How many times have we kicked ourselves after making a decision that drained our energy?
These include overeating, skipping the gym, watching too much late-night TV, and too many negative thoughts (just to name a few).
The key to performing at our peak energy level is to identify exactly what’s sucking the life out of us. Armed with that knowledge, we make the decision to live a life of absolute exuberance.
So, what are the biggest energy drains? More important, how can we combat them? I’m glad you asked!
1. Negativity and thoughts
Our own negative thoughts will eventually have us playing the victim in the game of life, as if we’ve been slighted or unlucky.
And then there are the negative external influences all around us that we receive from news outlets and friends who gossip.
These thoughts are wasted opportunities. We could be using our mental energy in more positive ways! Always remember that we have only a finite number of thoughts each day.
Make every one count.
The people around us can influence our visions in ways that will eventually have us believing we’re average people. Don’t get me wrong, we should all know how to function in social settings, and we shouldn’t get so lofty about our goals that everyone runs from us.
Yet always remember that the thinking that got us where we are today is likely not the same thinking we need to use to move to the next highest level. Know your vision, and don’t accept that your plans include conforming to someone else’s limited beliefs.
How you can take action: Share your goals. Communicate your vision to those around you. They’ll naturally cling, run away, or eventually understand why you have cut back the amount of time you spend with them.
If you don’t plan your life, someone else will. Rather than passively watching the daily news, choose those media outlets that align with your vision and your life plans.
“What’s easy to do – is also easy not to do.” – Jim Rohn
2. Brain clutter
Excessive brain clutter will eventually drain us. Is it the uncompleted to-do list?
David Allen, time-management legend and author of Getting Things Done, says get rid of brain clutter.
How you can take action: A goal without a “due by” date is just a wish draining your mind. Dump the brain clutter onto paper, discard it, or schedule it so it gets done.
3. Information overload
Where is the information overload in your life? Is it the number of Facebook updates, emails, text messages, or requests by people around you?
How you can take action: Cut back on how many times a day you check information feeds. Shut them all down when there’s a task at hand. This alone action teaches ongoing discipline, and productivity increases as a result!
I recommend setting a timer for the task at hand so that messaging doesn’t interfere with your productivity. When the timer goes off, take a break and check on necessary updates. Handy timers are usually installed on phones and computers.
4. Focusing on the past
One of my favorite motivating quotes is, “The past is a cashed check.” Focusing excessively on our past mistakes won’t change anything at all.
There’s nothing wrong with reflecting on the past and reliving the pain of a mistake in moderation, but focus most of your attention on not repeating that error in the future.
Staring into the rearview mirror is a sure way to wreck future plans! Instead, shift your energy to what lies ahead.
How you can take action: Accept the past but focus on the future.
“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” – Abraham Lincoln
5. Lack of mental rest
Excessive use of your brain is similar to overworking a muscle. Without proper rest, it eventually becomes depleted.
Darren Hardy from Success.com says he should be paid for resting as much as he is for producing. Proper rest is what determines our level of performance when our brain is called upon.
How you can take action: Mental rest doesn’t mean we should watch a movie or listen to a podcast. Mental rest means meditation, exercise, or simply doing something that requires minimal effort by one’s mind. Read affirmations or positive quotes, play a pickup game, or go for a walk with a positive friend.
If you can’t do anything else when it comes to your health, control the amount of food you eat at one sitting.
Digesting food is one of the body’s most intensive and energy-consuming tasks.
If you’re lacking energy because your body is overwhelmed by the job of digestion, you won’t be able to think, read, communicate, make wise decisions, or exercise at optimal levels.
How you can take action: Never overfill your plate. Get up from the table when you have eaten just enough. Fill your plate with greens so that if you overeat, at least the food will have provided you with the proper nutrients; in addition, it’s much harder to overeat green foods.
“Activity without purpose is the drain to a life of fulfillment.” – Tony Robbins
7. Sugar spikes
A sugar spike drains energy because it creates an imbalance of sugar levels, and I promise you that artificial sweeteners are not an alternative to sugar.
Remember too that when we work out, sugar is burned before fat, so the less sugar there is to burn, the faster our bodies begin to tap into burning fat.
How you can take action: If you have a healthy diet in place, your sugar cravings should diminish. Eat a healthy diet filled with greens (kale, spinach, broccoli and green beans).
8. Processed foods
Processed foods are exactly what they indicate unnatural. Something in these foods has been modified, and as a result, manufacturers have scaled back nutrients you need for your brain as well as your body to function properly.
How you can take action: As always, opt for fresh greens and vegetables, fresh fruits (in moderation), lean meat and fish (there’s a reason it’s called brain food), and foods with high alkalinity. Remember, you can’t place a dollar value on how you feel, so try to put your diet before many things.
Most of us know that dehydration is what causes the body to break down both mentally and physically.
How you can take action: Drink a tall glass of water FIRST thing in the morning, and it will likely hold you over for the first 3 hours of your day. Drink a medium-large glass every two hours thereafter. Drink more water 30 minutes before and after meals; this helps with digestion too!
How you can take even more action: Understand the vicious cycle that an unhealthy lifestyle can have on your life. For example, if you eat poorly but work out, you are limiting your progress and “chasing your tail” as you try to reach your results. Positive balance and consistency are the keys to success.
10. Not knowing your sleeping pattern
Paying attention to your biological clock allows you to rest better and more productively.
How you can take action: If you don’t do anything right when it comes to sleep, at least aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time, says Michael Breus, clinical psychologist and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan.
Everything adds up. Remember what Jim Rohn says, “What’s easy to do – is also easy not to do.” If every mistake has a domino effect, then so does every positive action.
Raise your standards by standing guard to the factors that are draining your mind.
Doing so will increase your focus, productivity, and confidence, and you will feel enabled to make the right decisions. Do the small things consistently when it comes to your health.
Steer clear of energy-draining habits, and you will ultimately achieve or even exceed your goals!
What is the one thing you most need to start doing?
What is the one thing you most need to stop doing?
What is the one thing that you would add to this list?