Fuelling your life: you’re in charge
Welcome to the energy series! This is the third of six posts that describes how you can refuel energy so you don’t have to rely so heavily on stress to take you through your days. Why? Because relying on energy as a life fuel gives you more performance, productivity and feels so much better than relying on stress…
My goal in this series is to focus on super boosts: what gives you the most results for the least effort. In my last post, we focused on taking charge and committing to yourself by making three changes that provide significant improvements to your overall energy, health and quality of life. Talk is easy. But committing to walking the talk is harder, especially when it involves new habits to fuel you. Culturally, it feels easier to take care of everyone’s demands while ignoring your own self-care needs. Caring for yourself feels somewhat selfish, when you should do something more “productive”, something you can cross off your long to-do list. So today, we are making a detour and looking at you, in the Bigger Picture of your life.
Reality check: you are responsible for your health, your energy and your life. As a car owner, you are aware that the car dealership won’t fuel your car or schedule oil changes: you are in charge of fuelling and maintenance. In your own life, so are you. W hat you do (or don’t do) builds health or disease. You won’t wake up suddenly burned out and depleted, 30 lbs. overweight, or with high blood pressure. Inadequate fuelling and maintenance get you there, much more than any genetic predisposition – and every bit of scientific research confirms it.
You fuel your car and you feed your dog, of course, but do you fuel yourself? If you’re like most Canadians, no. We all have good reasons to take care of everything that comes our way, except ourselves. Whether you’re busy with demanding work, parenting young kids or teenagers, taking care of your aging parents or relatives, building a business, or all of this together, you come last. You have placed yourself at the very bottom of your to-do list, which means that you never get to take care of you.
You are in charge of what your life becomes. Your parents, friends, boss, kids or the health system are not in charge of your health, of your quality of life, of your decisions. You make them, and you live the consequences. The perfect someday when things will just fall into place effortlessly? No, it won’t happen. Not even the lottery can do this for you. You make it happen, and it can be as simple as making a few small changes, maybe a nourishing breakfast, taking a short walk on your drive home from work, or turning off your phone to get a real break. Choose something small and simple, and keep doing it.
Cheating the system? It’s tempting to believe that ignoring something makes it disappear, but in the real world, it doesn’t, and it will fail you, not the system. Believing that you are the exception and that you’ll prove the “system” wrong, eating junk food and getting away with too much work (or partying) and no sleep? You’ll pay with your health, your life, your ability to do things that you really want. Not the system, you.
Actions, not good intentions, get results: you can think about buying a car or losing weight, but unless you do something about it, nothing will happen. How much are you relying on good intentions and nothing more? You’re in charge, you choose, you live the consequences of your choices, and you either build your energy or use up your last reserves before you burn out, blow up or melt down.
Small steps are more effective than a makeover approach to life. Because small steps demand less time and effort, you tend to keep them, building a whole new new reality, one small step, one small change at a time. You build your health and your life with small everyday actions – such as what you have for breakfast, how much sleep you get, or when to turn your phone off and have a real moment with your partner, kid, friend – or yourself.
Today matters: it’s not coming back, and every day your habits get you closer to a specific future. Do your habits support the kind of life you want? If not, even a small change can make a whole world of difference. What will you do today, to fuel the energy you need and build the future life you really want?