This is an excerpt from Energy Every Day.
It is important to take a step back and consider your overall mission and your specific goals for increased personal energy. Let's look first at your overall mission for change. What is it that you are trying to accomplish? Here are some possible answers.
- To create more personal energy so that I can consistently perform at a higher level at work
- To create more personal energy so that when I am not working I will have the energy to fully engage with my loved ones
- To feel more confident in my physical being, look better, feel more alive, and have more energy to face each day
- To become healthier through physical activity and enlarge my circle of friends
These simple statements are clear, focused, and expressive of a desired outcome. If you like, feel free to adopt one of these statements, or to combine ideas expressed in them, but, however you arrive at it, your personal mission should be defined in the end by your dream or vision. Of course, this mission statement should include some mention of how you plan to create more personal energy or manage it better.
Now, let's move on to the next level of planning through setting goals. To be helpful, a goal should be realistic, specific, and geared to a set period of time in which it will be achieved.
Realistic means that your proposed actions have a reasonable chance of success. For example, if you were to set a goal of exercising every day for 2 hours, it is unlikely that you would find the time or that your body would tolerate that duration of exertion if you have been inactive.
Specificity in a goal is crucial to evaluating success. A vague goal is impossible to measure. For example, the goal “improve my fitness level” is just too vague. Saying that you plan to eat better is equally unspecific. A better goal would be to improve your muscular fitness by performing 30 minutes of strength training twice a week for the next 6 weeks. This goal is specific and requires only that you exert effort to achieve it.
Tying a goal to a time line implies a sense of importance, urgency, and commitment. Think in terms of weekly and monthly intervals in order to evaluate your progress and make adjustments in your plan.
Finally, test your goals to confirm that the number one requirement for you to be successful in pursuing it is simply to invest energy and effort. If your personal program is well thought out, you should be able to focus on your own actions of investing effort rather than rely on outside factors such as other people, weather, or work to ensure your success. Only you can make a decision to invest your energy in the plan and be responsible for following through.
Here are some sample goals that you can use as models in developing your own:
- To increase my intake of water by carrying it with me and sipping it throughout the day
- To plan my physical activity for the week ahead on Sundays and follow the plan for the week
- To make a 2-week plan for physical activity, keep a daily record of achievement, and adjust my plan before the next 2-week period
- To share my commitment with my spouse and children and ask for their help by grading my performance daily
- To add two snacks to my food intake daily and reduce the size of my portions to five handfuls each meal for the next month
- To plan and carry out a schedule for 2 weeks that ensures 7 hours of sleep every night with no exceptions (even on weekends)
- To allocate at least 1 hour each day for relaxation and recreation away from my job, even if it means rising earlier each morning