Three Morning Habits all Leaders should Cultivate

Sleeping women

A leader’s most important time is in the morning. What you do between waking up and leaving for work (the start of the day) will greatly impact the rest of your day. Certain morning habit have the power to increase your personal productivity and effectiveness. This is why you must form the right habits. Morning habits that will allow you to win during your day include: filling your inward cup, choosing healthy food & drink options, and planning for the day. Let’s dive into each of those:

1. The habit of filling your inward cup

Leaders should take the time in the morning to fill their spirit, soul, heart, and mind with the good and positive. Galatians 6:7 provides this truth, “for whatever a man (or women) sows, this he will also reap.” Buddha said, “The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?”

What you “sow” or “plant” in the morning time will come out during the rest of your day. This is why the morning habit of filling your inner cup or life is so crucial. It will impact your personal performance and those around you. Filling your inner cup can include: consuming spiritual or personal growth content, silence or meditation, or prayer or speaking positive affirmations. These are only a few ideas on how to fill your inner cup. Find what works for you and every morning take the time to fill your inner cup.

2. The habits of eating healthy food options

What you consume will affect your body and overall well-being. The best leader have the habit of choosing healthy food and drink options. They know when they maintain the habit of consuming healthy options the results are higher levels of energy, concentration, motivation, and awareness. In turn this allows them to be more productive and effective while performing in their leadership role.

While I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, you should limit eating foods with a high amount of fat  or sugar. Several healthy breakfast options can include fruit, eggs, or oatmeal (not instant). You should drink a lot of water during the morning while avoiding drinks with a large amount of sugar. Drinking a large glass of water right after waking up helps you hydrate your body and provides a natural energy boost (Try it).

To start forming this habit you should plan your morning meals and watch what you purchase while shopping at the grocery store. In Eat. Move. Sleep author Tom Rath said, “The most influential choices you make for your health occur in the grocery store. Once you put something in your cart, good or bad, it is likely to end up in your stomach.” Deliberately chose healthy options when shopping for food and be smart about what you eat or drink.

3. The habit of planning

Properly planning in the morning can allow you to maximize your time during your day. Planning can help you make the most from every minutes of your day. This positions you to achieve small daily wins which will compound to monumental levels of success. You first need to know and keep your desired future or outcome in mind by determining the huge project or goal you want to achieve. Make sure they are within your areas of personal strengths as well as being closely connected to your life purpose, dreams, and vision.

One you determine your huge project or goal you will want to work backward. Break it down into daily tasks or goals. Then choose and concentrate on the 3-5 smaller tasks that you will work on during each given day. Those which will allow you to make the most progress toward the achievement of your huge project or goal.

For example if you want to lose 40 pounds of weight you will need to plan your day around making progress on that goal, to plan healthy eating options and to regularly work out. Or if you want to write a book you will need to plan tasks which will allow you to achieve a finished book, to plan your day so you will write, research, and reflect on the book. The key is to take time in the morning to determine the action steps you will take, then getting to work on them.

Questions: What morning habits position you to win during the day? Which of these three habits do you need to form?

Subscribe to Dan Black on Leadership to receive fresh leadership content delivered to you inbox (2-3 times a week). PLUS two free quote books. All you need to do is to enter your email in the box below then push “Subscribe”:

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Since I am a morning person I would add: get up. Don’t stay in bed. Don’t stay up late so you can get up early enough to get work done. I get to the office at 5 so I can have some uninterrupted time before the secretary and youth pastor get here.

    • Great point Bill. If I don’t force myself out of bed in the morning, I tend to stay in bed for longer than I should. It’s a daily battle:) You have a good habit going for you.

  • And I would add, make a habit of not checking your e-mail or getting on social media until you’ve completed these three at least!

    • I totally agree, Caleb! We can’t allow those things to distract us. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • I think it’s helpful to establish a morning ritual of sorts – not just a collection of random habits but a series flowing from one to the other. For me, that’s a little personal care (washing face, restroom, etc.), grabbing some coffee and a big jug of water, having a devotional, and then getting to the most important parts of my work before heading off to the gym in about two hours. I find that planning works best for me the night before.

    • It sounds like you have good morning habits! All the ingredients to start your day off on the right foot. Thank you for sharing your morning rituals.

  • Dan, thanks for the reminder about this issue. For the longest time I just thought of myself as a night owl since that’s how I’m wired up. But more recently I’ve started to be intentional about getting up early, and it makes a huge difference. I find that the longer I stay up at night, the less productive I become.

    • Your welcome:) I’ve had those same thoughts and at times struggle with going to bed early so I can rise early. It’s a challenge for me. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • Great post Dan. My life really changed two years ago when I made myself become a morning person;) love the list buddy;)

    • That’s great to hear, Zech. Your work shows evidence of it:) Thank you for sharing about your experience.

    • Bobbie Morgan

      my life changed 2b years ago as well, n not so much a morning lady, butsure do miss my dear friend zech newman tho! 😉

  • Great suggestions, Dan. I do all of them most mornings. I fully believe in the importance of daily habits like these becoming non-negotiables. This quote from Aristotle fits well with your point: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

    • Powerful quote! It’s about consistently doing/implementing the right habits. Thank you for adding value to the comment section.

  • I’m a planner. In fact, I tend to have back up plans for my back up plans!
    One thing I’m learning to do is be more flexible. To be open to how God wants to change my plans and work in my life.

    To be honest, I’m not much of a morning person, but having a kid forces me to embrace all the potential and possibility each morning brings. I try and implement all the suggestions you’ve mentioned.
    Great post.

    • We need to plan but we defiantly do need to be flexible. Especially when God tells us to do something that is not on our to-do list. Having a kid also helped me become a morning person, they force me to get up:) Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Rats! I thought you were going to tell us to hit the snooze button and get a few more winks of sleep! Oh well, I guess your real advice is better than that. :) The planning one is the one I need to work on! I’m getting better at planning by the week and month, but need to translate that to the day. It’s hardest on the days I have a bunch of little unrelated things to do.

    • Ha, I wish:) It’s easier to achieve a big goal when it is broken down into daily tasks. I’m sure you will get better at planning. Thank you for adding to the discussion (and making me laugh).

  • Great post, Dan!
    I am doing almost all things.
    1.When I wake up, I start reading non-fiction.

    2.Then I am going to exercising. I don’t have a breakfast. I am on the diet called IF(Intermittent Fasting). But it’s not for everyone. In the morning, I recommend eating meals with good fat(butter, avocado, eggs, some nuts, cream or shredding coconut). If you eat meals with good fat, you will have much more energy and you won’t be hungry for about 6 hours. I don’t recommend eating carbs, maybe with lots of good fat.

    3.I always plan my next day in the night before I go to bed.
    And I think it’s good idea to form a habit of going to bed early and also getting up early.

    • Thank you:)

      Great habits. I tend to plan the night before and review my plan in the morning. YES, good fat should be consumed. Thank you for sharing about your morning routines.

  • I exercise and do my most important and non-urgent task which for now, is writing. Mornings are sooo important! I’m so glad I’m getting up early consistently.

    • Sorry about the delayed reply, I some how missed your wonderful comment:) Exercise is so beneficial in the morning, it allows us to get going and get energized. Thank you for sharing.

  • Really great tips as always. I find whenever points 1 and 2 get out of sync for me, point 3 pretty much goes out of the window. Couldn’t agree more about how important the morning is and how vital it is to be intentional with it (love the gardening analogy! Definitely one I’ll be keeping in mind and using).

    One other habit I’m trying to get into, which I guess ties in with point 1, is giving time to being grateful and thankful for the good things in my life. It sets my tone for the day and is especially valuable when I know I have a busy and challenging day ahead.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Micah! I totally understand about that, if one aspect is thrown off all the others tend to do the same. Great habit to form!!! I’m sure it shifts your attitude toward the positive and good. Thank you for taking the time to add to the topic.

  • I’d like to add that a good morning habit is one that gets you into the productive mindset right away. The mornings I wake up and turn the TV on are almost always the least productive. But if I ignore the TV and go to my French learning app and go over vocab for ten minutes, I’m charged and ready to go do something more – from there I either write or take care of blog stuff or clean or do any number of other things.

    • Great first sentence! What we do in the morning really determines the rest of our day. Great way to get into the right mindset by using the French learning app. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.