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Why You Should Start Your Morning the Night Before

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The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “What’s your morning routine before going to work?” is written by Joshua Hebert, CEO of Magellan Jets.

I have a morning routine that I’ve stuck to for 15 years. If you want to run a company some day, I’d recommend finding out what gets you in the right mindset to tackle the day ahead. You need to get your mind, body, and soul in shape. Then when you face obstacles later on, you’ll be ready for them.

Here’s how I spend my mornings:

Stretch the morning

There’s only one way to add time to the day: getting up early. I have a 5 a.m. wakeup and read emails until 5:30 to wake my mind. This puts me a step ahead on work, with plenty of time to address my body and soul.

My exercise routine is pretty intense: I run to the gym (making sure to greet anyone I come across along the way with a smile or a wave), box and circuit train for an hour, then run home. I let that flow right into a quick de-clutter of my living space to keep my environment organized. I have the same smoothie—which is filled with healthy ingredients—every morning.

Taking on such an intense morning routine allows me to set the pace for the rest of the day. I feel like I can take on pretty much anything.

Set attainable goals

I actually start my day the evening before, setting two business or personal goals for the next day that I know I can accomplish. Plenty of issues might seem insurmountable, so if I go to bed knowing I can move at least two things forward in 24 hours, that guarantees I’ll feel positive momentum.

To document and expand on those ideas, I use my Notes app on my iPhone. It helps me log and keep track of daily goals that I can reference or build on at a moment’s notice. I can also check them off and keep track of what’s still open.

While it’s tempting to create major goals for the day or to cram a third or fourth goal in, don’t. Keep your goals within reach, or you’ll end up carrying stress over the things you couldn’t get done.

This leads to another part of my morning ritual. I look in the mirror and ask myself if I truly worked 110% the previous day. The answer is always no. That immediately gets my competitive engine going, since my goal is to improve every single day.

I ask myself, “What will I do today to get to 110%?”

Make use of the commute

I have 25 minutes in the car every morning, and I make good use of that time. I listen to audio books whenever I drive, which allows me to always be learning. I also take five minutes of the commute to use Calm, a meditation app. Meditating while driving may seem counterproductive, but it works well for me. I can get any remaining noise out of my head and arrive at work energized, open-minded, and focused on the day ahead.

One of the greatest risks of working in a 24/7 environment is letting the days and nights blend together. It can get overwhelming if it’s not managed well. My morning routine means that I have a clean start every day. That time is set aside to create the energy I need to tackle any obstacle.

A busy day requires focus and stamina. So find ways to increase those elements the first thing in the morning, and you can stay one step ahead of your competition.