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 GrowTime.tv. 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.