Habits are powerful things.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot as our series with different #ladybosses #bossbabes and #girlbosses have revealed that most at some point found that they had to change some patterns of behavior i.e. habits, to succeed at the businesses they were creating.
For me I had to learn how to say no to projects, to always working. The reward was that I brought myself time to enjoy the fruits of my labour more deeply. During my interviews with other women, some confided that they found themselves relying on their partner more for help with both home and children (Hello Equality!). That was a new habit being formed.
"...they all unanimously claimed the morning as most important parts of their day..."
What struck me the most though was how female entrepreneurs talked about their mornings. They all unanimously claimed them to be the most important part of their day, once they got into a routine of waking up 60-90 minutes earlier to create a space for themselves.
That observation got me thinking about the interviews I’ve conducted over the years and common beliefs that most successful women had about the benefits creating morning rituals.
NYC based cross-media artist Malene Barnett starts her day with a long run in Brooklyn whenever the weather allows it. Maybe running 10 -15 miles every morning is not your thing but getting some form of exercise seems to be a common coin of communion (and we don’t mean reaching for the phone) that most female entrepreneurs shared. The successful women I’ve interviewed over the years do quick stretches, hit the gym, run, etc. They say that it reduces stress levels, improves mood. For Malene, her active morning routine allows her clarity which is good way to frame the start of the day.
2. Ditch the Phone
Ok, I’ve never interviewed Oprah (a girl can dream can’t she) but I’ve read every single book on and about her and she is steadfast in her belief that how you start your day is connected to how you end it. Oprah always declares that she never sleeps with the phone next to her. It’s a habit she says became ingrained when she got her dogs. “I wake up before between 6:02 and 6:20, because the dogs are trained to go out around that time. My first thought in the morning is, ‘Oh, I’m alive. Thank you!’ ” The phone comes long after she’s walked her dogs, meditated and given thanks.” Seems like good advice to follow, all because when the brain gets exposed to a lot of information first thing in the morning, it becomes overwhelmed just too quickly and that’s no way to set the mood for the day.
3. Drink H2O
Stay hydrated and eat well. My friend, Maria Daniel, senior partner at Ernst and Young, does not begin to eat until after 11 am. She is the literal exception to the rule. Most successful female entrepreneurs say even if they eat at their desk, having breakfast is the one habit they had to get comfortable with because they just felt better when they did. Now eating does not have to comprise heavy meal and can consist of healthy options like scrambled white eggs, fruit, oats with berries or even a smoothie with greens. As for staying hydrated nothing beats beginning the day with a glass of warm lemon water.
4. Make Your To-Do List for the Day
Women may be better than men at list making and it is a key part of every successful woman’s morning routine. Our creative director at Forward Forty’s content studio, Mary-Ann Brailey, is a master of the to-do list. She says a clear list of daily goals de-clutters her mind, allows her to sleep easier and achieve her goals faster. But a to-do list can also paralyze many. Here’s a habit Mary had to learn. She fills her agenda with only bite-sized manageable tasks that she can cross off one-by-one and round up her day with a great sense of accomplishment. The key word is manageable and being able to adapt to the changes thrown your way with a great amount of nimbleness.
5. Give Yourself a Pep Talk