It has been said that if you win the morning, you win the day. I’m not sure who said this originally but I agree with them.

Years ago I had no morning routine. I would wake up, slowly get ready for the day and check my email before I was even dressed. I started each day already feeling behind. It wasn’t working for me.

I noticed that my most successful clients and friends had a specific morning routine. And they follow it religiously.

The reasons for a solid morning routine are strong. You’ll see increased productivity throughout the day. You’ll feel much less stress and your focus will be sharper than ever.

This happens because you’re spending time getting your mind and body right first thing. Rather than jumping or dragging yourself into the day by “catching up” on social media posts, news headlines, or the chaos of your inbox.

There’s a big misconception that your morning routine consists of waking up early and getting work done before the world is awake. You need to understand that it’s not about checking items off your to-do list. It’s about setting yourself up for success.

You may be thinking “I’m not a morning person”. Well, get ready because you’re about to be.

Here’s the mistake you want to avoid…

Most people create their morning routine by copying someone else’s. The best morning routine for you is the one you create because it’s what works best for you.

What it takes for me to set myself up for success might not be what is best for your routine. You need to test different things. If you simply copied someone else’s routine step by step, you’ll miss activities that can be a strong trigger for you.

Copying elements of someone’s routine is great. You can see how it works for you and ditch it if it doesn’t work. Keep doing this until you have your own routine rock solid.

If you’re struggling with where to start, here are the things I’ve found work best for me and for others. Try some and see how they work for you.

– Get Up Earlier

This one is the toughest but most essential to your success. You need to allow time for your routine and not start your day in a rush. Give yourself time to exercise, read, meditate, and whatever else you need to get done before you begin chasing your to-do list. You may not be a morning person, but you can train yourself to get up earlier.

– Keep Your Alarm Away

Like to hit the snooze button a time or seven? Keep your alarm on the other side of the room so that you have to get up to turn it off. You’re less likely to hit snooze and dive back into bed. Or, if you insist on having your phone next to your bed, get one of the alarm apps where you have to get up to turn it off. For example, there are alarm apps where you have to shake the phone to turn it off. Others make you turn in circles or answer a math equation before you can shut it off.

– Stretch

I’m pretty sure humans are the only species that don’t immediately stretch when they wake up. I’m sure someone knows the health and fitness benefits of stretching, but here’s what I know…it makes you wake up. You feel alive and awake and both of those help you to be more active.

– Hand Write Your Goals

Writing out your goals each day is one of the most effective things you can do. It forces you to re-focus on what it is you’re after. Too often you get caught up in the daily grind and your goals become an afterthought at best. It takes just a brief moment to write out your top 3 to 5 goals for your life and business. Do this for 30 days and notice how much your goals stay top of mind.

– Get Dressed

Get up and ready for your day right away. Not being dressed for the day tends to cause you to be lazy and slower paced about getting started. It’s hard to motivate yourself while you’re in your PJ’s. Don’t wait around. Even if your first appointment is at noon, get dressed in the morning. The day has started, act like it.

– Coffee At Home

My addiction to the sweet nectar that is coffee is real. You might be a fan of the tasty beverage yourself. Don’t waste time driving to a coffee shop only to wait in line for a cup of java. Make it at home. You can often get better coffee that you make at home and it saves a lot of time. Also, you get it in your system quicker which is the ultimate goal.

– Meditate

You don’t have to sit down with your legs crossed, arms out while humming a chant. You don’t have to light a circle of candles around you either. You just have to close your eyes and sit in silence for a short period of time. Personally, I’ve found 10 minutes of quiet and still meditation work wonders. You’ll clear your mind and gain focus.

– Read

Get your mind turning early and you’ll be more productive throughout the day. Read something that inspires you or helps you gain knowledge on achieving your goals. I like to spend a few minutes reading the Bible and then a few minutes reading an inspirational or self-improvement type of book.

– Plank

What?!? I know. But you want to do something that gets your blood flowing. You might want to do sit-ups or push-ups. I’ve found a 60-second plank to start the day helps me loosen up and get moving. You’re doing this for blood flow, not exercise. As my friend Willie Morris says, doing a plank only burns enough calories to eat an M&M.

– Start On Your Terms

This is the most important thing you can do. Don’t start your day until your morning routine is finished. This means avoid checking email, social media, and the news until you’re ready. Starting your day off checking email means you’re immediately prioritizing your day based on someone else’s terms. That’s not a recipe for success. Honor your routine by sticking with it. The world can wait for you to finish.

The best morning routine in the world is the one you create. It’s the one you’re most likely going to stick with. Create it. Do it.