How the most successful people start their day

Behind every successful business leader is a strict morning routine.

Some avoid checking emails until they reach the office, others sweat it out on the treadmill, while many believe in the power of rising very early.

Here are some top tips on how to start your day off on the right foot.


Take a cold dip 

Self help guru to presidents and celebrities, Tony Robbins begins his day by plunging himself in icy cold water. In his early days of success, he would endure ice baths, but these days the motivational speaker immerses himself in a whole body cryotherapy chamber.

The temperature in the chamber drops to minus 154 degrees Fahrenheit, but Robbins stays in it for a maximum three minutes.

The life coach titan Robins says the sharp drop in temperature triggers a rush of endorphins. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation.

For those of us who don’t have the luxury of a specialized tank, Robbins recommends a cold dip in a pool, or simply an ice cold shower.


Rise early

Numerous studies have found that waking early can make you happier and more productive, including a 2010 research paper by the University of Education at Heidelberg.

And some of our most famous faces clearly agree. America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Disney’s CEO, Robert Iger, are among the early risers, setting the alarm for 5am.

Starbucks’s CEO Howard Schultz gets up at 4.30am to walk his dogs, as does editor of US Vogue Anna Wintour.


Avoid email

While our natural inclination when we wake up is to check our emails, many of the most successful entrepreneurs avoid this habit.

Among them is Tumblr founder, David Karp, who does not check his email until he gets into the office at 9.30am because he believes it can be a time waster.

Best selling author of the “4-Hour Work Week”, Tim Ferris, agrees, and says you should avoid checking or sending emails before 10am because it “scrambles your priorities” for the day.

It can also put you in a reactive mood for the next few hours, he writes in his book.


Sweat it

Morning exercise remains a top priority for many successful business leaders, including Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

He hits the treadmill as soon as he gets out of bed, and while he sweats he watches the latest news or tunes in to podcasts.

US president Barack Obama begins his busy day with a cardio and weights session, often with his personal trainer in tow.

Michelle Gass, former president, Starbucks, is a devoted running, and pounds the pavement after waking at 4.30am. She believes her morning routine has helped her to achieve business success.



The power of taking time for deep breathing and meditation continues to gain momentum, especially among some of the best known high achievers, including Oprah Winfrey. Her morning routine starts with 20-minutes of meditation.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant also believes in taking time to breathe, center himself and focus for the day.

Whatever your morning routine, it is important to establish a ritual, says Ferris. It eliminates the need for any decision making because you know what has to be done when you wake. Most importantly, it sets the tone for a smooth successful day ahead.

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