7 Habits to Increase Your Physical and Mental Energy
If you let it, daily life will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you writhing on the floor in pain.
I hate to be so direct, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
As kids, we’re excited to wake up each day. But as you grow older, you become more and more beat down by life’s circumstances, tired of responsibility, and worried you’re just going to die having never truly followed your heart.
But if you’re smart about it, and you’re willing to put in the work, there are tiny shifts you can make in your daily life that can have a monumental impact on your energy, excitement, and direction in life over time.
Most of these require a consistent effort over a long period of time to make them part of your lifestyle. And it’s hard to work on more than a few of these at a time. However, they’ve all had a significant impact on my life and virtually all are preached about by many of the world’s most successful people.
The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.
– Charles Caleb Colton
So, how can you inject new energy and excitement into your life, both physical energy and mental so that you can give the best of yourself to what really matters?
Here are seven habits to increase your physical and mental energy.
1. Do what you fear first thing
Okay, so you’re awake. What can you do to immediately make an impact on the rest of your day as far as your energy level is concerned?
Think of your energy level as a power which needs to be maintained and your emotions as the control room which manages it (kind of like Inside Out).
The better you can manage this emotional climate the more energy you’ll have throughout the day — both mental and physical.
One of the most effective ways to go about this is to do what you fear first thing in the morning. There are two reasons for that:
- Doing what you fear gives you confidence and energy to do more throughout the rest of your day.
- Doing what you fear allows you to get what you dread out of the way so it no longer weighs you down mentally.
This can be something big like starting on a project you’ve been dreading and putting off or something small and simple like scheduling an appointment, making a call, or cleaning out that room.
2. Get active in a way that inspires you
Physical exercise is important. We all know it but only some of us do it. Why is that? There are a lot of reasons, some we won’t get into here, but what is really important to know is that you need to get active in a way that inspires or interests you.
This is important because unless you’re enjoying your workout, you won’t stick to it and get the full benefit. Find something you love to do and use that activity to encourage yourself to adopt a more active lifestyle.
- Martial arts
- Home improvement or craft work even
- Or working out with friends
3. Get exactly the right sleep
There’s a lot of advice out there about how you should be getting enough sleep. It’s critically important but a bit obvious.
What do I mean by that? First, you can’t get too little because sleep deprivation is a silent killer in countless ways (you never notice it but it’s there).
But you also can’t get too much sleep. I’m on the lower end of the spectrum and feel groggy and exhausted — like a train hit me overnight — if I get more than eight hours of sleep (yes, that’s a real thing), with six to seven hours being my sweet spot. Others need nine or even ten hours to function at their best. You need to find your own sweet spot.
In addition to this, you need to maximize the quality of your sleep by turning off devices an hour or two before bed (blue light screws with your body’s ability to prepare for a deep, rejuvenating sleep) and doing something calming like meditation or reading before you snooze.
4. Visualize before bed
As someone who had to work really hard to become an early riser, and then eventually wrote thousands of words and a small book on the topic, I know more than a few tips and tricks for becoming an early riser.
But nothing matters nearly as much as the state of mind you place yourself in right before lying down for bed at night.
By visualizing just before bed why you’re excited to wake up in the morning, you draw a direct connection between waking up and pleasure.
How does this tie in with increasing your energy? How you wake up dictates a lot about the quality of your day. By starting off energized and excited, that energy carries over into everything you do all day long, even if you don’t notice it.
5. Retain a clear vision and sense of gratitude
Much of what saps the energy away from us in daily life isn’t physical at all, it’s mental.
Without the right mental attitude, each day can begin to blend together and become a real drag with us constantly reflecting on how our life isn’t what we want it to be and how we’ll never get to where we want to go.
This kind of attitude is exhausting. Yes, make no mistake, mental turmoil such as this has a direct effect on our physical energy (and a big one).
6. Weed out toxic associations, replace with those who will challenge you
Toxic people are the ultimate energy leeches. One single toxic association can dry your entire energy reserve on a bad day, so they’re about the energy equivalent of a forest fire.
But while you’re at it, don’t just look to get away from these people and leave it at that. Make it a point to start seeking out other more positive associations to replace them with.
Particularly, you want to find people who will challenge you to do better. These are people that will not only help you move forward in life but who will help you find excitement in each day. The kind of people that always seem on-point and excited to get up each morning. That’s the kind of person you want to be so those are the kind of people you should look to attract (they exist, I promise).
They’re rare and there is no magic formula for finding quality people in life, but if you’re looking you’ll find some really good people who can bring you up instead of spending your days with people or a person that just wants to bring you down.
7. Spend a percentage of your day following your “heart project”
“Heart project” isn’t a cute moniker, it’s a very specific term which refers to a pursuit that is centered around your ultimate passion or dream.
Not just any passion (it’s not a passion project) but your absolute, ultimate dream in life and nothing a single iota less is acceptable. It’s about reviving (if it’s been long-lost) your belief in the magic of life, which is alive and well if you know how to look for it.
This could be a half-hour first thing in the morning or an hour at the end of your day. It really doesn’t matter when you devote the time or even really how much you spend (at first, at least), simply that you start spending a little time each day doing what makes you excited to be alive.
What does this have to do with increasing your energy? Similar to having a clear vision, when you’re spending a portion of each day following your dream and doing (or working towards) what you truly love, life takes on new meaning, one which makes you feel revitalized and excited to wake up in the morning.
You feel alive again because you can see the progress you’re making, you’re enjoying doing it, and however slow you’re moving you know you’re moving forward– and doing what you were meant to do. This alone can inject a great amount of energy and vitality into your life.