As a parent, if there was one item in my house that I would buy stock in; that is one of the most essential things in the house; that keeps the kids busy on those stressful days; that provides the spark that is needed to make most things in the house work- batteries. I can’t even begin to describe how many little gadgets, from toys to remotes, in the house operate on batteries. The level of frustration that we feel when a battery runs out and we do not have a spare is indescribable. As a result, I am constantly on battery/energy conservation mode. I make sure all the toys are turned off, nothing is left running when it is not supposed to, and that there is always a healthy supply of batteries in the junk drawer.
We, as humans, also operate on energy. We, as humans, also function like a battery. We need to be charged, which can happen in various ways. We can feel drained, which can also happen in various ways. We can find ourselves wasting energy as well as doing a good (and sometimes too good) job conserving energy. If we viewed our body and mind as batteries, similar to how most parents view the batteries in our gadgets and toys, and invest more time and energy in when, and where, and how we use that energy, how would things be different? What would you do differently? In 2018, I am asking you to take that approach and be mindful of your battery, in particular, when, and where, and how we use it and what and who drains it.
First things first, we have to truly understand and appreciate the value of our battery and the energy it possesses. The energy that we put forth is the difference maker in achieving success. What we choose to focus on and work towards is where our energy goes. The more energy we invest, the greater the chances of success. Energy is the difference maker. We constantly have to be focused on not just maintaining our energy but also building on it. The greater the energy of our battery the more we are able to power. Maintaining and building energy can come in numerous forms, from physical health (exercise, nutritional eating) to mental health (taking breaks, monitoring your energy levels and adjusting accordingly). Personally, I incorporate those aspects but I also find that goal-setting and planning get my energy up just as much if not more. I get excited to see what goals I want to accomplish. It is a reminder of where I want to invest my energy. It is a reminder of how valuable my energy is to me. I also take time to celebrate my achievements and hard work, which energizes me and has me craving more accomplishments. Whatever form you choose to take, the underlying goal is to maintain and increase your energy and keep that battery powered and juiced all the time.
The problem is that while you focus on maintaining and increasing your energy and protecting your battery, there are too many instances where energy is wasted and our battery is depleted. This can be a result of our own actions or the actions of others. We waste energy by focusing on the things that do not really matter and/or the things that will not get us closer to our goals and dreams. We must take an account of what we are using energy on and make a decision about whether it is worth it and if it is beneficial to us. On a similar note, the people around us can drain us of our energy. Some people live by draining the energy from battery to battery, sucking up all the energy around them and replacing it with nothing. Sometimes we have to lend out energy to people that need it, which is great and also why we need to make sure we are always fully energized. However, there are people that are going to drain you and take every ounce of energy you have then move on. We must protect our energy from not only our own decisions but also from the actions of others. Ask yourself one two-part simple question- is that thing, that activity, that person worth the use of my energy AND will it get me closer to one or more of my goals?
I made a conscious decision one day to list out the things that energize me and the things that drain me. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Not so much in identifying the things that energize me, as I find that it is somewhat easy to know what makes us feel good and ready to do whatever it takes. The difficult part was in identifying the things that drain me. In being honest with myself, I realized that my relationship with my sister drained me. Without going into detail, I can share that our relationship has been a very tumultuous one for about 5 years now. I used up so much energy fighting and arguing and going back and forth. When I made my list and her name was on the negative side, I knew that as difficult a decision as it would be, I needed to cut her off from my battery. As mean and crude as it sounds, if she was taking energy from me that was not going towards accomplishing my goals and dreams, and also not being invested in mutually beneficial relationships, then she needed to get cut off. I can say that it was one of the best decisions that I have made so far. I felt a tremendous burden lifted and made a conscious decision to preserve my energy and it absolutely worked.
In 2018, I hope that you have goals in mind that you want to accomplish. In laying out those goals you must also do an assessment of your battery. You must determine your sources or energy as well as your sources of wasted energy. In addition, you must identify those that drain you of your energy and do not replace it. In doing this process, especially at the beginning of the year, you are setting yourself up for success.