Mornings matter. What you do immediately after you wake up sets the tone for the rest of your day. Successful people swear by morning rituals they rely on to tackle challenges that await. Whether you start your day with a stretch or take a few minutes to write a tentative schedule of events, positive and productive habits set you up for success.
Here are the morning routines of some of the most accomplished people in the world, from President Obama to Oprah Winfrey.
President Barack Obama is finishing his tenure in one of the hardest jobs on the planet, one where he never gets a day off and makes world-altering decisions. So, the president uses his mornings to prepare himself for the day ahead — and cuts back on sleep.
Obama sleeps just five hours a night, and when he wakes up, he makes a concerted effort not to spend time on small decisions like what to wear or eat. He’d rather save his energy for the big decisions that are always just one meeting away. The president then exercises for 45 minutes every morning, alternating between cardio and strength training.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Working out is a big part of Dwayne Johnson’s life — clearly. He wakes up before dawn every morning to begin a relentless training and diet regimen that continues throughout the day.
After having a cup of coffee, he does cardio, usually a run or training on the elliptical for 30 to 50 minutes. The movie star always keeps a strict diet, and an important habit he’s picked up is having meals prepped ahead of time — which, if you tend to eat out, could save you money on food.
Television icon Jennifer Aniston starts her day at 4:30 or 5 a.m. when she’s working. When she’s not, she stays up late and doesn’t get up until 8 or 9. She told Well + Good that she does five things in the same order every morning:
- Drink hot water with a slice of lemon
- Wash her face
- Eat breakfast
Kim Kardashian starts her day off with technology. The reality star wakes up around 6 a.m. and immediately looks at her baby monitor, Blackberry and iPhone, all of which she keeps beside her bed. She makes sure not to respond to emails, only to scroll through them. Although she chats with Kanye about the coming day and their workouts, her first real conversation is with their daughter, North, whom she checks on as soon as she gets out of bed.
Afterward, she goes for an hour run and eats some breakfast before greeting her daughter, who wakes up later. Not a bad start for someone running a multimillion-dollar empire.
Media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey is one of many celebrities to start the day with meditation. According to a video on Oprah.com, the former talk show star takes a few minutes each day before sunrise to gather herself.
Over the years, Winfrey has teamed up with Deepak Chopra to host a 21-day meditation challenge. The event helped hundreds of thousands of people meditate daily to improve personal well-being.
The entrepreneur who founded Virgin Group explained in a blog post why he’s an early riser. According to the Virgin.com piece, Branson wakes up around 5 a.m., believing that when he wakes up early, he can accomplish more during the day. Moreover, he said waking up early allows him to spend time with his family and fit exercise into his daily routine.
The man regarded as the most successful investor in the world is known to start his day by reading. Of course, Buffett does far more reading even after starting his day. The Oracle of Omaha devours not just news but materials of all kind throughout the day. In fact, Buffett reportedly spends up to 80 percent of every day reading. He recommends reading 500 pages a day.
How does the New York Times best-selling author start his day? According to one interview, Tony Robbins insists on reserving 10 minutes for himself every morning. He starts his day off thinking about things he’s grateful for. Afterward, he prays for family and friends, and then visualizes what he wants to accomplish that day.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. So, what habits have helped Her Majesty occupy the throne for more than 60 years?
“At Home with the Queen” author Brian Hoey said the queen rises each day at 7:30 a.m. She enjoys a cup of English breakfast tea and Marie cookies, reads newspapers and listens to a morning radio show.
Scott Adams — creator of the wildly popular “Dilbert” comic strip — revealed his routine for success. In an appearance on Tim Ferriss’s podcast, Adams said he sets his alarm for 5 a.m., but is up any time after 3:30. He eats the same breakfast every morning: Coffee and a protein bar. That routine, he said, keeps his body on autopilot so his brain is free for creativity.
John Paul DeJoria
Billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria is the co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products and Patron Tequila. Unlike many of the financial superstars on this list, DeJoria enjoys a deliberately slow start in the morning.
In an interview with Business Insider, he said he spends the first five minutes of his mornings relaxing. He avoids thinking about his schedule and agenda for the day, and focuses on being grateful. Afterward, he enjoys a cup of coffee or cappuccino.
Author of the best-selling book “The 4-Hour Workweek,” Tim Ferriss hosts a top-ranked podcast featuring interviews with world-class leaders and performers, from military heroes to comics. He shared his five morning rituals, which include:
- Making the bed
- Meditating for 20 minutes
- Hanging from a simple rig to decompress his spine
Ferriss also drinks a blend of black tea from China in the mornings and writes his feelings and priorities in a journal.
Michelle Gass is the chief merchandising and customer officer for Kohl’s, and she’s another business leader who believes in getting up early. A former high-ranking executive for Starbucks, Gass starts off her days with an early morning run.
Andrew Lisa contributed to the reporting for this article.