• John Panepinto

The Best Morning Routine - 6 Simple Rituals To Jumpstart Your Day

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

best morning routine for success

Success leaves clues.

It’s no coincidence that the most successful people all have a very specific morning routine that they rarely ever drift away from.

Whether it be billionaire business magnates like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett; or whether it be Superstar Athletes like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant – a morning routine is essential to achieving greatness.


Because your first waking hour determines what your entire day will be like.

What you do in these waking moments largely determines the momentum you have for the rest of your day.

Whether or not that morning momentum is working for you (setting you up for a productive, fulfilling and overall great day), or against you (setting you up for an unproductive, and stressful day) – is completely determined by what you do during these crucial waking moments.

If you have a consistent way of owning your morning, you will actually have a consistent way of owning your day, and ultimately owning your life.

If we’re going to be achieving our greatest goals – we must be setting ourselves up for success each morning, owning our morning, and get in the habit of establishing positive momentum from the get-go.

Today I am going to give you the best morning routine. Let’s go.

Your Morning Sets The Tone For Your Entire Day:

When you wake-up in the morning and the very first thing you do is check your phone, hop on social media, scroll for 20-30 minutes, and then unenthusiastically roll out of bed – you’re starting your day off in a very reactive manner.

Right off the bat – you’re stirring up all kinds of unfavourable emotions, you’re wasting your focus on meaningless media, and you’re letting external influences cloud your thoughts and consciousness.

Given that each day is a sequence; this morning ‘reactiveness’ actually sets the tone for the entire rest of your day – in turn, your entire day often follows suit.

Each day is just a piece of the puzzle to this thing we call 'our life' - and as you add up each of those days, your entire life also follows suit. Hence why Aubrey Marcus coins the term "own the day, own your life".

This habit makes you less productive, raises cortisol (stress hormones), and makes you less effective throughout the rest of your day.

That’s not what you want, and that’s not what’s going to make the things you want happen for you.

If we want to achieve our biggest goals – we must start our day off by being pro-active

We must start our day off by enhancing our focus, relieving stress, setting the tone, and by focusing on ourselves, our goals, and our own pathway – before we even look at our phone.

We must take things into our own hands, focus on ourselves, and ultimately own our mornings – before we go out and conquer the day.

If we don’t – our day is going to conquer us; over and over again.

The Importance of Having a Morning Routine:

morning routine for success

Especially when you’re in a rut, or need some structure brought back into your life – bringing in a consistent morning routine is a great way of getting you back on track and establishing positive momentum.

Discipline unlocks freedom – and by being disciplined to a powerful morning routine, you will begin to unlock the greater parts of life, and the greater parts of your very own potential; with consistency.

What Makes a Great Morning Routine?

So what makes a great morning routine?

A great morning routine hits home on four key results:

  • Relieves Stress

  • Enhances Focus

  • Sets The Tone For The Day

  • Sets Direction For The Day

Relieving Stress:

When you wake up in the morning, your cortisol levels are extremely high. Cortisol is actually the stress hormone that enhances alertness and reduces your appetite – which is healthy, in moderation.

If cortisol gets too high however – it is what causes anxiety, depression, and a weaker immune system.

This is why it is essential to keep it relatively low - especially in the morning when it is often at its highest.

Enhancing Focus:

Your focus, bandwidth and mental resources are absolutely crucial to succeeding at anything.

Our best work is often done in the mornings because our bandwidth and focus is ‘fresh’ and rejuvenated – it hasn’t been used or allocated yet.

As the day goes on, our focus and bandwidth often diminishes as it is used.

This is exactly why first thing in the morning we don’t want to waste our valuable focus on irrelevant information, social media, or any other negative influences that don’t have a high ROI on us, our goals, or our life.

A great morning routine will ensure you are spending your bandwidth/focus on what matters most to you, your goals, and your life – first thing in the morning.

Setting The Tone For The Day:

Our entire day is a sequence. What we think, feel and do in the morning, trickles into what we think, feel and do next, which trickles into what we do after that .. and so on, all the way to the end of our day.

If you’ve ever woken up and received bad news right off the bat, or gotten into a traffic jam on the way to work – it’s no coincidence that the rest of your day was probably miserable.

The flip-side is also true – if you wake up, and right off the bat what you think, feel, and do is great; then the rest of your day is going to be great, and you will be far more equipped to conquer whatever comes your way than you otherwise would’ve been.

This is why it is important to ensure our morning routine sets a great tone for the rest of our day, and starts us off on the right foot.

Setting Direction For The Day:

There comes a point in everyday where you have to decide what you will be doing for the day. It is a point in which you make decisions on how you will spend your time, energy, and focus for the day.

Right off the bat - if you aren’t pro-active, aren’t taking control of your day, and aren’t setting your own direction – then you are likely being blown around like a leaf in the wind that day, and will just be going with the motions; letting your day conquer you.

Whether those things you do are in your favour or not – isn’t up to you; because you’re being reactive to your circumstances.

This is why it is important for a morning routine to set direction for the day.

It is to start your day off as being pro-active, taking control, and ensuring you are spending your time/energy/focus on things that are best for you, your goals, and your life.

When you don’t set direction – you spend your entire day being reactive.

The Ultimate Morning Routine:

how to build discipline

I developed this morning routine when I was 21 years old, and it has helped me transform my life – I want it to help you too.


*Wake up at 5:15am*

1. Drink Two Glasses of Lemon & Salt Water (3 mins)

2. Read Goals & Affirmations (5 mins)

3. Journal Routine – (5 mins)

4. Meditate – (10 mins)

5. Make Your Bed (take ownership) – (2 mins)

6. Cold Shower (10 mins)

--total = 40 min—

This routine is the result of many years of research and refinement. It’s taken what the best of the best do, and combined into all into one comprehensive morning routine.

Everything in this routine serves a purpose; each step plays a role in setting you up for a great day. I recommend following it to a tee – for the best results.

Here’s a more in depth elaboration:

Step 1 - Drink Two Glasses of Lemon & Salt Water

morning routine drink water with lemon

Immediately upon waking up, the first thing you should do is stretch, and then go drink two full glasses of water with lemon and himalayan salt (tremendous health benefits).

The reason you do this is because you’ve just spent 6-8 hours without any water consumption, and your body is quite dehydrated upon waking up.

Water and hydration is key to all body regulation and brain functions.

If you aren’t taking care of your body and its ability to function – nothing else matters and you won’t be as effective; that is why this is first and foremost.

The main benefits from this include:

  • Increasing your alertness and overall energy levels right off the bat

  • Fuels your brain function

  • Keeps your immune system strong

By starting the day off by taking care of yourself and your body; you are fuelling yourself with what you need to conquer your day.

Healthy body leads to a healthy mind and a healthy spirit.

Step 2 - Read Goals & Affirmations (belief systems)

morning routine read your goals

Next, you want to pull out your journal and read over the goals you have set for yourself. Read them, visualize them, and truly see yourself achieving those goals in the time frame you’ve set. Recognize these as your objectives, and as your main focuses and missions.

You do this because each day you must be reminded of the pathway you are on and how you should be allocating your time/energy/focus.

If you’ve taken time to establish goals for yourself that align with what’s important to you – these are the missions that are actually worth your time/energy/focus.

It’s a new day, and it’s a new opportunity to make progress towards these goals – but it all starts with taking time to recognize and acknowledge them as your focus.

The main benefits of this include:

  • Enhancing focus

  • Setting direction for the day

By starting your day off by recognizing your missions; you set a tone of pro-activeness that will carry out through the rest of your day.

You establish desire and direction, and you cultivate motivation by having something to strive for in the form of your goals.

Step 3 - Journal Routine

morning routine journal

This is super important.

Grab your pen and your journal, turn to a fresh page, and write down three things you are grateful for, three things you are proud of, and three growth challenges / goals for today.

Three Things You Are Grateful For

Think of the things you easily forget about that are truly gifts. Being healthy, having family or friends, having clean drinking water, food, and shelter, having the opportunities you have, being alive – the list goes on and on!

We always forget so much of the gifts we have, and it is important that we acknowledge at least three of them each morning.

We do this because it is impossible to feel anger and fear at the same time as you feel gratitude. There is so much we have to be grateful for, so much we forget about and take for granted – that it is important we acknowledge and take time to appreciate it.

This sets a tone of gratitude for your day; and it dramatically reduces any anger or fear you feel immediately.

Three Things You Are Proud Of

Think of three things you’re proud of yourself for; no matter how big or small, recognize your wins. Think of times you’ve achieved something, made yourself proud, conquered a challenge and grown.

Write three down.

We do this because it is important to cultivate confidence and self-respect for yourself. In order to go out, conquer challenges, and accomplish goals – you need to respect yourself, love yourself, and be proud of yourself.

So even if it means starting small, always take time to recognize three things you’re proud of yourself for each morning.

This works to minimize doubt, and establish belief in yourself - first thing in the morning.

Three Goals For Today

Now ask yourself – “If I were the hero of my own movie, what are three things I would accomplish today?”.

With your goals in mind, or areas where you want to grow in mind – write down three challenges or goals for yourself that you will accomplish by the end of today. Ensure these are in your favour.

We do this because it sets direction for the day, and gives us three goals that if accomplished – will help us grow and advance towards our goals.

Now that you’ve written them down, you can now hold yourself accountable to them.

growth mindset vs fixed mindset

By recognizing three things you’re grateful for, three things you’re proud of, and three goals you have for today – you are setting a tone of gratitude (over fear/anger), pride and belief (over doubt and worry), and direction/willingness to grow.

This is huge.

Step 4 - Meditation

meditation morning routine

Following your journal routine; you are going to meditate for 10 minutes. Find a quiet space, sit cross-legged, set a timer for 10 minutes, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. As thoughts pop into your mind, don’t react to them – instead focus on your current senses, and being in the present moment.

You meditate in the morning because of the excessive amount of benefits it comes with.

Meditation; reduces stress, keeps you grounded/present, enhances focus, and even strengthens your immune system.

When you take time to meditate and cultivate your own inner voice in the morning before picking up your phone or letting external influences seep into your psyche – you are strengthening your ability to generate state from within, and validate yourself (rather than needing external factors to validate you).

This sets a tone of being cool, calm, collected, and focused on the things that truly matter, for the rest of your day.

Step 5 - Make Your Bed (take ownership)

make your bed take ownership

After that alarm goes off, and you’re done meditating – you will make your own bed. Put your sheets back on nicely and neatly, and ensure your sleep space is in order.

If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.

You make your bed in the morning because it is an act of taking ownership. The truth is, how do you one thing is how you do everything.

If you start your day off by leaving your room a mess, this lack of taking ownership tends to bleed out into other areas of your life and does have a profound impact.

You do this because by doing it you are establishing that you take full responsibility for yourself, your results, and your life. This mindset is what creates real progress towards meaningful goals.

By making your own bed in the morning, you are setting a tone of taking ownership of your entire life. When obstacles occur, you don’t blame others or complain, you take ownership and take action; no excuses.

Accountability and taking ownership over things is essential in getting things done, and accomplishing goals – no one is going to give it to you, you have to go get it.

Obstacles are going to arise, are you going to complain and blame it on other people? Or are you going to say no-excuses, and take action.

Ownership is always the answer – and by making your bed, you establish that positive momentum towards this way of living your life.

Step 6 - Cold Shower

cold shower wim hof

Final step – take a cold shower. For those of you who have never done it before, your regular warm shower, then for the last 30 seconds, turn that knob the coldest water it can go and stick through it.

For those of you who have been taking cold showers regularly, keep working your way up in time till you can do your entire shower in cold water.

There are a plethora of benefits to cold showers.

Physically, cold showers are proven to relieve stress, ease depression, improve muscle recovery, and strengthen your immune system tremendously.

Mentally, cold showers are a great way of overcoming fear, and strengthening your will-power/discipline.

You take cold showers for both the physical benefits it gives you, but also the mental benefits – and the opportunity to start your day off by conquering ‘something hard’ is tremendous, and makes the rest of your day a downhill battle.

By starting your day off by conquering a fear of yours, leaning into discomfort, and taking that cold shower – you are setting a tone of courage, will-power/discipline, and mental strength that will carry with you for the rest of your day.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain

By conquering something hard first thing in the morning – you actually make the rest of your day easier in perspective. It mentally prepares you to conquer whatever comes your way.

Beyond The Routine:

That’s it!

That’s the routine that will put you in position to have a productive, meaningful, and satisfying day that is started off on the right foot.

So now you may be wondering – where do you go from there?

Don’t let the momentum stop there!

My biggest suggestion would be to use this fresh, rejuvenated focus and brain power of yours and put it towards your work.

Eat a great breakfast, then either go to the gym, or get right to work on the most important work or project you have to accomplish that day.

It’s been proven that your brain power is at its strongest in the morning around this time, because you haven’t been working or grinding for 6-7 hours. You’re fresh.

I’d also recommend layering in a good podcast that teaches you something or helps you grow towards your goals during this time, or listen to some music that gets you motivated and makes you want to get after it – then you’re off to the races.

You don’t want to slow your momentum down by consuming any negative media or content (heavily found on social media) – you want to keep that momentum flowing in the right direction.

The Bottom Line:

michael jordans morning routine success

Having a morning routine is essential to achieving greatness and becoming the best version of yourself – it’s the cornerstone of nearly every billionaire’s, business owner’s, and professional athlete’s day. It brings order and clarity to your life, lowers stress, and primes you to crush it at whatever you do that day!

I get it – life get’s busy, some days you may only be able to do a few of these activities; or you may have to mix and match until you find what works best for you. But this is a great starting point; and it should be the standard for which you strive towards each morning.

If it means waking up a bit earlier – do it. Its worth it.

This morning routine will become something you look forward to each morning.

Gone are the days of squandered mornings, and unproductive days.

Ahead are purposeful mornings, and productive days!

My Challenge To You:

My challenge to you – write this 6 step morning routine down on a piece of paper and put it by your bed-side.

Follow this for 2 weeks; and watch as your productivity, overall mood, and progress skyrocket.

Now go get after it!