As I look ahead to 2015, I’m pretty sure I want the same things you want. The details differ, but most of us are in pursuit of three things: happiness, health, and prosperity.
If you agree, this is the one resolution you should make:
Take care of your energy level!
Why? Because we need energy to create happiness, health, and prosperity.
When we are energetic, we are happier. Period. That part is pretty simple. But it goes beyond that. Far beyond.
When we are energetic, we are more determined and more able to overcome obstacles. When we fall down, the energetic jump up and try again. Energy fuels our ability to take actions that create happiness.
Furthermore, our energy does not just create happiness for ourselves. When we are energetic, we are also more able and willing to help others. We can be more generous with our time and energy. And we all know that helping others is a source of happiness for others as well as for ourselves.
Energy is essential to being healthy too. The lethargic don’t take care of themselves. They skip the exercise and eat whatever is handy or comforting. This, obviously, is a downward spiral. It takes energy to maintain your health.
Energy is also a necessary ingredient for increasing prosperity. Your chances of winning the lottery or having a rosy future handed to you on a silver platter are nearly zero. You must take action to better your situation and action takes energy. The early bird gets the worm. Carpe diem. We create our own luck.
Thus, for a great 2015, take care of your energy!
Want to know the 8 steps to game-changing energy in 2015? Read on!
1. Don’t be a victim
Victims are at the mercy of circumstances and people. They are helpless. Being a victim sucks the energy right out of you.
Don’t think this applies to you? Think again. If you complain, about almost anything, you are a victim. Stop it.
In 2014 I got a call from a highly successful, high-ranking employee at a major corporation who had recently switched companies. She was concerned she’d walked into a horrible corporate culture and was starting to feel like a failure. She complained about her boss and questioned the motives of her peers. This unstoppable woman had become a victim. Almost overnight. I told her to stop it.
You must stop it as well. Repeat after me: “I always have choices and it is up to me to discover, recognize, and select the best path.”
Taking control creates energy!
2. Eliminate the “shoulds” and the guilt that are dragging you down
I guarantee that your To Do list, whether on a notepad or etched in your brain, includes countless activities that have no significant bearing on your happiness, health, or prosperity. Cross them off your list! Don’t let nagging “shoulds” and guilt control you. If you owe someone something, see #1. Then move on.
3. Stop calling yourself names and telling yourself what you can’t do
If you are normal, you are your biggest critic and most formidable obstacle. You probably don’t even realize how bad you are. Start paying attention. Do onto yourself as you do onto others! Start treating yourself with a little respect.
This is especially important if you blame your problems on unavoidable physical characteristics. “I’m just too short to be promoted!” See #1.
Negative self-talk eats energy!
4. Avoid whiners
Some people suck you dry and rain on your parade every chance they get. While no one is a perpetual jolt of energy and bucket of brilliant ideas, some people never have been and never will be. At least not for you. Don’t feel obligated to keep those people in your life. Walk on by. Spend your time with people who help you get excited about life and what you can accomplish.
There was a young woman in my dorm at college named Mona. She could not have been more aptly named. She moaned constantly. No one benefits from moaners! Your friends deserve to be clued in if they act like Mona. Do your best, but be prepared to move on.
Faced with moaning employees? Send them this article. Be sure they read #1 about victims. Give them feedback. Be prepared to move them out if they are more trouble then they are worth.
What about everyone else who moans? Their behavior is their problem, not yours, unless you hang around long enough to get dragged down.
5. Avoid tasks that drain you
Some tasks are better than a strong cup of coffee when it comes to making you feel alive and alert. You need more of those in your life and fewer of the opposite, the ones you dread. While we can’t avoid everything we don’t like, we can delegate, outsource, and eliminate more often than we realize. We can find new and better methods, or new and more productive perspectives.
Consider your inbox. Does it represent a dreaded time-sucking task? Get someone else to deal with it! Can’t hire an assistant? Arrange a swap with a co-worker. You manage his and he can manage yours. This forces you to identify criteria governing what deserves attention. Instead of wandering around in those messages, let your partner sort, respond, and clean house in a fraction of the time.
Afraid your job has more energy sinks than energy sources? You could be in the wrong job. See #1. Or it could be time to shake things up. No one wins, your company included, if the majority of your responsibilities lead you to procrastinate, drift, fall asleep, or take your displeasure out on others.
Everyone wins if you are doing more things that pump you up. Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your accomplishments and gains stem from 20% of your efforts. There is a lot of effort flying around that is accomplishing nothing!
Your personal responsibilities matter too. They can suck every bit as much energy out of you as your job. Once again, see #1. Get creative. There are always alternatives to the status quo.
My mother hated cooking but she had five children and a husband. Seven total. Perfect! So we each got a day of the week to plan, cook, and do the dishes. That decision eliminated 86% of one chore she hated. Meanwhile, we learned to cook and do dishes. Even the youngest. She got Friday night when my parents went out, but quickly graduated beyond TV dinners and pot pies.
Check your assumptions. Not everything needs to be done, done well, or done by you.
6. Don’t think about diets and brutal exercise regimens, think about your energy level
I’d tell you to eat and exercise well, but that sounds like those perennial resolutions that are broken in a matter of days. This New Year’s resolution, “Take care of your energy,” is different. It means you have to pay attention to your energy level and figure out what improves it. What foods make you feel spunky and which ones leave you lethargic? What does exercise do to your energy level?
Don’t lay down the law with resolutions about calories and workouts, because you don’t know what will work for you. If you did, you would be thin and fit already. And please don’t diet! Diets are recipes for self-depravation. They don’t last. And failure and self-depravation will not leave you feeling more energized.
The answer is to experiment. Try different routines, both dietary and exercise, to see what makes you feel more energetic. Give each a fair trial by committing for 3-4 weeks. As you pay more attention to your energy, you will find what works for you. Just remember, while you can get advice from others, these are your experiments and your decisions. This is about your energy, not guilt and someone else’s “shoulds.” See #2 and #1.
Over a year ago, I decided to shift my diet dramatically to vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains other than wheat. For one month! Not forever. Just as an experiment – to see what it did for me. At the end of the month, I saw no reason to return to the traditional American diet that is comprised predominantly of muscle and wheat. I was thinner, more energetic, and able to eat more than ever. And I learned which foods I am better off avoiding.
I’ve done the same with exercise. I pick a routine. Try it for a month. Learn what works, what I like, and then decide what I want to do the following month. This keeps me active, provides variety, lets me adapt to the seasons, all while I continue to learn about my energy level. Learning and success – recognizable energy gains – are extremely motivating. More motivating than the scale.
Sometimes I change the routine in less than a month. And that’s OK. It is not a failed resolution, just part of the learning process. My rules are simple: pay attention to my energy level, make conscious choices, and keep experimenting. In other words, replace one activity with another as I strive for greater energy.
I think my next experiment will involve figuring out a way to deal with my email while on the treadmill. Cleaning out my inbox is a definite drain for me, but if I could do it while walking, I’d definitely come out ahead!
7. Skip the caffeine and sugar jolts
Take a walk instead! Re-read #6
That’s an order! Laughing is good for you. There have been numerous studies showing that laughter relieves stress, increases oxygen flow to the brain, etc. It also makes you happy. In short, laughing creates energy. Take time out to laugh. Hang out with funny people. Choose humorous entertainment.
Oh, and toss in a smile. It can put you on a slippery slope. Smiling can easily lead to laughter!
So jump out of your chair and start noticing what makes you more energetic! Tend to your energy level and you will be more ready and able to pursue happiness, health, and prosperity in the New Year.