If you’re like most stable, 9 in the morning til 5 in the evening, two hour daily commute Americans, the word “habit” is probably used most in terms of something you’d like to quit.
Smoking… drinking… eating junk food…
For those forward-thinking progressive people intent on self-actualization, you may find yourself preoccupied with how to effectively form a healthy habit – one that adds gas to your tank instead of draining it.
Oil pulling… meal-prepping… yoga…
Does it take 3 weeks? 6 weeks? And how many new habits can you take on at once before you get tired and quit all of them? What happens if your habits drain you and detract from the energy you had before healthy habits become your downfall?
The solution, of course, is to curate your habit development to only include habits that will replenish and rejuvenate your spirits in and of themselves. (Although even that is just step one on a lifelong journey to having sustainable energy – more on that later.)
Everything that you do should serve the life you want to live.
Marie Kondo told people that everything in your physical space should bring you joy. And that if it doesn’t bring you joy, it’s not assisting you in building the life that you dream of. Similarly, if the way that you spend your time is draining you, then your energy expenditures aren’t fulfilling their function.
You should feel juiced by your interests. They should make you feel alert, rested, and alive.
We’re going to look at ways you can incorporate life-activating habits into your routine — because happy hour, shopping, and watching sports are only takers. They don’t give.
Make One Meal a Day an Event
That doesn’t mean to eat a lavish meal at a fancy restaurant every day. What it means is that part of Western culture involves eating thoughtlessly.
We scarf food down in the car on the way to work. We eat at our desks instead of communing with our friends and colleagues.
We pop a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner, eat in front of the TV, or call out for takeaway because the night’s gotten away from us and we don’t feel like preparing, cooking, and cleaning up after a meal.
And eating, for humans, is much more than physically necessary. Consciously eating is important for digestion (we tend to chew more and eat more slowly when we’re aware) and for human connection. In fact, not eating this way has serious detrimental effects on the quality of your digestion, and in turn on your molecular energy reserves.
Once a day, pay attention to one meal. If you cooked it, marvel at the flavors you used. If someone cooked it for you, taste the love and care that went into the meal. If you go out to dinner with a friend, really think about which dish that would soothe you and practice feeling grateful for the work that resulted in your worry-free dinner. Instead of talking, scooping, chewing, and repeating, sit and listen to your dinner companion. Meal prep for the week to save yourself money and add engagement to your journey with food.
Make one meal a day special. Even if that just means eating by yourself with no sound and no distraction, you and your nourishment alone.
Learn Something New
Listen — everyone’s tired (no, really, exhaustion is an epidemic.) You don’t have to learn a different version of calculus every day.
But taking a few moments every day to learn something new has untold effects on your psyche. You’re stretching your brain-muscle. You’re contributing information to your ever-evolving knowledge bank. You’re increasing your confidence and perspective with every new area brooched.
Plus, it literally changes your brain chemistry. Practicing new skills and adding information to your brain-bank makes the myelin, or white matter in your brain, denser. Which makes future learning easier. And the exhilarating feeling that comes with trying something new?
Learn 10 new vocabulary words per day. Learn 10 new vocabulary words in a different language per day. Listen to a history podcast. Learn how to draw a tulip. Learn how to ferment your own pickles. Learn about an ancient, dead culture.
Binge watching your favorite show again may temporarily balm anxiety, but it does nothing for you in the long run – replace that time with learning time.
Engage Your Legs
We’ve become very sit-centric. We always have a lap. And it’s making us so tired.
The reason is actually purely biological — your body recognizes being still as the first step in going to sleep. The longer you remain seated, the more your body starts to prepare itself for long-term rest. And even worse, if you’re seated and staring at a screen — like your computer at work, your phone, or your TV — you’re already blinking less, which means your eyes are drier and readier for sleep.
Also, movement literally energizes your cells.
So get up!
Practice rebounding. Use your standing desk. Walk around the block during your lunch break. Take your dog for a walk instead of letting him out back. Oil pull with coconut oil while you do core body stretches in the morning.
Habits are personal. They reflect your taste and interests. If you’re not athletic, and you love to read, taking a high-intensity cardiovascular fitness class might be a hard habit to engrain in your routine. But taking a book to the park and reading while you walk across it and back should get you up and moving.
Do what feels right for you.
Every day, try to eat consciously, learn something new, and get up and walk.
That’s a good start – but it won’t fix everything. You see, the world has seen some major changes in the last 100 years.
Some of them are wonderful. We’re all happy we have the internet and air conditioning!
But plenty of what we take for granted now came at a high cost to our bodies…
80,000 chemicals have been invented in the last 100 years. And while we know much more now than we used to, damage to our environment and our bodies has already been done.
The reason exhaustion is so common is multilayered. Not only are we busier, we’re also less equipped at a microlevel to bear the burdens of our stress, poor diets, and lack of movement.
Since we’re not getting energy the natural way, we’re overtaxing our adrenal glands and keeping our livers so busy, they can’t flush toxins the way they should.
That’s why my friend and longtime collaborator, Nick Polizzi, and I developed an entire docuseries on the subject…
And we’re releasing it for free.
The truth is, we should all know how our bodies work – but if we knew, that would certainly cut into the profits of the companies feeding us poison and convincing us more coffee is the answer.
Inside of all of us live the systems meant to correct this energy imbalance. They’re just not functioning the way we should.
I’m really excited to be able to bring this research to you, and I hope you sign up to watch it! Remember, it’s totally free.
In no time, you’ll forget what it feels like for your life-force to be drained from you.