I’ve been a runner for many years, and I was an “early adopter” of the Fitbit movement. I’ve been using mine for a while, and it is a rare day that I don’t get in my 15,000 steps.
My running habit started in 2004 while I was in law school. About a couple months into my first year I was studying with a good friend and we were discussing our exercise routines. I told him I didn’t really have one, as my primary focus was my studies. He challenged me, and said that if I built a consistent pattern of exercise I’d have more energy to devote to my studies. It seemed like a bit of a paradox to me – give time away from my studies, but be better off as a result because of increased energy. I decided that I’d give it a try.
He was absolutely right. Once I developed a consistent approach to exercise I found that I had a lot more energy to devote to my goals. Ever since then I’ve been hooked.
Energy management is an important consideration in goal achievement, and I’m always trying to ensure that I maintain peak energy levels. I’ve found that certain things – like exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, proper sleep, avoiding artificial stimulants like caffeine – keep me in a peak daily “energy state”. This is something that I rely on to achieve the goals that I’ve set out for myself.
There is however, a critical element to maintaining peak energy, that is rarely, if ever talked about. It is whether or not my goals are exciting and compelling.
A compelling set of goals, aligned with an exciting sense of purpose and direction in life, I’ve found, has a direct effect on my energy.
I’ve noticed, over the years, that I’ve experienced “energy lows” in the following periods:
- When I was in a job that I didn’t want to be in, and felt no future in;
- When I was “in between goal periods”, ie. I had just completed a certain goal but I hadn’t yet set another exciting and compelling goal; and
- I set a goal that didn’t excite me.
However when I had a goal that I was pursuing that was really compelling to me – meaning that I really wanted it – for whatever reason, I found that energy was in abundance.
Sometimes the energy that comes from a compelling set of goals is unreal. I can think of many, many days that I have worked into the night, without caffeine, completely alert, because I was chasing a specific goal that was compelling to me. This is the “flow state” that so many people talk about, and that I have experienced many times. Once you trigger that flow state it’s like you tap into an hidden reservoir of untapped energy that was always in you.
Compelling goals should be at the heart of all “energy management programs”. If you find that you are low energy, definitely look at your exercise routine, your diet, but also take a good hard look at your goals.
It’s my bet that your goals aren’t that compelling to you. If they were then you would tap into that hidden reservoir.