As a digital nomad and journalist, I travel the world while logging around 70 articles a month. To effectively manage a country-hopping lifestyle while also building my bylines and clients, I turn to the advice of seasoned movers-and-shakers who have developed habits and strategies for success. Each week, I’ll highlight the daily routine of influential professionals, making for the right kind of fodder while you down your coffee.
There are few household names as universally known — trusted, respected and loved — as Oprah Winfrey. For more than forty years, she’s had a substantial cultural and financial impact on the lifestyles of millions of people worldwide — from stay-at-home moms seeking book club recommendations to communities living in poverty who benefit from her assistance or even entrepreneurs, who reap success from her endorsement.
As a talk show host, actress, producer, media executive and philanthropist, she has earned an impressive amount of feats, cementing her place in history, current affairs and in future legacy. From becoming the richest African American of the 20th century with an estimated net worth of nearly $3 billion to being ranked the most influential woman in the world, she has come a long way from her modest upbringing in the rural area of Mississippi. She never loses sight of where she comes from though, as an active altruist for countless charities and programs for inner city, underprivileged youth and other causes.
To arrive at this affluent stage of fame and influence though, Winfrey has maintained many daily rituals that keep her centered, humble and happy. From waking up to work out to practicing gratitude, here are five secrets you can steal from the legend herself.
She starts every morning with exercise
While Winfrey has been transparent with her weight loss struggles, explaining the battles of overeating and skipping workouts, in an interview she explained how she attempts to start every single day with movement. One of her favorite ways to work up a sweat is with good ‘ole fashion cardio: specifically on an elliptical machine, followed by a treadmill. After she’s warmed up, she’ll continue some sort of bodyweight training, with sit-ups being a common move. Though the verdict is still out on if it’s better to work in a daily fitness routine in the A.M. or the P.M., many studies have explained the vast benefits of morning sweats. To name a few, you’ll eat less calories, you’ll have day-long energy, you’ll burn more pesky fat cells and you’ll sleep better once the sun goes down.
She eats plenty of veggies
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If you don’t listen to your mother or your partner when they gently nudge you to eat more of the goodies created by Mother Earth, perhaps you’ll listen to Winfrey.
She revealed in an interview that her favorite meal of the day is lunch and one of her go-to meals is an oversized, overflowing collection of green goodies in a salad. “Usually the salad is made with vegetables that have come from my garden. We have a rule in this house: If we can grow it, we don’t buy it. We use it all, everything in the garden, even if it means we are giving it to the people down the street. If I have to start a stand on the street and give it away, we will give away that last damn zucchini,” she explains.
You likely don’t need us to tell you veggies are smart for your diet, but science backs up Winfrey’s meal plan, as a balanced, garden-first approach to eating can fight against cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
She makes time to wind down
There’s no doubt Winfrey’s calendar would overwhelm most people — filled with endless meetings, phone calls and travel — but to reach this level of esteem takes smart organization and determination. But if you glimpse into the lives of those at the quintessential top like Winfrey, you’ll see they always make time to disconnect.
According to an interview detailing her daily life, Winfrey shared she winds down before bed, often by reading. Though you might not have a dreamy fireplace to flip pages (or tap a Kindle) by like Winfrey, a study found that those who read before bed tend to be 68 percent less stressed than those who watch Netflix.
She practices daily gratitude
Though the act of scribbling down tokens of thanksgiving has been trendy in recent years, the benefits of practicing gratitude have been scientifically-proven for ages. “I usually get into bed and I have volumes and volumes of gratitude journals by the side of my bed. The last thing I do before I go to sleep is write five things that gave me great pleasure or that I was grateful for,” she shared.
Not only does it improve your health, but you will find enhanced empathy and stronger self-confidence by implementing this ritual. When you think of what you’re thankful for each night (instead of rattling through your to-do list), one study suggests you might even sleep better, too.
She stays on top of her finances
You might imagine someone at Winfrey’s level would hire someone to handle her finances, and while she does have a team, she also manages the specifics of her estate daily. She says because she grew up poor, she’s unable to turn all money matters over to someone else, and likes to understand the in’s and out’s of her income, even personally signing every check more than $100K.
“It’s important for me to know how much the electricity bill is, to know what’s coming in, what’s going out. I never want to be one of those people who delegates that task to someone else and then one day is surprised to find out how much money they do or don’t have,” she explains.
While most people struggle with fears around money, research has indicated the more effort you put into educating yourself on financial matters, the stronger opportunity you have for wealth.