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10 things I do each morning that make me feel amazing


You wake up and look at the alarm clock and see that it’s 5am, what is the first thought that goes through your mind?

Be honest with yourself and write down that thought. Look at what you wrote down and ask yourself if this is what you WANT to be thinking each morning for the rest of your life.

I used to think that no matter how late I woke it, it was still too early. Now I changed my attitude and mindset and I love getting up. The earlier the better. Why? Because I have a fresh mind to be able to do all the things that I want to do with no interruptions.. Even social media is quiet in the wee hours of the morning.

There are no calls, no text messages, no whats-app messages, no emails pouring in except the notifications that are automated that do not take any brainpower to deal with. All that frees up my fresh mind to work on the things that are most important to me.

So, you change your mindset and you create a habit to start getting up way before anyone else? What do you do? How can we spend our time if we had all the time in the world with a fresh mind.

Here are 10 things I do each morning that help me stay ahead and feel amazing.

Gratitude is number one. I start off my day with the traditional Modeh Ani that I was taught by my parents to say each morning. Thanking God for giving me my soul back. That is the first thing that I utter when I wake up. After I wash my hands, I think about 5 things that I am grateful for. Simple things like running water or a plunger might be enough to kick start my day with that positive mental flow I need to feel happy.

I don’t really think about making my bed each morning anymore, I just do it and it happens.

Make My Bed; About 8 months ago, I started practicing a habit to improve the quality of my actions. That began with making my bed. I never really saw value in making my bed when I have a person coming to maintain my home for me. Why would I need to make my bed when I am going to mess it up when I go to sleep anyway. That shift in thinking caused me to go deeper in my relationships and realize the power of habit. I don’t really think about making my bed each morning anymore, I just do it and it happens. The quality of my life improved so I stay conscious of the fact that I make the bed. I plan on adding things to that routine like a nice touch to making the bed but for now, it’s just that. Sometimes I go back into the bedroom to make sure I made it, and I am proud to see that I have! Its part of what I do now and it does feel good to be able to control my actions without using willpower each day.

Water is my caffeine.

Drink Water; Snapple used to be my beverage of choice. The drink that made me happy. Tropicana orange juice was another “healthy” favorite that I would indulge before I went to sleep and as soon as I woke up. Now I make sure to drink at least a liter of water in the morning before I leave the house. Why? Because it just makes me feel more alive. Water is something that so many of us overlook but it literally makes up more flexible and gives us more energy. I do not drink any sugary drinks anymore because they just make me more thirsty and they are empty calories. Water is my only drink. Some people ask me why I don’t drink coffee, I simply answer that I don’t like the taste, never did. Water is my caffeine.

I look back and recall things that happened that helped me, that shaped me, that motivate me, that inspire me that make me feel amazing.

Journal : One of the most important habits that I started a few years back but did not keep up to it properly is the habit of journaling. Last year I dedicated myself to do it no matter what each day and I kept it up for 3 months without missing a day. It really changed how I think and took my personal development and effectiveness to a whole new level. I look back and recall things that happened that helped me, that shaped me, that motivate me, that inspire me that make me feel amazing. I did not have to the tools to do that before. The only way you can improve is to be able to reflect on what you want to improve, if you don’t journal you are reflecting on what you think you were in the past, not what you actually were, you can improve by imagination. You need to have the facts. Now I sit down and if I only have 5 minutes, I just write down the things that happened the day before. If I have 10 minutes, I write some ideas down and if I have more time, I get creative, ask myself a question like, “What Do You Want?” I answer it with my right hand and after with my left hand. It’s amazing what can come out of your mind when you do things like that.

Each year, I added 10 pounds till I gained over 75 and I was unable to do the things I loved to do anymore.

Weight: If you do not measure, you will not improve. I suffered from being morbidly obese because I overate. The reason I overate was because I didnt really think about it, I didnt measure it or think that I was getting obese. It just happened slowly over 10 years. Each year, I added 10 pounds till I gained over 75 and I was unable to do the things I loved to do anymore. One day I decided that I will start weighing myself everyday and asking myself, where I am today and where do I want to be in a month from now. The progress was amazing. The ups and downs where incredible. Sometimes, I was up 5 pounds and I would feel guilty to cheat and eat a slice of pizza. There were times that I was way down and I would celebrate and eat that ice cream I was eyeing for a few weeks. It helped me stay accountable and when you look at your numbers each day, it really speaks to you. Some people are in debt and they dont bother looking at their bank account each day. Look each day, measure and set your goal. Make small improvements and take control of your life.

I remember a time when I was not able to do ONE pushup. Not even lift myself off the ground.

Fitness: Every morning I do pushups, squats and stretches. Even if there is no time for anything else like running, biking or using my rowing machine. I still do push myself to do pushups. I remember a time when I was not able to do ONE pushup. Not even lift myself off the ground. I will never ever go back there. I can do over 30 straight now and I goal is to be able to do 50 without stopping. That feels amazing and It begins by putting it into my morning routine. If the weather is acceptable, I will go for a run. Most of the time, I try to get at least 3 miles in. My goal is to be able to run three miles in under 27 minutes. I am at 29 minutes now and I am going to do this slowly. Yes, I can probably push myself and do it once, but I want to be able to do it all the time so I am building up slowly. The way I motivate myself to get out for a run in the morning, I just throw on my running gear without thinking about it. I built a habit to just get into gear and that gets me motivated to just do it already.

Even if you only read one page of a book, it changes how you think the rest of the day.

Reading: As humans we have over 40,000 thoughts each day. Most of those thoughts are the same ones that we think about over and over again. The way to get out of that is to read. When we read our thoughts change. When we read productive content we become connected with the author. Imagine being connected with the leaders of our past generation. One of my friends called the author’s he reads from, mentors of his. Even if they passed away, he communicates with them via their books and contribution. It’s so powerful to be able to do this. Even if you only read one page of a book, it changes how you think the rest of the day. Today I read a page from Traction the business book written by Gino Wickman. He asks, what is your guarantee in your business. Every company needs to have a guarantee. I asked myself what is my guarantee in my personal life? What is my personal competitive advantage? What do I bring to the people around me, to my family, to my friends? That is what reading does to me.

God created humans with the unique ability to design their life and the lives around them.

Creativity: Every morning I must flex my creative muscle, whether it’s by writing a 2000 word article like this one or by recording a song or by practicing a magic trick. I need to do that as it energizes me. The one desire that all people have, that is super fulfilling is the desire to create. God created humans with the unique ability to design their life and the lives around them. To create music to evoke emotions to communicate and change society with ideas. Using our gifts and not allowing our fears and challenges to hold us back from greatness might the most important thing we can do each day, it might be our purpose.

People are starving for compliments more than they are starving for food.

Compliments: There are so many people I love, I appreciate, I admire in this world. The problem is that I am so caught up with myself and thinking about my problems that I forget to thank people and tell them how much they mean to me. I made it a habit to compliment the people around me each day with a meaningful compliment. Whether it’s my wife, my brother, my mother or my admin. People around me get their share of compliments because I do it with intention.It makes them feel like a million dollare but it gives me unlimited power. The power that I need to energize the world and to keep doing good. People are starving for compliments more than they are starving for food. Feed someone else a nutritious compliment before you feed yourself a nutritious breakfast.

For extra credit I do things like pray, learn torah, take a shower, take a multivitamin and a D3, have some cayenne pepper and a lemon. Eat my fair share of protein and veggies. Check my calendar and make sure I am prepared for the day but even if you did one of those ten things each day, you might see an improvement in your happiness.

BIO: Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO and co-founder of digital marketing agencyAjax Union. He is a public speaker, certified Google Trainer, and published business author. Joe enjoys speaking and writing about a broad range of business topics in his seminars, webinars and articles. Joe is the host of the popular podcast CEO Mojo and the producer of Joe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization in Brooklyn, a group with over 11,000 CEO’s and a contributing member of the INC Business Owners Council, a community of the fastest growing companies in the United States. Joe is proud of all his accomplishments, but most of all he is proud of his successful foodie wife and beautiful amazing kids.

Eating Bread Is a Luxury, Can You Afford It?


“Pass the bread, please” says the man that can’t fit into his shirt while holding the butter knife with one hand and the plate of margarine with the other hand. “Let’s go, pass it down while it’s still warm.”

That man was me, I would eat bread like some people spend money they don’t have, on credit cards. I could not afford the luxury of eating all the bread and asking for doubles but I still did it because I didn’t know what it was doing to my bottom line.

I would eat bread like some people spend money they don’t have.

You might ask, how could you not know? It’s the same question I ask my friends that are 50k in credit card debt and have no emergency savings, no lifeline and no cash in the bank. They are constantly spending more than they earn and buying luxuries with their income.

I am not talking about people who are spending money buying the basics and are on minimum wage. I am talking about people who make multiple six figures and still can’t make their mortgage payment because other things take priority.

Losing 75 pounds puts things into perspective for me. When I look at a luxury food item for example let’s say, chocolate. I ask myself, can I afford that? Am I in the condition to purchase that and eat it? If I am being true to myself, I will answer that I really can’t afford it because I am still overweight and I am not burning enough calories each day to justify that bar of chocolate.

When I look at a luxury food item for example let’s say, chocolate. I ask myself, can I afford that?

Someone once told me that if you can’t eat anything you want, you are simply not living. Who would want to live like that. I simply smile and say your are right. I my mind I think to myself, how can anyone live with 75 pounds of extra fat on their body, carry around all that weight just because they can’t control their habits, their desires and their impulses.

Being fat held me back from doing simple things like running after my kids and playing catch or like standing for long periods of time. It held me back from going for a nice 6 mile walk around the park which is one of my favorite things to do now.

Being fat held me back from doing simple things like running after my kids and playing catch

The interesting thing is that I can afford to eat bread right now because I am happy where I am, I need to eat it in moderation. I ate bread every day for the past week and did not gain a pound. Why? Because I didn’t over eat more than I burned and I also was aware that It’s a luxury.

Overspending on luxuries when you can’t afford to do that is a bad habit that we justify and so is overeating the wrong types of food.

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The 10 Dumbest Things I Do

Jump Shot.. NOT!

Its real easy to give people advice on what to do. What about giving ourselves advice? We find other people who have all the faults in the world but we sometimes forget that we do pretty dumb things.

When thinking about 2016, I want to keep in mind that I am not the smartest person in the room and I can learn from every person I meet. Everyone has something to teach me.

Here are some things that I do that I want to improve in 2016.

Judge Other People

We all Judge others when we look at them. We must judge in order for not not to be overwhelmed. We take our past experiences and compare them to the present and automatically make assumption. It’s a natural thing that occurs in day to day life. For me the problem is not the day to do judging, its when I get a hint that I am wrong and I shouldn’t be generalizing other people and I ignore that hunch that I get that I am doing it. When I have that hint of awareness that there is more here than the eye sees and I don’t take that bait. When I do that it’s just dumb and I need to stop doing that in 2016. I will keep judging a book by its cover, title and table of contents but I will not judge the people I meet for the things that they have done and for the way they look. I will treat others with the respect I want them to treat me with and I will continue to grow as an individual.

Waste Time

Wasting time is relative. Some people think its a waste of time to work hard and others think it’s a waste of time to party. The way we invest our time can be looked at in the same way that we invest our money. We can either spend it or invest it. We all had those impulses to buy something we don’t need for people we don’t like with money we don’t have. We just buy it and don’t even eat it. We have big eyes sometimes. For me, it’s with time. I sometimes do things I know I should not be spending my time doing and I do it anyway. It’s not a good use of my time, I can have someone else do it. This year I will be smarter about my time and focus on my priorities and values to help me not waste time.

Chase Opportunity

Opportunity is amazing, it’s what drives people to make changes in their lives. The problem becomes when we start saying yes to things because we think, hey you never know. Its pretty dumb to throw away the opportunity you have with your current relationship for a maybe relationship or your current business for a maybe business that you didn’t even vett well. A real opportunity is when you weighed the risks against the rewards and you make a smart decision. Did you fully think that through or are you emotionally driving that decision because you are being impulsive? In 2016 I want to make my opportunity chasing about going deeper with what I already have and not look for new things that are shiny objects. Everytime you say Yes to something new you are saying No to something old.

Don’t Focus

Focusing on the wrong things is better than not focusing on anything. Focus is about being fully present with one thing at a time. Yes, we have thousands of external distractions each day and hundreds of thousands of internal distractions too. The key is to learn the art of focusing when it’s time to get something done to the end. Like this article would of never got written if I didnt focus on my goal of writing 2000 words a day. Technology and Social Media has taught me to be more distracted than ever before and in order for me to reclaim my focus I need to practice things like mindfulness and meditation. I took Facebook off my phone and that helped me focus too. Sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest impact.

Start New Things Without Finishing The Old

Activation is one of my greatest strengths. I know how to get started. Taking a stale project and moving it forward or restarting something that most people think is dead is where I thrive. We all know that your greatest strength can also be your greatest weakness. I keep starting new things and I don’t finish the old things so I have hundreds of projects that don’t get finished. I pledge to stop doing that dumb activity in 2016 and I get people to help me finish the things that I start.

Am Not Precise Enough

Let’s tell someone to put the stuff in the Whatchamacallit. That’s not specific and it won’t get done. There are times that I know I am not being specific and I do that on purpose. Like during an interview, I like to ask open ended questions and see what people say. Limiting those questions to yes or no questions does not let shed light on the person’s creative personality. The problem is when I give people instructions. Or when I commit to a goal. You need to be super specific if you want it to get done. In 2016 I pledge to be more specific, to tell people what I want and when I want it and how I want it done.

Take Silly Risks

It’s important to take risks but taking risk for no reason is just plain dumb. If you are not in a rush don’t hurry, don’t take that risk just to get there faster because you are competitive. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the risks that are worth taking from the risks that are not worth taking. Its because we don’t take the time to properly calculate the risk or the fact that it’s a risk we are taking. The more we pause and ask myself, what is at risk here, the better we can decide and choose what risks are silly and what risks are worth taking.

Don’t Follow Up

Going to a an event, having an amazing meeting and not following up is such a waste. I took over 1000 selfies with hundreds of people last year and I followed up with many but I missed out on many opportunities too. There are times when it’s ok not to follow up, it’s not something you need to do with every person you meet, you have a limited amount of energy and you need to save it for the people the follow up that really does matter. Sometimes I miss a huge opportunity because I simply did not follow up and that is dumb. Getting in the habit of following up is the key. I pledge to be better at following up after I meet with someone, even if it’s just a thank you email.

Listen To My Negative Self Talk

When I see a video of myself, I hear myself on a podcast, or I see a photo of myself. I start making comments in my head that I would never make another people. They say to treat other people like you want yourself to be treated but we sometimes forget to treat ourselves with the positive light we tend to treat others with. This year I am going to listen to the negative self talk and I finally going to talk back. I am going to stop listening and start responding with so much positivity that it will drown my negative self talk with humor.

Don’t Practice What I Know.

The dumbest thing that I can possibly say is “I know that already” especially when I am not practicing that which I say I know. How many times did you go to a seminar looking for that “new idea” and realize that it’s the same old same old. You keep hearing those ideas that you already know but you are not doing them! This year I pledge to take the things I know I need to do to become a better human being and finally practice them!

Perfection is the enemy of greatness and you can’t be amazing if you try not to make any mistakes. The key is to learn from your mistakes and have progress every day. By analyzing the dumb things I do and learning from my mistakes I will make my dreams come true.

What are some dumb things that you do?

Feel free to let me know in the comments below.