How to Become Successful in Life – Morning Routine

How to Become Successful in Life - Morning Routine

My parents weren’t successful at all. I wanted to learn how to become successful in life because I wasn’t going to live the way we had lived.

I grew up, first, in Chicago’s north-side and, later, in a middle-class suburb outside of Chicago. We didn’t have much money. I remember standing in line with my father to buy a few groceries. At the checkout, he turned to ask me if I had some change because he was short by a few dollars. We had to take out the loaf of bread if I remember correctly.

Three decades later, I’ve achieved success, but my definition of success is probably much different than yours. I continue to strive daily to improve the life I have created for my family.

Do you want to know how to become successful in life? First, you have to define what success is to you. Once you’ve defined it, you have to start by creating daily success habits.

How to Become Successful in Life – Morning Routine by Tim Ferriss

In case you don’t know, Tim Ferriss is the best selling author of the 4-Hour series of books and Tools of Titans. He is the host of the new TV show Fear{Less}. He is a podcaster with a large and extremely loyal fan base (including me!) and is referred to as “the Oprah of Audio.” Tim shows people how to become successful in life.

In 2014, while preparing to retire from the Army, I discovered Tim Ferriss’s podcast. After just one episode, I was hooked and have listened to every single episode since.

Tim Ferriss has been very influential on my journey to live my life by my design. He’s provided me a framework and tools that I can easily apply to my life.

“If you win the morning, you win the day.” ~Tim Ferriss

 1. Have a Quickie

What were you thinking?

Start your day with a tiny win. An alternative is to come back to something you’ve accomplished at the end of the previous day. Why not both?

Tim Ferriss makes his bed.

I make my bed. Always. Even when I’ve stayed in hotels on my many business trips the past few years, I’ve made my bed.

In addition to making my bed, I clean my CPAP machine’s hose and the nasal piece which is a pain in the @$$ets to do.

These seemingly inconsequential wins help me get in the right frame of mind and literally give me a small sense of accomplishment.

If these small wins are too inconsequential for you, find your own small wins and stick to them daily.

2. MeditateHow to Become Successful in Life - Meditation

We’ve all heard that meditation is probably good for us. I’ve tried to meditate on many occasions but always find myself thinking about how much my nose itches and then stop.

Tim Ferriss meditates for 21 minutes with transcendental meditation or with an app like headspace.

2a. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation (TM) is purportedly an effortless technique for recharging your body and creating a positive state of mind. Many famous people practice and endorse TM.

There are hundreds of published research studies that have found that TM is highly effective at:

  • Improving brain functioning, intelligence, creativity, learning ability, academics, school behavior, efficiency, productivity, longevity
  • Reducing stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, cholesterol, metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, substance abuse, congestive heart failure, stroke
  • Rehabilitating criminals
  • Helping post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

I do not practice any meditation yet, but I’m very intrigued by TM and am seriously considering pursuing this further. My only reservation is that it costs nearly $1000 or more to learn how to properly practice transcendental meditation. This may be a lot for most people to spend, but I’ve spent thousands of dollars for graduate-level classes that have not directly improved my life on any measurable scale.

If I can improve just one area of my life, of the many benefits of transcendental meditation listed above, $1000 will be money well spent.

2b. Headspace

Headspace is a free app that you can download for your iPhone or Android device. Using Headspace may help “healthy populations suffering routine stress, and clinical populations experiencing disorders or pathology including anxiety, depression, insomnia, cancer, and chronic pain.”

Headspace appeals to me because it looks very easy to use. I like to keep things simple. Plus it’s free! 😉

I downloaded headspace onto my Moto X (literally as I write this) and plan to start using it tomorrow morning. More to follow…

2c. Guided Meditation

People who struggle to find inner peace will benefit the most from Tara Brach’s guided meditations. I listen to her to fall asleep, sometimes, because she has such a soothing voice and her words are deeply relaxing.

“Tara Brach is a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and one of the leading teachers of Buddhist thinking and meditation in the Western world.” ~Tim Ferriss

3. Drink a Fat-Plus-Stimulant Beverage

You might be thinking, “Fat? I don’t want to consume more fats!”

Unless you haven’t been paying too much attention to the latest nutrition trends, quality fat consumption is becoming more accepted as more and more research refutes the old notion of avoiding fats.

Tim Ferriss drinks a concoction of Pu’er tea and a healthy fat like coconut oil, butter, or C8 (Caprylic Acid). For variety, he might mix the Pu’er tea with green tea or add some turmeric and ginger.

Decaffeinate Your Tea (1:02): The first steep removes most of the caffeine in your tea. Steep a second or third time, to consume less caffeine.

From 2014 to 2015, I was on a ketogenic diet for one year. I can state for a fact that I was healthy because the lab work from my annual physicals proved it. My brain fog–what was I writing about? Oh yeah–went away and I could think with a lot more clarity. Noticeably so.

I also shed some pounds … too many pounds in fact … I couldn’t keep them on and that’s a bad thing when you’re wanting to put on muscle!

Note: I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on TV. Most people seem to thrive on high-fat, moderate protein, and low carb diets. However, there are some people who have seen significant increases in cholesterol by following such a diet. See your doctor and nutritionist if you’re contemplating any changes to your current, healthy eating habits. 😉

I’ve decided to drink more gourmet coffee 🙂 with one to two tablespoons of healthy fat like Kerry Gold butter or coconut oil.

I love coffee, and I’m not talking about Folgers or Maxwell House. I’m talking about some good gourmet coffee like Illy or Lavazza, just to name a few.

4. Journal

You may not be much of a writer. I’ve discovered that I love writing … just not on paper. When I’m asked to sign my credit card receipts, sometimes I can barely do that without shaking. I prefer to type.

Tim Ferriss actually writes in a journal every morning.

Starting Monday, July 10, 2017, I’m going to physically write in a journal what I plan to accomplish that day and what I did or did not accomplish the previous day.

5. Practice Gratitude

I’ve been practicing gratitude for the last several years. It’s not always easy to do, especially when you’re raising two little girls who bicker all the time because they each want what the other has.

But I know it works. I’ve had a pretty challenging life, and so have you, probably. I’ve learned to focus on the positive side of everything I’ve experienced. People who are upset or depressed get stuck on the negative side and often choose not to see a different side to an event.

Tim Ferriss writes down what he’s grateful for in his morning journal.

Instead of just thinking about how grateful I am, I’m going to start writing down one thing I’m grateful for daily with an explanation. Also, I’m going to explain how I plan to practice gratitude throughout the day.

My journal is going to be a record of my morning routine.

Do You Have a Morning Routine?

Please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Nice blog! I meditate usually while doing housework, eating or walking and even at work. Just by being present in every moment is a good way of meditating. So perhaps doing it while making the bed in the morning and cleaning the CPAP will be a good start 🙂
    I also find training like qi gong or yoga to be relaxing for the mind.

    1. I want to start doing yoga, but my one experience with it left a bad taste in my mouth. I did the P90X yoga session on the very first P90X program. It might have been disc 10. I didn’t last but 20 minutes. I just need to find something simple to start off with, and I think that’s the key for most exercise, fitness, self-improvement programs. Find something that’s simple but effective. That’s why I like Headspace. It’s been very easy to follow. I don’t know how effective it is, yet, because I’ve only been doing it for a week or so. I’ve heard about qi gong… no idea what it is exactly though.

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it!

  2. Nice post! I found Headspace’s voice a little annoying. I meditate a few times a week and only for 10 minutes each time, but it would be great to work up to daily for 20 minutes. I also have a CPAP machine haha, it’s very annoying to clean the equipment! I just recently got diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea during my pregnancy- my husband is so grateful that I don’t snore anymore. Tim Ferriss is like the king of productivity and efficiency, just recently read his book The 4-Hour Work Week.

    1. Sorry to hear that you find his voice annoying. I actually like it. Have you tried listening to Tara Brach? She’s a pro at this, but she puts me to sleep like I stated. So far, the meditating has been easy but the first few days are only for 3 minutes.

      I’ve never met a woman with sleep apnea and a CPAP before. NICE TO MEET YOU! My sleep apnea is severe obstructive. It is primarily caused by my allergic rhinitis which causes everything to swell (nearly shut). I’m just grateful that I’ve been able to sleep since I started using it five years ago.

      Tim Ferriss is the best. I love everything that he does and need to re-read his books.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hey Darren:

    Wonderful post, dude! I loved the ideas you’ve presented. I’ve tried most of them at some point or other (except that Head Space thing, which may be overkill since I already have a meditation practice).

    My own favorites are the gratitude attitude and, as a dyed-in-the-wool writer, the journaling. Starting out the day feeling thankful and getting my thoughts spread out and looking at them all just feels good.

    And when you feel good, I’m finding, good comes and finds you.

    1. Glad you loved it! I really needed something like headspace. So far, so good, because it’s so easy to use. I’m not really sure how meditation is impacting me, but if most uber-successful people meditate, I’m willing to give it a try. I’m not a fan of physically writing, though, so am going back to typing. I’ve decided to use Evernote to track my journaling.

      Thanks for commenting!


  4. Nice list Darren. I need to try Headspace. The founder spoke at Hustlecon last year in Oakland and I liked the idea.

    I’m a morning person due to the stock market opening up at 6:30am.

    Let me think of a morning win. Maybe clean the sink countertop and bedside table.

    Leaving my job was the best stress-relieving thing to do. I’m 40 now, and feel great. No gray hairs and have maintained my body weight since 25.


    1. Sam!

      I just tried Headspace this morning for Day 1 of many more to come. I like it. It’s easy and it’s guided, which is what I need. I didn’t even think about itching my nose too much. Give it a try.

      LOL…cleaning the sink is good. I’ll turn 44 this Aug, and I’m committed to getting in the best shape of my life. I want to be that 70-year old grandpa at the gym who looks like he’s 50.


  5. I’ve definitely heard and learned about the importance of a good morning routine, from what I know just about every successful person in the world has one. Over the last year or so I’ve been developing my own and so far I watch some sort of educational video during breakfast (affiliate marketing, social media marketing, SEO or something of that nature). read for 10 minutes just before I start working and of course make my bed. This works for me pretty well but I’m still looking for new ways to develop it.

    1. Hi Lyle,

      That’s great that you have one that works for you. Have you considered meditation? Do you do some form of journaling? I just started meditating this morning using the app, Headspace. So far, I like it, because it simply tells me what to do. It’s basically guided meditation via app. I’ll probably be able to stick with it.

  6. You are on the right track. Spend an hour or two with someone first thing in the morning and you will know what type of business person they are. I agree with the tiny win. But as to why you can’t meditate you might be trying to hard. Have you ever prayed or had a conversation with your inner self. Who knows, you might just discuss the agenda for the day. What ever!

    As to the layout of the post it is very appealing.It is an easy read. It begs for more.

    1. Wow! Glad you enjoyed it.

      I guess I’ve never been one to just sit still, so I’ve always struggled with meditation. Tomorrow, I’m going to try this app and I hope the guided meditation helps. I’ve also heard that Calm (app) was good, too.

      Do you meditate regularly?

  7. Great article. I don’t have a morning routine but after this article I believe I will definitely start one. I have heard many good things about having a healthy routine and now you convinced me it is. I have been trying to be great at everything I do but sometimes I get down in the dumps. I think with your advise I will be able to reach new levels.
    Thank you

    1. Glad to hear you found this article useful! If all the successful people we know have a morning routine, then we need to do what they’re doing, don’t you think? What’s your plan for a morning routine?

  8. I like Tim Ferris’s thought ‘If you win the morning, you win the day’. So far so good… I make my bed always first thing in the morning. The meditate I don’t do but I workout pretty much every morning for 45 minutes. I heard of Headspace from some of my friends and apparently it works well for them… I’ll have to download that app. I don’t drink coffee or tea and very little booze ….

    That sounds like a good plan, writing in a journal daily… I’ll have to try that. I especially like the idea of writing down what I’m grateful for.

    I do have a routine … some things I would like to change but I’m a character of habit too… great information that would fit well for me.

    Really enjoyed this… thanks!

    1. Hi Monica,

      For some people, making their bed is automatic. I’ve had to force myself for decades and it’s still a struggle sometimes…

      I’d love to say I’ll work out every morning, but then I’ll let the other tasks on my list go. You’re dedicated.

      The journaling is something I’ve been terrible at maintaining. I’ll start and stop. I figure if I post this publicly and revisit my results every month, I’ll be forced to make it a habit. Either that, or I’ll have to change my morning routine!

      What do you want to change about your morning routine if you care to share?

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