24 Surprising Things Successful Women Do In The Morning

Get ready to take notes.

By Caitlin Clark
catt sadler's morning routine, bed, bedroom, dog, pet

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with articles that outline “The 5 Things Successful People Do Each Morning”—if not that literal headline, then something to that effect. Like many people, I love to click on them. (I, too, would like to be successful and I want all the morning routine ideas to help me get there), but I’m often let down by what I find. Mainly because it’s always the same. Successful people rise early after sleeping at least seven hours, they work out, resist the urge for coffee before water, and never ever reach for their phones first thing. (The riskiest move might be Oprah’s rebellion against alarm clocks.) I never get the sense that I really know the things successful women do before 7:30 am.   

Each time I click one of those headlines, I’m hoping for the nitty-gritty. Especially when it comes to accomplished women, whose cherished early-morning energy so often has to be allocated to a household in addition to themselves. How do they find calm in the chaos? Sure, they’ve ideally slept well, but what else are they doing to nourish themselves before taking on the world?

I have found, however, one corner of the internet that manages to paint an authentic portrait of an aspirational woman’s morning: “Wake Up Call.” Now, before you accuse me of self-promotion, this is a Camille Styles series I was a fan of long before I became a contributing writer, and continue to devour as a reader from afar. From an interview with my beauty editor girl crush Megan O’Neill to the piece that made me a Brooklyn Decker fan for life, I’m always excited to see what inspiring women are up to next.

The pieces are a treasure trove of tiny, fascinating details. Case in point: the extremely complicated smoothie recipe Catt Sadler makes most mornings, Miranda Kerr’s go-to outfit, or Tata Harper’s well-balanced media diet. And if you read each Wake Up Call closely, you’ll pick up on interesting things each woman does with her early morning hours. So, out of love for the series and my addiction to “what successful people do first thing in the morning” listicles, I’ve decided to cull the Wake Up Calls to create our own version—one that hopefully leaves you a bit more satisfied.

Read on to discover 24 morning routine ideas successful women swear by. And yes, they do occasionally scroll their phones.

catt sadler's morning routine, bed, bedroom, dog, pet_Things Successful Women Do Before 7:30 am
Image by Michelle Nash

They Listen to Their Bodies

1. “I generally wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 am. I don’t like less than seven hours of sleep anymore. The older I get, the more sleep I require. I make listening to my body a priority.” — Entertainment Reporter Catt Sadler

2. “Sometimes I may stretch and work out or spend extra time doing my skincare routine. I am not too structured in the morning as I like to listen to how I feel and do any one of these things before getting into work.” —  Shani Van Breukelen, creative director and co-founder of AYOND

Alex Taylor morning routine_Things Successful Women Do Before 7:30 am
Image by Teal Thomsen

They Bond With Family

3. “My husband and I connect in our kitchen and chat about what’s on deck for the day. We’re recent empty nesters and still acclimating to this stage of life. I also check in with my parents, who are in their 80s. Hearing their voices every day instantly lifts my spirits.” — Sally Mueller, co-founder of Womaness

4. “By the time I’ve finished my coffee while simultaneously nursing, my son awakes and we get on with breakfast. I love this time because I can be fully present with my children—no work to disturb us, just the quiet din of the world coming alive, for the day. — Alex Taylor, co-founder and co-CEO of Perelel

Sheena Yaitanes morning routine, coffee, kitchen, breakfast_healthy breakfast ideas
Image via Sheena Yaitanes

They Turn Showers Into a Thoughtful Indulgence

5. “One thing I do that always makes me feel amazing in the morning is a steamy shower with Eucalyptus oil sprinkled on the floor.” — Samantha Wennerstrom, creator of lifestyle site could i have that?

6. “Currently, I love starting my day with the Tracy Anderson workout. When I’m done, if I have time, I dry-body brush and get into the shower. Then I drink my 32 ounces of celery juice.” — Miranda Kerr, model, mother, entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of Kora Organics

7. “It’s pretty much exactly the same every morning. Open the curtains, lemon water, celery juice, and one cup of coffee. Showering is the best part and where I do my best thinking.” — Sheena Yaitanes, founder of Kosas

8. “The first thing I do in the morning is feed the baby! My husband JP usually wakes up and brings me coffee and then I take a shower for as long as possible. Nowadays, a five-minute shower feels like a spa day if I can get that in.” Sophie Monet, founder of Sophie Monet Jewelry.

Beth Hitchcock, woman reading, bed, bedroom_tips for productive mornings
Image by Chelsea Francis

They Make Time to Meditate

9. “I am making an effort to meditate for about 15 minutes before I fully plug in. I’ve found that practicing breathing exercises has really helped me feel more centered and focused throughout the day. After that, I quickly scan through my emails and respond to anything that is super urgent.” — Skincare mogul Tata Harper

 10. “I start with a 10-minute meditation. I went through a period where insomnia was affecting me frequently. I juggle a lot and my career is uncertain and changing constantly, which can be a cause of anxiety for me. I’ve found that starting my day meditating keeps me grounded no matter where I am and helps me start my day with a clearer, calmer mind.” — Austin-based stylist Beth Hitchcock

Sajani Amarasiri from Kola Goodies shares her morning routine_morning routine ideas
Image via Sajani Amarasiri

They Find Unique Ways to Hydrate Before Their Coffee Ritual

11. “I have a shot of olive oil and a warm cup of water with lemon. This improves the functioning of the digestive system: stimulates intestinal transit, promotes the absorption of nutrients, and reinforces its anti-inflammatory properties.” — Agatha Relota Luczo, founder and chief creative of Furtuna Skin

12. “I wake up when it’s still dark, pour myself a 16-ounce cup of celery juice, chug it, and make a cup of coffee.” — Tracy Tutor of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles

13. “As soon as I wake up, I chug a bottle of water I keep on my nightstand and take a Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C and clean vitamin D.” — Liana Levi, founder of Forma Pilates

14. “I drink celery juice an hour before putting anything else in my stomach, and then I make a smoothie! I use: frozen blueberries, half a frozen banana, half a frozen avocado (most of the time), Malk vanilla almond milk, ashwagandha, mucuna, MCT oil, and collagen.” — Blogger and author Lauren Scruggs Kennedy

15. “I drink some hot water first thing in the morning these days. I run cold so it helps me warm up and also it’s a good way to kickstart your digestive system according to Ayurveda.” — Sajani Amarasiri, founder of Kola Goodies

16. “I immediately open the shades and drink a mint water or warm water with lemon on my walk to the coffee shop, so I get light, movement, and hydration.” — Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential

17. “Light some Bodha incense, meditate, and then put the kettle on the stove and make a pourover, either in our Chemex or V60. I’ll usually have some apple cider vinegar in the morning, too.” — Canyon Coffee founder Ally Walsh

nitsa citrine at home in malibu, review of the goop lab_morning routine ideas
Image by Claire Huntsberger

They Create a Personal Ritual To Get Grounded

18. “One ritual, as strange as it sounds, is that I clean my kitchen every morning. Since I’m home all day I cook a lot so there are always dishes that need to be put away, sometimes a mess from last night’s dinner. It’s become a daily ritual that helps me to start my day with some productivity momentum.” Nicole Gibbons, founder and CEO of Clare Paints

 19. “I turn on music, read, journal, and pray while having a cup of black coffee. I journal what I am grateful for, five great things that happened yesterday, and I write out my prayers and worries.” — Beauty expert and digital creator Anna Groves

20. “My healthiest morning habit is taking 10 minutes to sit in silence.” — Woke Beauty founder Riley Banks

22. “I take a moment to articulate to myself (and the universe) what I am grateful for… that day… whatever comes to mind (before I get out of bed)! I love this practice because it sets the frequency of gratitude for the whole day.” — Nitsa Citrine, creative director at Sun Potion

23. “I use the Fabulous app – it’s a routine and habit-building app that helps me do all the things that can easily be forgotten. I started using it to remember to drink water first thing, and now it reminds me to take my prenatal, blend my #fab4smoothie, (no matter if I drink it then or a few hours later), prioritize 3 tasks for the day, and write the one thing I am grateful for that day.” — Celebrity nutritionist Kelly LeVeque  

simone boyce; breastfeeding_morning routine ideas
Image by Teal Thomsen

And Finally, The Best Honest Morning Habit of Them All…

24 . “Breastfeed and scroll.” — NBC News Now correspondent Simone Boyce

What morning habits have transformed your day?