Four InvestmentsIt’s important to note that I have a long way to go in most of these areas, but the advances I’ve made in the last 18 months have produced a major return on my investment. 1. I have been exercising regularly. This seems so obvious, but for a lot of us it’s a major struggle. For years and years it has been for me too. The biggest challenge for me has always been where to fit it into my schedule. But this year things have changed dramatically. The thing that has dramatically changed is not my schedule, but my mindset. I’ve always known exercise was important. But now I’m not waiting for a space to open up in my schedule. I’m proactively making space in my schedule for it. This goes back to a key concept I’ve written about before. Don’t say you don’t have time for something. We make time for what we consider a priority. And that’s what I’ve done. When I exercise I feel great physically and it definitely continues to contribute to the uptick I’m experiencing in my emotional and mental energy as well. It’s become such a regular part of my life and routine that I actually exercised five out of the first seven days of my vacation. And I loved every second of it. 2. I have made sleep a much higher priority. This one may seem counterintuitive to some of us, but sleeping more will actually help us get more done. The CEO I mentioned earlier said that this was the single most important factor in his recovery from his physical crash and in his subsequent success. Study after study has shown that getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night has a significant, positive impact on our productivity, our effectiveness, and our happiness. Another huge thing for me has been naps. I would say that at least 3-4 times per week I fit in a 15-20 minute nap. I did this on vacation too. A few of the days, right before I taught my workshop, I would go down to my room, get in the bed, and snooze for a few minutes. I’m convinced this commitment to sleep has been another huge game-changer for me both before and during my vacation. McKeown states that those who choose wisely here, “are able to go about their daily lives with a reserve of energy, creativity, and problem-solving ability to call upon when needed.”
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock3. I am eating better and smarter. This continues to be the biggest ongoing challenge for me. However, I’ve made great strides and continue to look for ways to improve. There have been three things I’ve tried to be more intentional about in this area. First, is portion control. I’m doing much better at not overeating. I’ve concentrated on eating until I’m satisfied instead of eating until I’m full. Big difference. Second, along with smaller portions at the three major meals of the day, I’ve introduced the routine of eating a very light energy snack at around 10am and 3pm. Again, noticeable dividends have been reaped. Third, I have been very thoughtful about my sugar intake. Unfortunately, there have been a couple of weeks this year where I very thoughtfully took in way too much sugar. I enjoyed the moments, but paid the price for it. When I have succeeded in this area, which has been the majority of the year, the benefits in my energy levels and weight have been noticeable. 4. I have been reading more than ever before. Prior to 2015 I probably read 3-4 books per year. In 2015 I read sixteen books. I’ve already finished thirteen so far this year and I’m loving it. This last investment is not universal. It’s much more personal. Reading is one of my favorite activities. It feeds my soul. It energizes me and helps me think more creatively. It just has a way of changing the whole dynamic of my day and week. Let me be clear. I’m not suggesting that you read more. I’m suggesting you create an appropriate amount of space to do something you love.
The most important thing that has changed is not my schedule, but my mindset.