We all want the secret to success. But just like a healthy body and joyful relationships, success usually requires dedication and consistency. The most important time of day to set yourself up for success is the early morning hours.

Most of the well-known people through history would awaken long before 7a.m. to start their days. Here are some common morning habits of people who take on the world.

~ Meditate

Meditation is one of the most important things you can do for your mental and physical health. It increases mental clarity and allows space for creativity and efficient problem solving. Your meditation sessions can be just a few minutes or a full hour, and there are a variety of techniques to help you focus. Meditating first thing in the morning sets the stage for a relaxed, graceful, and productive day.

~ Set Intentions for the Day

Successful people plan their days. This is a two-fold process that involves the heart and mind. First, focus on how you want to feel that day. Allow a theme or intention to reveal itself based on your desired emotional experience. Then distil that into something practical by asking yourself what goals you want to achieve, and how you can contribute to those goals on that particular day.

Once you have a theme and goals for the day, look at your calendar and to-do list and map out your day. Schedule important work events, time to explore your passions, time with family, and time for self-care. Be practical about how much time each activity requires so you are never hurried.

~ Exercise

Exercise in the morning boosts the metabolism and digestion, and gives you a burst of energy to start your day. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment that can bolster you through unpleasant tasks. Morning exercise is especially important if your work involves long hours of sitting.

~ Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Winners nourish themselves. Just as an endurance athlete would never start a run without proper fuel, so you should never start a day without good nutrition and hydration. Drink a tall glass of warm water with lemon juice first thing upon waking. Then after your meditation and exercise, eat a breakfast that includes lean protein and complex carbohydrates such as green vegetables. Avoid sugary baked goods that will just make you crash an hour later.

~ Tackle the Most Challenging Task First

Successful people do not procrastinate. Putting off something you do not want to do saps your energy and distracts you. Stack your to-do list in your favor by tackling the most onerous chore first. Then everything else will seem easy. If it is a day off work, take on some errand or home improvement project you have been avoiding.

I find my mornings to be the most peaceful time of day. Meditating while the world is still quiet helps focus my mind and prepares me for the day ahead. While I dont always accomplish everything else on this list, I know part of my success can be traced back to these habits. Being successful is accessible to everyone if we set ourselves up for success at the beginning of our days.