Energy and Self-Management

Red Swirl CircleIn a problem solving workshop this week, the presenter talked about systems analysis of energy and self-management. The principles apply whether you’re talking about energy for work or energy in our personal lives. There was a nifty little diagram that I can’t reproduce here because I scribbled all over my copy so you’ll have to bear with my words instead.

Basically it works like this: we are being pulled in opposite directions, with energy builders on one side and energy depleters on the other side. The stronger the builders are, the more energy we have. Similarly, the stronger the depleters are, the less energy we have. And if we can convert a depleter into a builder by working on it, we boost the energy by leaps and bounds.

On the Energy Builder side we have:

  • Shower / be clean
  • Perceptive focus
  • Energy awareness
  • Associate with energetic others
  • Listening skills
  • Act energetically (fake it ’til you make it)
  • Flexibility
  • Nutrition/exercise
  • Humor and fun
  • Positive self talk

On the Energy Depleters side we have:

  • Inhibited
  • Non-challenging work
  • Taking hits
  • Procrastination
  • Stress and burnout
  • Inability to handle change
  • Worry

Of all of these, the most important is positive self talk. Negative talk reinforces negative beliefs, so we need to actively do self coaching to document and reinforce the things we do well.

As soon as I heard this bit, my brain sidetracked to thinking about what we do to ourselves on our merry whirl of weight loss and blogging. When I listen to others, to myself, and read blogs, I find litanies of all things negative. We ate badly, we didn’t journal, we didn’t exercise, we are fat, we are ugly, we snacked too much, we didn’t need that piece of cake, our clothes don’t fit, etc. etc. etc.

Sound familiar?

When we’re in that kind of a funk, those energy depleters are pulling hard. We procrastinate on getting back on track. We find ourselves unable to handle change so we resort to the familiar and caloric. We worry about our choices, our appearance, our health, our out of control lives. We get stressed and burn ourselves out. And binge.

What if, instead of focusing on the negative, we really try to remember and reinforce the things we actually ARE doing? I didn’t snack this afternoon. I walked at lunch. I did 20 min. on the treadmill. I tried a new food. I had good hair today. I look good in this color. I went to my meeting and participated. I planned my food. I got 7 hours of sleep. I journaled. I tried today.

It’s so easy in the blogs to be down ourselves but to be honest, reading enough of it – and writing it myself – just makes me tired and drained. Focusing on the positive doesn’t mean giving up on making changes or pretending that we don’t make mistakes. Because obviously we do.

But I’m going to try, especially going into the stressful holiday time, to concentrate on building my energy and not depleting it. How about you?