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How Waking Up an Hour Earlier Every Morning Can Transform Everything One mindful hour every morning is enough time to transform yourself mentally and emotionally in ways that accelerate success.

By Jacqueline Whitmore

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Ben Franklin had it right when he said, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Perhaps he got the idea from the philosopher Aristotle, who said, "It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom."

Even proverbs like "the early bird gets the worm" suggest that getting up early enables you to be more productive. But just getting up early doesn't automatically create the outcome you want. Rather, it's the daily rituals you implement that make the difference. Here are some tips to kick the New Year off to a great start.

Rise early.

Get up one hour earlier and give yourself time to ease into the day. Enjoy your coffee, read something inspirational or educational, then think about what you want to accomplish for the day.

Take a moment to review your plan for the day, making any alterations as necessary. Write down action items you'd like to take, and prioritize them into A and B lists. Do the A items first. Try to accomplish the most tedious or daunting tasks in the morning when you're fresh and more energized.

Related: 5 Almost Effortless Ways to Become a Morning Person

Exercise.

Morning exercise stimulates both the body and the mind, working out the kinks, releasing endorphins and allowing your brain to fire up for the day. To conquer your day, both your body and mind need to be healthy, fit and active. Daily exercise is also a great stress reducer. Military.com offers a quick 15-minute workout that includes crunches, jumping jacks, pushups, squats, dumbbell exercises and cardio options. If you don't belong to a gym, get outside and go for a vigorous 20-minute walk.

Meditate.

Meditation allows the mind to calm, which in turn reduces stress, brings clarity and peace of mind while enabling creative thought to enter. Give yourself the gift of 15 minutes in a serene environment to mediate and "just be" each morning. If you don't have time to meditate, start your day with a gratitude list. Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, visualize three things for which you are grateful. Try to think of three different things each day.

Related: Russell Simmons: 3 Simple Ways Meditation Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur

Healthy eating.

Haven't you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Plot the time in your schedule to eat a healthy breakfast with protein or complex carbohydrates that release energy throughout the day. Some of the best foods, according to an article at Health.com, include oatmeal, Greek yogurt, grapefruit and eggs.

Keep a journal.

According to Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, journaling helps him process previous events, clarify his thinking, understand life's context, notice his feelings, record significant lessons and ask important questions. Keep a small notebook handy for those creative ideas that come to mind when you're exercising, meditating or eating breakfast. No matter how crazy, write them down. Reflect on them at the end of the day to see if any of them can be implemented in your daily or work life.

Continue learning.

Successful people are lifelong learners. Use your quality time in the morning to read business articles, read something inspirational, or listen to a book on CD during your commute. Make it a point to read books by or about business leaders you admire.

Getting up an hour earlier and working these rituals into your day will provide benefits beyond what you expect. They may, in fact, help you to become healthy, wealthy and wise.

Related: 8 Steps to Having Wildly Productive Mornings

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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