9 things disciplined people do before 9 am every day

Former pro boxer Mike Tyson said: “Discipline is doing something that you hate to do, but nonetheless doing it like you love it.”

We all have obligations and responsibilities that we must accomplish day to day. Problems only come up when we’re not up to it.

Maybe you’re too comfy in bed and think, “Just five more minutes…” Maybe there’s an article you’re just too lazy to write, and you say, “I can do that later.”

The result? Procrastination, cramming, and sometimes even failure to do what needs to be done.

Self-discipline is the ability to control the things you do in order to reach your goals, despite the many distractions and temptations that you encounter throughout the day.

If you’re looking to develop self-discipline, read on to find out 9 things disciplined people do before 9 a.m. every day.

1) Not hitting the snooze button

The age-old saying “The early bird catches the worm” may be truer than you think.

While some of us (yours truly included, to be honest) might think that waking up with the sun–or even earlier–is a daunting task, many successful and disciplined people do so.

PepsiCo head honcho Indra Nooyi is up as early as 4 a.m. and is at work by 7 a.m. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne gets up even earlier, at 3:30 a.m. in order to conduct business with the European market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is yet another early bird, waking up at 3:45 a.m. every single day.

These and many other people use this time to exercise, read, catch up on emails, and generally anything that allows them to get a headstart on their day.

2) Making the bed

However simple a task this may seem, making one’s own bed is the best way to start off the day–at least according to Navy Seal Admiral.

Speaking at the 2014 commencement exercises of the University of Texas, Naval Adm. William H. McRaven shared that one of the things they are required to do in the military is make their bed in the morning.

Done right, the corners would be squared, the covers pulled tight, the pillow would be centered under the headboard, and the blanket would be placed neatly at the foot of the bed.

Why was this so important? It’s just a bed…right? 

Adm. McRaven said that if you had made your bed, you’d have accomplished your first task, giving you a small sense of pride and encouraging you to do another task. This would eventually snowball into a bunch of done tasks at the end of the day.

Making your bed also reinforces that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do them right, you can’t do the big things right. 

“And if by chance you had a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made,” he said, “that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.” 

He concludes: “So if you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed.” 

3) Exercising

Going for a run in the cool, pre-sunrise air and quiet; doing yoga as the sun comes up; or hitting the gym before anybody gets there, are all things that disciplined individuals do.

Exercising before 9 a.m. is a fruitful endeavor: a review study on the relationship between exercise and self-control showed that high levels of self-control (or discipline) was linked to better exercise performance.

At the same time, exercising consistently was seen to help improve self-control.

Yet another study found that people who put in time for exercise in their day had better energy and concentration. They were also calmer, which helped problem solving. 

It is not difficult to see why disciplined people start their day with exercise, given its many benefits.

4) Eating breakfast

Generally, breaking one’s fast has a host of positive effects.

After a long stretch of time without food intake, the body breaks down glycogen to keep blood sugar levels stable. Eating breakfast restores energy, helping you become more physically active in the morning.

It maintains health by providing essential vitamins and minerals, some of which you can only get from food. It also helps reduce the risk of developing obesity, as it helps you rein in your appetite.

Eating breakfast also helps you make better food choices. When you’re really hungry, you tend to choose high sugar or high sodium foods as opposed to healthier options.

It also boosts mental performance: a 2013 study on how breakfast impacts adolescents’ behavior and academic performance indicated that those who eat breakfast had better concentration, attentiveness, and alertness at school.

5) Practicing good hygiene

things disciplined people do before 9 am every day 2 9 things disciplined people do before 9 am every day

One of the things disciplined people do before 9 a.m. every day is establishing and sticking to proper hygiene.

How many of us haven’t skipped toothbrushing, removed one’s makeup, or even opted for a quick shower instead of a full bath?

Disciplined people follow routines in different aspects of their lives, one of which is personal hygiene.

As we all know, taking a bath, wearing clean clothes, brushing one’s teeth–even flossing–all these are essential to personal and professional success.

These may seem like small things, so if we miss one night of washing our faces before bed, so what?

Well, just remember what Adm. McRaven said in one of our previous points: “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.”

6) Setting aside time for mindfulness

If personal hygiene is vital, so is mental hygiene.

According to an authority on the subject, even spending as little as 15 minutes on mental hygiene can help improve mood, foster better relationships, and better concentration and creativity.

Mental hygiene can be anything that can boost “our quality of life by preventing negative behaviors at providing emotional stability.”

Stanford Medicine clinical associate psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor Hui Qi Tong says that it can be any activity where you are paying attention to the task as you do it.

For some, it can be meditation, yoga, or even just walking. 

Oprah Winfrey, for instance, participates in what is called transcendental meditation, in which a mantra is used and is done twice a day for 20 minutes.

Actress Dakota Johnson, meanwhile, opts to meditate or go for a walk, explaining, “Those little things make a difference ultimately.”

7) Practicing gratitude

When I was in high school, we had a substitute math teacher who taught me more than just algebra in the few days she handled our class.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the attitude of gratitude.

Every day before she started the class, she made all of us each write down three things we were thankful for that day. That practice stuck with me and it made me more appreciative of what I had, no matter how bad the day may have been on the surface.

One of the things disciplined people do every morning is to practice gratitude.

Marie Kondo subscribes to this exercise daily, sharing: “I say a prayer of thanksgiving for my family and team members’ health, and I renew my resolve to do as much as I can that day.”

Having an attitude of gratitude can be thought of as a “discipline of the heart”.

It’s easy to be thankful when things are good, but difficult when nothing seems to go your way.

Disciplined people who practice gratitude can train themselves to see the good in any situation and weather the storms that may come throughout their life.

8) Setting goals for the day

One of the things disciplined people do before 9 a.m. every day is set the goals they need or want to accomplish that day.

Goal setting in itself is a practice in discipline, as it allows you to focus on what really matters.

Disciplined people know what they are working towards, reducing time spent on inconsequential things or tasks that can be delegated or done later.

They also plan things down to the details to make sure their tasks get done. Setting goals for the day also helps them wisely allocate their time and prioritize.

9) Read a book or article 

Instead of scrolling endlessly on social media, disciplined people opt to read a book, newspaper, or article.

Former US president Barack Obama fits in reading the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal before going to the office around 8:30 to 9 a.m. 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, too, reads the Times and the Journal as well as the Economist.

Investor giant Warren Buffett devours even more reading material: in addition to the Times and the Journal, he also reads the Financial Times, USA Today, the Omaha World Herald, and the American Banker.

It’s not a surprise why disciplined individuals read–sources say that the activity slows cognitive decline, expands one’s vocabulary, curbs stress, and even improves sleep quality.

Bottom line

Practicing discipline is a lot of work, no doubt. The benefits, however, far outweigh the difficulty.

It means sticking to a routine without cutting corners, developing a strong work ethic, and consistently delivering high-quality results. 

Often, successful people are disciplined because they are able to stay focused, make good decisions, and do the things needed for long-term achievement. 

Picture of Louise Logarta

Louise Logarta

Louise Nichole Logarta is a content writer by profession, with experience crafting feature articles, editorials, and news articles. She has been published in noted Philippine broadsheets Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Manila Times. Topics of interest she likes writing about include relationships, current affairs, health, and pop culture. Travel, journal notebooks, fiction books, and iced coffee are some of the things she enjoys.

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