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The 7 Rituals of Highly Successful People

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7 Rituals of Highly Successful People

All successful and productive people use rituals. They are the tiny, invisible routines and collections of habits that these people do every single day to make sure that they get things done, that they don’t get interrupted, and that they can sustainably move towards their goals, one day at a time.

Let’s get right into what the 7 Rituals are.

1. Waking Up Early

Waking Up Early

One of the key traits of modern-day successful people is that they are morning owls. They wake up early – sometimes it’s as the sun comes up at 6am. Sometimes, it’s even earlier… as early as 4am in some cases.

There have been endless arguments about whether people who wake up early or people who are night owls are more productive or successful, and there are always exceptions to the rule. While we definitely lean towards the “wake up early” camp, the best way to find out for yourself is to test it – try a month of early starts, and a month of late starts, and see which yields you the best results.

To get you started, here’s how these highly successful people wake up so early every single day:

  1. They set up the night before correctly.
  2. They optimize their sleeping conditions.
  3. They implement a Morning Ritual (see below).

When you do these 3 things, getting up at 4am, 5am or 6am is no challenge at all. And as a result, you have more time in the morning to exercise, to do other key rituals, to spend with your family, or even to get to work early. In fact, a key benefit that we commonly hear from readers and customers who have implemented this ritual is that they can “get everything [they] need to get done before noon”.

The reason for this is simple: in the morning, others are usually not awake – so there are no phone calls, emails or interruptions to sidetrack you from getting your key things done.

This allows you to start your days extremely STRONG, and the momentum will carry you through almost any challenge that comes up.

You see, while the collective consciousness of late-starters are still dragging themselves out of bed and towards the door, you’re already out in the fresh air and sprinting ahead.

Which would you prefer – struggling to get in to work by 9am, not really waking up until 10am and then feeling lethargic after lunch? Or getting 2-3 power hours in before 9am, continuing through to noon and then being able to take it easy in the afternoon?

2. Morning Ritual

Morning Ritual

The Morning Ritual or Morning Routine is another staple of productive people. It describes the default set of actions that you take from the time that you wake up in the morning, to the time that you are ready to start your day.

It involves 6 simple steps, and to find out more about what they are, download your free guide here:

Get Started with the Morning Ritual

Download “The One Ritual”, our FREE guide to the Morning Ritual

The benefits of the morning ritual are many.

It guarantees that you will go from groggy to awake by the end of it. So even if you wake up still half-asleep with an alarm going off, and you slightly hate the world for having you wake up before the sun is up… by the time you are through the 6 steps of the morning ritual, you’ll be happy, cheerful, feeling productive and that you can take on anything – even that dreaded Most Important Task of your day.

The morning ritual also gives you perfect starts to your day, and this creates a powerful momentum in your life. Don’t underestimate the impact that this can have – when you have consistently productive and successful mornings, you start to have consistently productive and successful days, then weeks, then months, then years… and before you know it, you’ll have become that better version of yourself that you want to be.

The morning ritual lets you start your day with purpose – instead of arriving at your morning coffee with no idea what’s going to happen next.

It also streamlines your morning process and trims away anything unnecessary. This means no more 2-3 hours of fussing with clothes, your phone, your email and everything else… only to find that you’re still late for work.

With a properly structured morning ritual in place, you can be ready to go in 1-1.5 hours every morning… and know that you have the best possible advantage for beginning your days.

3. Meditation

Meditation

The third ritual of highly successful people is Meditation, or Mindfulness.

Now before you dismiss it as mystic woo-woo, meditation is actually a very powerful and practical routine that helps you create time, attention, space and focus for yourself – away from all the chaos of the world around you.

It can take many forms, from straightforward meditation, to breathing exercises, to priming, to walking, to giving yourself some much-needed solitude during the day.

The key to making meditation work is to:

  1. Find a time that works for you.
  2. Find a place that works for you.
  3. Just start doing it.

The benefits of meditation are many – a calmer mind, the ability to collect your thoughts at will, the ability to focus at will. And let’s not mention happiness, productivity, and a superpowered psychological processing engine that helps you regulate emotions, mood and the ability to manage the increasingly complex world around us.

If you know someone who’s always agitated, or angry at the world, or unable to control their emotions – they probably don’t meditate. In fact, a lot of “hyperactive” individuals who we label as “ADD” have probably just never learned to focus – and meditation can help a lot with that.

With a very wide range of methodologies, apps and information on meditation available today, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t reap the benefits of 1-2 daily meditation sessions.

4. Regular Exercise

Exercise

When asked what the secret of his success was, Richard Branson famously replied: “exercise”.

And he’s absolutely right – regular exercise is one of the rituals that all highly successful people have.

Just so there’s no misunderstanding – we are talking about physical activity that keeps our bodies fit and strong.

The great thing about exercise, is that there’s no one “right” exercise, and that there are literally hundreds of exercises you can choose from, from weight lifting, to crossfit, to cycling, to team sports, to simply going for a brisk walk.

The key thing with this ritual is to work out what it is you want to do, and then to find a timeslot for it in your schedule… and then do whatever it takes to make sure that you show up.

The benefits are more than can be described in words, from a sense of health and youthfulness, to increased physical and mental energy, to wellbeing, to productivity… to success.

There is an endless snowball of benefits that come from a properly implemented exercise ritual – it makes all your other rituals and habits stronger and it helps you build ongoing self-discipline. It also releases a spectrum of natural hormones and feel-good chemistry into your system, which makes in self-reinforcing over time. This means you’ll live longer, be able to do more and be more awesome – what’s not to love?

It isn’t a difficult choice – you can be lethargic, overweight, worried about the spare tire forming around your mid-section and feel unfit, unhealthy and generally terrible… or you can be fit, healthy, in-control and feeling like you can take on anything the world throws at you!

5. Structural Productivity

Structural Productivity

The next ritual of highly successful people we call Structural Productivity, and it is also known as “planning your day”.

The reason we call it “structural” productivity, is because the ritual involves setting up a time-based structure and schedule for your days… and by simply doing this (and following the schedule), you automatically become productive.

So here’s how it works. First, you find your core activities (like work and exercise) and you solidify them – you put them into your schedule. You then locate the times around these core activites, and fill them with other activities.

What this does is it highlights the things that you MUST do every single day and flags them as “non-negotiable”. It also contrasts them against the things that ARE flexible every day, and lets you know that if an emergency comes up, there are things that you can push back against.

After you implement this ritual, you’ll be able to go into every day knowing that you got most you could get done in that day. This is an extremely liberating feeling – we’re all confined by 24 hours each day, and most of us feel that we could or should be doing more. By having structural productivity in place, we know that our days are optimized and that we did the best we could… and we can be proud of that.

Structural productivity provides a real progress tracking system for our time that other people just don’t have – they’re always getting swept up in the day’s emergencies and ebbs and flows. If you’re feeling constantly overwhelmed and snowed-in by things just happening around you – you NEED structural productivity. It will restore the sense of control and order that you’re looking for.

6. Taking Breaks

Taking Breaks

This particular ritual is a bit of an odd one – it’s a ritual about NOT doing anything.

“Taking Breaks” is all about disconnecting from work, letting your mind/body rest, and then being able to come back from that and continue being productive.

You see, most people feel like that they want to “power through” the work day and get all their stuff done. But what they don’t realize is that they’re really just tired all day, trying not to fall asleep, and end up using stimulants like caffeine as a substitute for taking breaks. And that cycle of tiredness and trying to power through – that really just makes someone bitter towards their situation in life.

When you implement a proper “taking breaks” or downtime ritual, you’ll be able take breaks, know that you’ve worked enough in a given day, and (this is important), you’ll be able to pause from your work, go away, enjoy you break, and then come back and pick up exactly where you left off.

This gives you a great sense of control over your energy throughout the day, and can really prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, tired, or constantly sleepy through a tough day.

7. Evening Ritual

Evening Ritual

The final ritual of highly successful people that I want to cover here is the Evening Ritual. It is the opposite end of the Morning Ritual. Whereas a morning ritual starts your day – an evening ritual ends it. It describes the wind-down process that you go through at the end of the day to get a fantastic night of sleep.

This means no insomnia, an ability to forget about worries and stresses at the end of the day… and a great night of rest.

If you’ve ever had a long night of sleep but still wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all – it’s probably because you were lacking an evening ritual.

And all it consists of is a few key moves – from writing down any stray thoughts and open loops, to turning off your electronics after a certain time of day.

In Closing

And those are the 7 Rituals of Highly Successful people:

  1. Waking Up Early
  2. The Morning Ritual
  3. Meditation
  4. Regular Exercise
  5. Structural Productivity
  6. Taking Breaks
  7. Evening Ritual

So where do you get started? We’d recommend starting with the Morning Ritual – it’s the easiest and fastest to implement, and you’ll see the most benefits in your life from it, almost immediately. To help you with that, we’ve put together a free guide to the Morning Ritual – you can grab it here:

Get Started with the Morning Ritual

Download “The One Ritual”, our FREE guide to the Morning Ritual

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9 Comments

Posted by Jesse Logister  | July 12, 2015 at 9:30AM | Reply

This post inspired me because it made me feel that I am really on the right path.

I have been experimenting for a long time with productivity and success methods. And now I am slowly coming to a point that everything starts to shift in to place.

I totally agree on waking up early. It is a great feeling to have a head start and having most of your work done before noon. And I love that I will not get disturbed in the early hours. My ideal wake up time seems to be 6 AM but I am aiming at 5 AM.

I still need some more discipline with a returning morning ritual, meditation and exercise but I am doing great with the planning. I plan 5 priority 1 hour tasks and then continue with 5 lesser urgent tasks. After every hour I take a break in which I exercise, meditate, eat, nap etc. At the end of the day, I completed most of my work and health related tasks and I can start my evening ritual with a very satisfying feeling. Life is great when all the experimental efforts start to pay off :)

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | July 23, 2015 at 10:40PM

Thanks Jesse!

Posted by Roger Decker  | July 19, 2015 at 7:29AM | Reply

Completely agree with these — especially like #5 (structural productivity) — never quite heard it put this way, but makes sense and works!

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | July 23, 2015 at 10:41PM

Absolutely, thanks Roger!

Posted by David Humphrey  | July 21, 2015 at 1:56PM | Reply

I completely agree, I think I have created a system that not only works, but it is very effective. I think the most important thing is having the self-discipline of implementing your system everyday. It comes down to time arbitrage, utilizing a little time to create an effective system, to maximize output, and free up time in the future; the smart way. I’ve also learn to implement a little minimalism into my productivity, which helps with clarity. But, I would not be where I am in productivity, if it were not for Asian Efficiency.

David,

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | July 23, 2015 at 10:42PM

Thanks for the kind words David!

Posted by Niklas Goeke  | July 25, 2015 at 5:19AM | Reply

I love the fact that you made waking up early number 1.

I think this is the most important one.

Especially part 1 of waking up early:

“They set up the night before correctly.”

I’m noticing this more and more. Your morning is just a reflection of how your evening went.

Great to include morning and evening ritual separately as well, I like that, they are both equally important.

Good stuff!

What’s your evening ritual Aaron?

Posted by Florian Breitenbach  | August 5, 2015 at 11:42AM | Reply

I like your seven traits/habits, but as a paramedic working shifts, I find numbers 1 and 2 impossible, and 7 difficult to implement.

Any thoughts for those of us that don’t work regular Monday – Friday jobs?

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | August 10, 2015 at 6:04AM

Hey,

#1 – probably not going to be possible if you have odd waking/sleep hours.
#2 – you can do a quick/simplified “morning” ritual when you get up for your shift. I’m assuming that you have some time to get ready before you head out the door and aren’t going bed –> work straight away.
#7 – you can do a quick/simplified “evening” ritual to unwind before going to sleep.

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