“The early birds will inherit the earth.” A study in 2009 by Leipzig University concluded that “morning people were more productive than evening types”. But it’s not just about getting up early. It’s about what you do with that time.

Some of the most successful people in the world swear by their early morning rituals. So are you ready to ditch the all-nighters and get up with the dawn chorus?

Here are FIVE morning rituals that will stand you in good stead for success.

1. Get up early.

I’m sorry – it really is that simple. Set your alarm, and place your phone / alarm as far away from you as possible. Do everything you can to not to hit the Snooze button. This takes practice but it’s worth it in the long run.  Time management expert and author of “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” Laura Vanderakm reports that 90% of CEOS she polled wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays.  So this is your call to end the snoozes and the naps. Get on board with productivity – it starts early.

2. Prepare to succeed

Prepare yourself for your morning routine the night before. Remind yourself last thing at night what your plan is for the morning. Whether it’s laying out your workout gear, rolling out the yoga mat, or prepping for a healthy breakfast, this will make it a million times easier to embark on in the morning.

I like to drink 2 large glasses of water before I go to bed and this means that I am sufficiently hydrated when I wake up and I can literally bounce out of bed. The hack – or if you forget that – is to drink a pint of water in the morning when you wake up – this really helps you get going faster, and less likely to crawl back into bed.  

3. Exercise.

Get moving. This increases blood and oxygen flow and stimulates the brain. Energy also begets energy, so starting early in the day means that you are energised all day long. It also boosts feelings of self esteem and confidence through a boost in serotonin, and gives you a sense of accomplishment early in the day.  Nearly 70% of high income earners surveyed list exercise in their morning routines – for good reason. Good for the brain, good for the body, good for the bank account. Making exercise a regular part of your a.m. routine is a great way to get energized, improve blood circulation and burn fat. It also boosts your metabolism and improves your cognitive skills better than coffee does. I promise. 

4. Read.

Reading helps you prime for success – according to Tom Corley, author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals”. He finds that wealthy people (annual income over $160,000) read primarily for learning, self development and success, whereas poor people (earning less than $35,000 a year) read to be entertained. So it is time to get rid of the tabloids, social media and trashy novels, and stock your shelves with inspiring biographies, educational books in your field, and self development books.  Prepare to learn, grow and excel.

5. Write.

This is the super charged morning ritual that many people swear by (including myself). You may wish to journal, channel some of your inner author, or just make a plan for the day ahead. Gratitude journalling, such as listing out 3 or 4 things that you are grateful for, is incredibly powerful. You could also use this time to notice what is going well in your life, or what you are working towards – writing down your goals and envisioning your future success. The Morning Pages (credit to Julia Cameron) journalling technique is about filling three pages of your notebook with conscious-stream writing, which is a great way to mentally declutter, process, and sharpen your focus, as well as unlock your creativity. Whether you are brain dumping thoughts that you no longer wish to carry with you, or getting clarity on a subject you want to take forward – this is a powerful and life changing technique. 

These are all potentially life-changing rituals. 

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some examples of super successful morning ritual people:

  • Arianna Huffington starts each day with yoga, meditation and intention setting
  • Richard Branson (Virgin founder) schedules his daily early morning exercise
  • Barack Obama has a daily cardio workout
  • Jack Dorset, CEO & Founder of Twitter, meditates and enjoys a 6 mile jog each day
  • Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour wakes at 5:45am to play an hour of tennis before work
  • Oprah starts the day with 20 minutes of meditation and a run on the treadmill.

When it comes to morning rituals, every person is different. What works for some might not work for others, so the key is to explore, experiment, and keep practicing. While it might be difficult in the beginning, the one thing the superstards don’t do is hit the snooze button and say, “not today”. The important thing is to do it, no matter what it is – the fact that you have a healthy morning routine may be more important than what that routine is.

So start small, just try it, enjoy it, and keep an eye on how life starts to change for the better.