The key to making healthy habits stick is to focus on your managing energy. If you’ve ever struggled to stick with healthy habits, this one’s for you. I’ll show you how to create the energy you need to adopt healthy habits that stick.
We hear all the time that we need to create certain habits as part of a “lifestyle” (I swear, lifestyle has become another term for diet).
But here’s the thing we don’t hear (maybe because it seems a little elusive; or maybe because it would actually take some of the glory away from the diet industry): energy and health go together. Creating healthy habits that stick takes energy.
Side note: when I talk about “healthy habits,” I’m talking about the habits that feel healthy and desirable and aligned with how YOU want to feel - not a one-size-fits-all set of behaviors. I have a post all about my approach to finding the right healthy habits for you.
Creating healthy habits that stick starts with managing energy
Let me explain what I mean. I’ll use changing your eating as an example because we’ve all been there a million times, yes?
OK - so, let’s say you want to make healthier meals and incorporate more vegetables into your days. In order to do that - you need to find recipes, plan meals, get the groceries, do the food prep, learn how to cook new things, and manage your brain when it craves the things you’re used to eating.
Each and every one of those things requires energy. And energy is a finite resource. If you don’t intentionally create and manage your energy, this seemingly simple change (I know you tell yourself you “should” be able to do this), feels nearly impossible.
And let’s just remember that you are not alone in this. The diet industry is estimated to be worth more than a whopping $70 billion industry. And it’s because they are brilliant at giving you “tools” without sharing how to actually be successful with them.
What your attempts at creating healthy habits may look like now
Let me guess - you decide to change your diet; you decide to start exercising more; you decide you’re going to be more patient with your kiddos.
But then… after some period of time - sometimes it’s a few days, sometimes it’s a few months, a lot of the times it’s until 7:00 PM that same day… you’re eating the snacks you vowed not to get into; you’re snapping at your partner; and you realize there’s no time left in the day to get in movement.
And at the end of the day, you feel defeated, deflated, like you have to start all over tomorrow.
I know it feels like food is the problem. Or maybe willpower. Or maybe there just isn’t enough time in the day.
Either way, you feel guilty that you couldn’t “do better.”
There are so many elements of diet culture at play here, but let’s focus on one:
You need to manage your energy to make healthy habits stick
When your energy is depleted, it feels nearly impossible to make healthy habits that last long-term.
You’ve been taught that you need to make these changes to create energy, but it’s simply not true.
There are actually plenty of ways to create the energy you need so that you can make sustainable habit changes that last. This will set you up for success to achieve the well-being you desire.
(Check out my post: 15 Ways to Boost Energy Fast for tips to boost energy in 5 minutes or less)
So, if you’re ready to make some changes to your lifestyle and you want different results this time, let’s actually do it differently, shall we? Instead of focusing on the changes you are going to make, let’s focus on how to create and manage the energy you need.
So how do you start to manage your energy?
The first step to managing energy is to understand it. So, let’s get up close and personal with your unique energy. We all have different energetic rhythms, responses, and preferences, and it’s essential that we know what yours are so we can live in flow with them.
There are many elements of energy that you can get curious about. I’ll share a few of my favorite ways to manage energy below, but the key is to do what works for you! You may want to reflect on all of them, you may want to focus on just a couple. There is no wrong way to go about managing energy.
Just promise me you won’t start another meal plan without spending some time here first 🙂
What makes your energy go up?
Let’s start with a positive (I am kind of an eternal optimist, but not in a rose-colored glasses kind of way, in more of a, “Let's start with what’s working and figure out how to create more of it.” - kind of way).
Throughout the day, notice:
- What types of projects, conversations, activities, and meetings leave you feeling upbeat, energetic, content, and clear-headed?
- Are there people who light you up and leave you feeling excited?
- What kinds of foods agree with your energy?
These things give us insight into how we can create more energy throughout the day.
What makes your energy go down?
OK - now let’s take a look at some of the things that may be draining your energy throughout the day, leaving you susceptible to feeling irritated and having increased cravings in the afternoon or evening.
Notice when your energy dips -
- What were you doing when it went down or right before you noticed it went down?
- Were you doing it alone or with other people?
- If you were with other people - who were they?
- What were you talking about? How did the conversation go?
- Did you eat around that time? If so, what was it and how is it sitting with you?
All of these factors (as well as many other things) can have a big impact on your energy. When we can clearly start to see what affects your energy, you suddenly have more control over managing it.
How does your energy fluctuate throughout the day?
I love all of these, but this one may be my favorites. Reflect on a typical day. Can you see a pattern in when your energy is at its highest and when you experience dips?
I recommend you start by noticing:
- How do you feel when you wake in the morning?
- How’s your energy around 11:00? After lunch?
- How is it around 3:30 or 4:00? When you sign off at the end of your work day and transition to family time? When your evening starts to wind down?
- How do you feel when you get in bed at night?
Once you know when your energy is at its highest, you can capitalize on that time by planning projects/outings/meetings/play-dates around it.Once you know when your energy is at its lowest, you can make decisions about ways to support your energy during that time. You may also choose to plan for some naturally energizing activities in that time such as a short stretching session to improve circulation or a few minutes in the sun to clear your mind and refresh your energy.
Awareness is key to managing your energy through the day!
What are some key red flags that tell you your energy has dropped or is about to?
If we look for them, most of us can find some signs that our energy is going toward the gutter. For me, I start to feel a tightness in my chest and I get a bit irritable. My focus starts to get scattered and, for some reason, I start to think I can do more than one thing at once (this typically leads to more agitation for me, so it can become a vicious cycle if I don’t catch it and disrupt it). I may also feel cloudy in my mind and have a hard time completing (or starting) tasks.
Knowing your red flags is a key part of managing energy because they signal you to tune in and respond to whatever your body needs in that moment before you experience further exhaustion.
Just tuning into your energy can give you some really good insight into how to find more success on your journey to well-being.
But, I’m guessing you don’t want to stop there and I am working on just what you need - a post all about ways to support your energy throughout the day. Make sure you sign up to keep in touch or come follow me on Instagram to be the first to know when it's here!
And while you wait, promise me you’ll take some time to understand your energy, because that understanding is key to knowing exactly what you need to make healthy habits that stick!