The New Habit Challenge: Use Your Morning To Focus On Your Goals

Checking email when you wake up makes you feel burnt out. This week we’ll try what the some of most successful people do before breakfast.

The New Habit Challenge: Use Your Morning To Focus On Your Goals
[Photo: Flickr user Leo Hidalgo]

Before you put next week’s habit challenge on your to-do list, check out how it went when we challenged ourselves to work from home this week during today’s live chat at 11 a.m. ET.


We’re always looking for ways to get more out of our days and taking advantage of the early morning hours is one of the most effective.

But it’s not just that we give ourselves more time in the morning before we shuttle off to work; it’s also about what we do with that time.

One of the best uses of this time, according to motivational speaker Tony Robbins, is starting the day with mindfulness exercises so we can feel more fulfilled in our lives. There are three steps:

1. Get Moving

Whether it’s around the block or on the treadmill, take a short walk and focus on your breathing. This practice, often referred to as “breathwalking,” allows you to clear your mind of negative thoughts by focusing purely on your breathing. Benefits from walking include reduced stress, increased energy, and a boost to self-esteem.

2. Visualize Your Goals

First think about what you’re grateful for, and then visualize what you want as though you’ve achieved it. “Fear disappears when you’re grateful,” Robbins says. And by visualizing our goals as though they’ve been achieved, Robbins explains that we are virtually tricking our minds into making it happen.

3. Talk To Yourself

As you’re walking repeat positive incantations out loud. Psychologists call this “self-talk,” and numerous studies have proven that egging ourselves on out loud can boost willpower and calm nerves. One study from the University of Illinois, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, showed that our use of the pronoun “you”–as in, “you can do this, Rachel!”–is even more effective than using “I” because it gives us a feeling of social support.


For the next week, several of us at Fast Company will give these mindful morning exercises a try, and we hope you’ll join us. You can do this exercise for an hour, half hour, or a mere 15 minutes every morning, and each step should get the same amount of time as the next.

Tell us what you loved and hated about it, if it worked or totally bombed. Send your responses to by end of day Thursday, October 23, or join in the live chat at 11 a.m. EST on Friday October 24.

About the author

Rachel Gillett is a former editorial assistant for’s Leadership section. Her work has been featured on,, and elsewhere.