Five Pillars to Achieve Maximum Energy Levels
I’m often asked, “Where do you get your energy?” My entire life I’ve been known as a “high energy guy”. I try to live my life to the fullest and extract as much from life that I can as I pass through it. Although some of it comes naturally to me, I’m also very deliberate with my routine to ensure I get the most from my body, mind, and spirit. Here are five pillars I use as a foundation to maximize energy levels:
- Sleep – My wife and I concluded after the first year with our twin boys that a human being can tackle almost anything in life after a full night’s sleep! I’ve been on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to my sleep patterns. I once slept for 24 hours after a long and hard week at West Point my sophomore year. When my twin boys were first born, I spent that first year of their life dazed and confused because I was sleep deprived. Both extremes of the sleep spectrum were detrimental to my energy and health. There are an infinite amount of studies on the proper amount of sleep, but in the end, it’s personal. Only you can determine the adequate levels. For me, it’s seven hours. A full night’s sleep allows your body to heal and rest and will give you a sense of renewal each morning and the courage to face the challenges of the day. Don’t skimp on sleep.
Take Action: Record your sleeping habits this month. Try different lengths of sleep and chart how you feel that day. Take note of your activities before bed and discern the right pattern that helps you fall asleep fast and remain sleeping through the night.
- Exercise – Fitness maximizes effectiveness. Nothing feels better than when my body feels fit and aligned with my mind. I can take a deep breath and feel the rush of air flow through my body, energizing my muscles and mind to take on any task at hand. Feeling fit gives me confidence, looking fit gives others confidence in me. Energy pulsates through my body because I have trained it to endure the stresses of the day as a result of a daily habit of exercise. It’s difficult to become fit, but it’s very easy to maintain it once you get there.
Take Action: Exercise six days a week for 30 minutes. Try a combination of core strengthening, cardiovascular training, and stretching. You can go to the internet to research a training regime that fits your personality and fitness level. The main thing is to get active for at least 30 minutes each day.
- Diet – Your body needs fuel and you provide the fuel your body needs based on your diet. The problem is most of us follow the SAD diet, the Standard American Diet, which consists of highly processed, high saturated fats and sugars that wears our bodies down. If you could do one thing to change your energy levels, then address your eating habits today. Most of us eat too much and eat too much of the wrong foods. Start with controlling portions and begin eating fresh food in its original state. If it comes in a bag, a can, or is frozen, then it’s probably not good for you. It’s that simple. I’m not a health food junkie. I enjoy chips, soda, and a bologna sandwich on white bread too, I just moderate it and make those food choices the exception and not the rule.
Take Action: Start a food journal and note what you eat for the next two weeks. How much junk are you eating and how many fruits and vegetables are you consuming. Reviewing what you eat in your food journal will motivate you to change. There are several smart phone applications, like the Lose It! app. It allows you to easily keep track of your calories in a fun and convenient way.
- Discover Your Purpose – A large source of my energy comes from having a purpose in my life. A clear direction and path that I chose based on a deliberate process I used to find it. I discovered my purpose through prayer, meditation, reading, and speaking with those close to me to help me find my way. I wake up every day with a clear understanding on what I want to accomplish and with a clear plan in which to do it. Without a purpose, then you will lose focus and the motivation you need to get up every day and face what life has in store for you.
Take Action: Read Michael Hyatt’s blog post on “How to Discern Your Calling”. This post was helpful for me as I began to narrow my options and choose my path.
We all get tired and weary on our journey. Don’t fret if you are in a rut, just don’t stay there and begin to move in the right direction. Whether it’s getting to bed earlier, or changing your diet, or just getting out to get some exercise, start today and increase your energy. What are some of your disciplines that you have found energizes you?