during the day.  My prepared mornings translated to more productive days, stronger workouts, more in-depth conversation throughout the day and into the evenings, and my sleep was phenomenal.

Over time, I have tried different rituals in the morning to find what works best for me.  Since my transition to Live Better full time, I need a well thought out morning to translate to a positive day.  

A morning routine improves three key aspects of the day:

1. Productivity

When you have a set schedule in the morning, your creative process flourishes.  You do not waste mental energy on making unnecessary decisions, which will slow down your flow.  

2. Clarity

Setting your morning up for success promotes good habits.  When behaviors compound on one another, your daily output skyrockets.  You won’t feel rushed, leading to feeling refreshed throughout the day.

3. Physical Health

The ability to think clearly in the morning boosts your drive to want to feel better.  You eat healthier, workout harder, and take more initiative to improve your physical well-being.

Master Your Morning

Develop your morning routine.  Take time to test different actions and record the benefits.  Follow these steps to formulate your schedule.  This is your time you’re taking care of.  Your time is valuable.  Set your day up for success.

1. Make a list of three morning goals

Mine include:

  • Journal

  • Eat

  • Plan The Day

Other objectives may include:

  • Workout

  • Cold Shower

  • Yoga

  • Read

  • Meditate

  • Listen to Music

  • Make your Lunch

2. Layer on morning “tasks”

Mine include:

  • Wash the breakfast dishes

  • Organize my bag for the day

  • Make the bed

Other tasks may include:

  • Walk the dog

  • Shower

  • Brush your teeth

  • Select your outfit


3. Quantify each goal and task by how long it takes you to complete it

Make sure to account for every item that needs to be completed.  You do not want to feel rushed, so be honest about timing.

4. Subtract this time from when you have to leave in the morning

If you need to leave for work at 7:30am and your routine adds up to an hour that puts your wake up time at 6:30am.

5. Set your alarm 10 minutes before this wake up time

An extra ten minutes is a lifesaver.  Wake up at 6:20am. You won’t regret it.

6. Make a time-ordered checklist of all these items

Have this checklist laid out on your counter, so you can check items off during the morning.

7. Test this routine for 3 weeks

Studies show it takes 21 days to form a habit.  Put this theory to test with your morning routine.

8. Update the routine based on productivity, clarity, and health every 3 weeks, until it becomes second nature.

Take note of how you feel during the day.  Do you have more energy? Are you less hungry? Do you want to do more after work?  

Then decide if need to add or subtract anything to your routine.  This may include a workout, morning journal, or walk around the block.  Test your new routine to see if you are feeling better during the day.

Be patient in developing your routine.  Make sure you seriously assess how each part of the morning is translating to actions later in the day.  Link each morning goal or task to a benefit you receive later in the day (e.g. How am I benefiting from completing my morning journal? Answer: It allows me to set an intention first thing in the morning to guide my focus for the day).

All of the most successful people I have interviewed and spoken with have a morning routine.  Although the routines are different, the common denominator is the consistency.  They all follow a pattern during the beginning part of their day that sets them up for success.  A string of successful days leads to a successful week, month, year, and life.  

Develop your routine.  Have the best day ever.