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8 Successful People Share the First Thing They Do In the Morning

Adjust your a.m. routine accordingly.

The way you structure your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day, whether you’re an a.m. exerciser or you prefer a more mellow start. From an Olympic gold medalist to a master chef, here’s how 8 successful people kickstart their mornings.

1. Aarón Sánchez, Award-Winning Chef and TV Personality

From Sánchez’s Thrive Questionnaire

“Right when I wake up, I like to set the tone for my day by putting on music and lighting an incense. I generally put on something relaxing and soulful like Alabama Shakes or Amos Lee. The sounds and scents you surround yourself with have a huge impact on your state of mind, so I like to have Nag Champa or a smell of something bold and earthy to start my day. I have a very hectic schedule many days, so this is my time to create a calming environment for me to prepare myself for what the day will bring. It feels very sacred to me, and at this point in my life, it is a ritual.”

2. Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

From Branson’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I play tennis and if the wind is up go kite-surfing. Then spend time with my family — this puts me in a great mind frame for the rest of the day.”

3. Megha Mittal, Chairman of Escada

From Mittal’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I check my SMS (only) to see if there are any changes to my morning schedule before heading off to the gym. I do not check my email. I weaned myself off it so that when I am in the gym I have a clear head instead of thinking about work issues.”

4. Nastia Liukin, Olympic Gold Medalist and Co-Founder of Grander Sports

From Liukin’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I head downstairs and drink a glass of water with lemon. Then my fiancé and I make a Bulletproof coffee. We love taking time in the morning to set an intention for the day. Whether that means writing in our journals, reading a book (currently reading Thrive by Ariana Huffington!) or just discussing our goals together. Then we get to our phones and check texts, emails, and of course social media.” 

5. Daniel Boulud, World Renowned Chef and Restaurateur

From Boulud’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I wear contacts, so I put my glasses on. And then I go to my son’s bedroom and see how he’s doing. Unless I have an alarm clock and then the first thing I do is shut that off and go back to sleep.”

6. Dempsey Marks, Personal Trainer and Creator of PREGAME FIT

From Marks’ Thrive Questionnaire

“Even before I get out of bed, I make an effort to start my day on a positive note by thinking about something I’m grateful for or that makes me happy. It could be something small, like a nice text a co-worker sent me, or something bigger, like my friend who flew 3,000 miles to surprise me on my birthday. Our minds are so powerful, which is why I try to keep my thoughts positive. Gratitude is essential. There’s a silver lining in every situation, you just have to know to look for it.”

7. TJ ManotocEarly Edition Anchor

From Manotoc’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I anchor ANC’s (ABS-CBN News Channel) morning show called Early Edition from 5:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. So that means I’m up at 4 a.m. Clearly I need to be efficient with my time right away from the moment I wake up. The first thing I do is gently make my side of my bed, without waking up my wife. I think of things I am grateful for.”

8. Srinivas Rao, Host and Founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast

From Rao’s Thrive Questionnaire

“I write 3 things I’m grateful for my in gratitude journal. Then I brush my teeth, meditate for 10-20 minutes, read for 30 minutes, and write 1000 words.”

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