By Paul Reilly

What if the first thing you did in the morning set the tone for the rest of your day?

In Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, he explains the importance of keystone habits. A keystone habit sets off a chain reaction that leads to more positive action. Duhigg uses Alcoa’s financial success to explain the power of keystone habits. Alcoa, the world’s largest producer of aluminum, was struggling. However, a new CEO—Paul O’Neil—joined the company in the late 1980’s to turn it all around. Under O’Neil’s leadership, Alcoa experienced years of unprecedented financial performance. Paul O’Neil attributes Alcoa’s financial success to an unlikely habit…Safety. Safety doesn’t seem like the most likely driver of financial success, but it worked. O’Neil vowed to make Alcoa the safest company in America. Alcoa’s focus on safety set off a chain reaction that led to other positive behavioral changes within the organization. Paul O’Neil explained, “We established a habit of excellence.”

One positive habit leads to another.

In his 2014 commencement speech at UT Austin, Admiral William H. McRaven shared the ten lessons he learned as a Navy Seal. In the first lesson, McRaven highlights the importance of completing the first task of the day. As a Navy Seal, his first task of the day was to make his bed. He explains, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride. And that will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.”

One positive habit leads to another.

If you eat a healthy breakfast, it’s easier to make healthy choices the rest of day. If you begin your day with a positive mindset, that positive mindset leads to more positivity. One positive action leads to another positive action. One good decision, leads to another good decision.

Our first task, action, or attitude sets off a chain reaction leading toward another action—either positive or negative. The first choice you make and the first action you take greatly influence whatever follows. So, what are your morning habits?

Here are three ideas to start your day off right:

Make three prospecting calls before starting your day. The logic is simple. Before you formally begin your day, you will have already made more prospecting calls than most salespeople. You will have completed the first sales task, and that will encourage you to complete another, and another. What a great way to build a healthy pipeline of opportunity.

Plan and role-play your first appointment. Ninety percent of salespeople don’t routinely plan their sales calls. Embracing this habit will bolster your confidence for the meeting and help you become a better, more professional salesperson. This one small act will also lead to another positive action, and another, and another.

Spend fifteen minutes studying your profession and your industry. Every day that you study your profession, you become more valuable to your customers and prospects. Knowledgeable expertise is the number-one attribute buyers expect from salespeople. Once again, this positive activity will generate positive momentum to completing the next activity.

Whatever you decide to do, just do it. Complete the task and move on to the next one. Your first decision or task will influence your other decisions and tasks. Your success at the end of the day is directly linked to how you begin your day.

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