So why are our energy levels so low and why do they seem to be getting worse?
Put simply, the modern way in which we are living is filled with a tone of habits that drain our energy and not enough of the good habits that energise us. We find ourselves out of balance, which in many cases is leading to burn out.
Our habits fuel so much of what we do. Essentially our energy is driven by our daily and weekly habits in certain key areas of life. For example, how you manage your mind, nutrition, exercise, sleep, how you interact with technology and also your work life balance. We can also develop habits that allow our mind and body to re-charge and re-energise.
The more of the good habits you have in these areas of your life, the better your energy. Equally the more of the bad habits you have, the worse your energy will be. It really is that simple.
The science around habits is also simple: Focus on a new habit for one month. By the end of the month you've done most of the hard work and the habit is in place. Equally if you want to drop a bad habit, just avoid that habit for one month and you're pretty much there. A maximum of three habit changes per month is optimum, any more and you'll find you won't achieve any.
Of course, you need some motivation through your first month to get you started, but it will be habit that keeps you going.
Interestingly having worked with thousands of people within organisations over the past 10 years most people have the same habits, so don't worry, you're not alone.
Here are some examples of energy draining habits that most people have; being switched onto technology from the minute you wake to the minute you try to fall off to sleep, constantly swapping between tasks at work, eating the wrong type of evening meal, eating the wrong type of lunch and afternoon snack, going to bed too late, going straight to work in the morning without any morning exercise, the wrong type of breakfast or skipping it all together. The list goes on!
So starting today, let's get you back on track. Here are some key habits that lead to great energy. Pick three of these habits that you feel are the most achievable for you and really focus on sticking to them for one month. As you go through the month you'll begin to feel your energy improve. By the end of the month you will have formed three new energy habits.
Evening habits - these are key to ensure you start the following day with good energy:
1. A light evening meal - e.g. light healthy protein such as chicken, fish or tofu and lots of colourful vegetables. Avoid the heavy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. This aids digestion, boosts energy, helps with weight loss and improves sleep.
2. Ditch technology an hour before bed - To improve sleep, simply stay away from the TV, laptop, phone or any other technology.
3. 20 minutes stop time at the end of your working day to re-energise your mind. This could be sitting in silence, being in nature, listening to relaxing music or meditation. My personal favourite is TM meditation, search online for a weekend course near you.
4. Early to bed, early to rise - This gives you the best quality sleep, and gives you time in the morning for exercise and a good breakfast.
Morning habits - these will help to keep you energised all morning
1. 20 minutes of morning movement - Kick start your energy each day with 20 minutes of movement. It doesn't matter what, as long as you're moving e.g. 20 minutes of yoga at home, 20 minute fast walk or cycle into work or a 20 minute circuit toning programme.
2. Matcha green tea and a high energy breakfast. Here's my favourite - Porridge oats or amaranth pops with shelled hemp seeds, chia seeds, Goji berries, blueberries, cinnamon and almond milk.
3. Start the day with a list of your three must do's; these are the three actions that will have the biggest impact on your performance. Keep focused on these three through your morning.
4. Do one thing at a time and work in 60-90 minute intervals, then take a break. This way of working will keep your mind fresh, creative and energised.
One final important point to mention, there's no need for perfection here. Remember the 80/20 rule: as long as you stick to a good habit 80% of the time you'll be getting the benefits!
To score your energy levels, you can take my 10-minute online energy test www.energiseyou.com/energycheck