“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~Dan Millman
I don’t care who you are or where you live, we all have one thing in common: We like to dream—to close our eyes and imagine that we’re living the life we were meant to lead. It’s a desire that’s imbedded in our DNA. To want more. Achieve more. Become more.
It’s why we start new businesses, write novels, learn to play the guitar, get our MBA, change careers, learn to cook, sew, or speak Swahili.
We’re all chasing a dream, everyday life dreams as well. Like simple happiness, good health, or financial independence; finding a place to call home, someone to love, or a path to inner peace. Perhaps it’s just a life with less pain, heartache, or loneliness.
Dreams are not only what make the world a better place, but you and I better human beings. We need to chase our dreams every chance we get. Fortunately, most of us do, and with all our hearts.
Unfortunately, many of us give up on those dreams almost before we even start, stuffing them in the back of our sock drawer until we forget they were ever there.
It’s easy to make excuses for our failed dreams, too. We don’t know where to begin, or we have no time, money, skills, or commitment. But the real enemy is deeper and more insidious.
We’re plain worn out. We have no energy to chase our dreams.
There’s always somewhere to go and something to do. Late meetings at work, carpool to drive, lunches to be made, trash to be taken out, homework to finish.
We catch a cold. Lose our job. Start a relationship. End a relationship. Birthdays. Holidays. Trips to the dentist. The list is endless and exhausting. It’s no wonder we have nothing left in the tank for a better life. It’s all we can do to maintain the life we have.
Money is not the great currency of our time. Energy is. Physical energy to get out of bed and positive energy to do something better with our lives. All the noblest dreams in the world mean nothing if we don’t have the energy to pursue them.
Several years ago I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear. Two months later, I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma in the other ear, a benign tumor.
While neither is fatal, and there are certainly people with far worse conditions than I have, I found myself in the unusual position of being tired all the time.
I could live with the symptoms. Dizziness. Vertigo. Ringing in the ears. Hearing loss. But being worn out, tired, and deprived of my energy, well, that was the real enemy. I had no desire to chase the things that were once important to me.
At the same time, I was going through a career change that drained even more energy, coupled with poor eating habits that drained me even more.
That’s the thing about energy; it can drain out of us in so many different ways. Sure, bad health will do it, but so will a toxic relationship, or not being able to pay your mortgage, or finding out your son is being bullied in school. Worry. Fear. Regret. Anger. They’re all “pin in the balloon” energy busters.
Fortunately, there’s hope. Lots of hope. We just need to learn how to get our energy back. In fact, the fight to reclaim our energy is one of the most important battles we’ll ever fight. Triumph here and we gain the strength to fight an even greater battle—the fight for our dreams and the life we imagined.
Of course, reclaiming our energy doesn’t happen by accident, and it’s not always easy. But every day there are golden opportunities for us to get back our energy. Here are some random tips to get started.
Just point your finger at one and go for it. It doesn’t matter which one. Any one will do. Then try another. And another. Before you know it, you will find yourself with enough energy to reclaim the life you desire.
Energy Building Tips To Live The Life You Desire
Stay in the moment.
Want to see your energy soar? Catch yourself living in the past or the future as often as you can.
Notice regret as it pops up, or guilt, or longing. Recognize when you start thinking about what might or might not happen tomorrow. Catch all these “past and future” moments, and then bring yourself back to the moment you’re living in. The present moment is the only place where we will find both peace and power.
Engage in activities that keep you in the moment.
Deep breathing exercises work, as will meditation, yoga, gardening, reading, swimming, running; a walk in the woods, a bike ride at the beach. Nature helps, so does humor, volunteering, gratitude, compassion, and doing virtually anything that brings you joy.
Avoid the 24/7 always on lifestyle.
Turn off lights, music, news, equipment, and most importantly, the mind. And while you’re at it, stay away from conversations with people who only want to talk about how screwed up the world is. The more you obsess about something, the faster you’ll bring more of it into your life. And every time we do, we just suck away our energy.
Seek friends who uplift and support, make you smile and laugh.
Avoid friends who infringe on your space, covet your time, suck your energy, and give nothing in return. We all know who they are.
Avoid excessive food, drink, or anything that consumes more time and energy than it gives back.
In short, avoid anything that brings you imbalance, fatigue, and illness, no matter how pleasurable or intoxicating it may seem. This means poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
Treat your body like a $200,000 Ferrari.
It’s not enough to just avoid putting negative influences into our body. We need to put the best gasoline into our bodies we can.
We can start by drinking more water and eating nutrient rich foods that give energy. That means colorful greens, fruits, good proteins, and fats. Experiment with a gluten-free or sugar free diet, or just try eating less packaged and processed food. Keep a journal and take note of how your energy levels rise and fall based on what you put into your body.
Live your own life.
Avoid saying, doing, and becoming something only because it’s what others want to see and hear. It takes too much energy to live your life for someone else.
Live an authentic and conscious life.
Avoid doing work you don’t want to do, places you don’t want to live, or situations that no longer serve your needs. Being conscious of what you do on a daily basis puts you on a path to finding your purpose in life, which will energize every other part of your life.
Treat yourself well.
That could mean anything. Chocolate. Massage. Mornings off. Exercise. Eight hours sleep. Flowers in the house. A glass of wine. A cup of tea. It also means letting go of self-judgment. When talking about yourself (or to yourself), use only positive, energizing, and life-affirming words.
At the end of the day, all this adds up to a simple two-prong strategy. Avoid the things in life that take our energy away and then find the magic that brings our energy back.
But it takes conscious effort and a seeker mentality. We have to be vigilant, constantly looking within and without at all times, searching for those bits of insight and habit that will recharge our spirit.
It’s the only way we’ll ever be strong enough to chase our dreams and live the lives we were meant to live.
Go ahead and dream, but make your first dream the gift of energy.
Your future self will thank you for it.