For an olympic athlete to function at such a successful state- only the best fuel sources are given to ensure optimal performance.
High quality food is ingested
Coaching expertise from various disciplines are applied
Regular treatment from various health professionals are supplied
Post recovery routines are in place
Pre training routines are in place
Stress management rituals
That will only be a fraction of what is considered for the athlete. The point is- in order for the athlete to perform at the best, the strategies employed for managing the success of the athlete will be extremely thought out.
For us living in our every day lives why should we be any different. In order for us to get the most out of our lives and live each day to the fullest we must have strategies in place to ensure we are topping up our battery in regular intervals in order to run at the highest output we can.
Our human battery power:
Every day we wake up and and we have the capacity to start the day with a full 100% loaded battery. We want to always be focussing on keeping our battery full and topped up on a regular basis to ensure we can produce the highest output possible.
So how do we do this?
Routines and Rituals!
Routines: allow you to run at a high output
Rituals: allow you to recharge at a high output
One without the other and your batteries need fully replacing!
The more routines and rituals we have in pace, the more time and energy you have to grow.
Have you ever spent waaaaaay too much time gazing into your full fridge saying to yourself “what can I cook for dinner”? Or- looking into your wardrobe with a blank stare in the morning saying out loud “I have nothing to wear”. How trivial do these sound when you have full shelves of food in the fridge or when you have a full wardrobe of beautiful clothes hanging at home.
Many of us quite often spend a huge amount of time and energy and things that just don't require that much time and energy! What could you be spending that energy better on?
Having routines in place that allow us to spend less time worrying about the small stuff means that we can put our energy into much more important things in our lives.
Routines= eliminate wastage and allow you to run at high output.
Your routine will be specific to you:
630am wake up
645-715am walk the dog and listen to music
745-815am showered and clothed
820am leave for work
We want certain behaviours to be automatic over time. Routines are set so you don't have to "waste" energy thinking about the menial things and can focus on the important stuff. Things that are creative, enriching and tie into our deepest values.
Look at an area in your life where you are consistently effective and you will find that there are certain things you do that help make this possible. If you eat in a healthy way its because you have built healthy routines around this that don't just last fort short periods of time. If you are successful in a customer service role, you probably have a routine around how you approach a call with someone. If you are are continually getting stronger in the gym, you probably have a program in place that you follow that allows these results to happen. If you have a loving relationship with your partner, you probably have regular quality time intervals that you both enjoy.
There is no coincidence that success in life comes when you create a structure for success. However this looks will be different for each person.
In order to run at a high output through various routines we must also consider rituals. Rituals allow you to recharge at a high output.
It is important to note here that in order to be effective in our lives we still require an element of stress. Not all levels of stress are bad- stress is not the enemy. It is in fact the key to growth. In order to build strength in a muscle we must over time apply stress to it.
“We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our ordinary limits and then recovering. Expose a muscle to ordinary demand and it wont grow. With age it will actually lose strength. The limiting factor in building any “muscle” is that many of us back off at the slightest hint of discomfort. To meet increased demand in our lives, we must learn to systematically build and strengthen muscles wherever our capacity is sufficient. Any form of stress that prompts discomfort has the potential to expand our capacity-physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually-so long as it is followed by adequate recovery.” -ON FORM Loehr & Schwartz
We want to find a balance between too much stress and too much renewal otherwise we will burn ourselves to the ground- and too much renewal and not enough stress otherwise we wont have enough stress to develop and grow. Just as a muscle requires a “stress” in the form of a weight being applied in order to grow- so must external stresses be applied appropriately for personal growth.
Rituals help you to renew your battery storage back to full capacity- so how can we do this?
Routines and rituals can often be used interchangeably however they are different. Remember routines are repeated, predictable events that provide a foundation in our lives to allow us to maximise our capacity in other areas.
Rituals on the other hand can be seen as special actions that help us navigate emotionally important events or transitions in our lives that enhance aspects of our routines and can deepen the values, connections and relationships we have in our lives. They help us to recharge and fill up our battery. These can be things like holidays, prayer, gratitude journalling, meditation, massage.
Both work together to give that highest output.
We must seek ways to rest and rejuvenate on a regular basis. There are many activities that can be utilised to do this. We can go for a walk through the bush, listen to some music, read an inspirational book, practice yoga, meditate, pray, get a massage or simply sit and connect with your breathing.
Whatever ritual you are drawn to you must ensure that they are ones that achieve renewal without being too demanding. What does this mean?
Many people will say that “training is my happy place and my down time” and often see this as their renewal space. Yes you might absolutely get considerable renewal from training but the demand on the body is also very high. Opposed to something like a mindfulness walk through nature where you are strolling and appreciating your surroundings, the demand is much less.
It is also important to note that rituals like yoga, meditation, prayer and self reflection can also be very demanding on your body and mind. They can be extremely taxing and difficult at times therefore it is important to control your practice and take time out when it may be getting heavy. Self reflection through communication with others or searching within yourself can be extremely draining. It can again produce a huge sense of renewal in us but also be a taxing event. Having a combination of rituals that you enjoy and can utilise during your week will ensure you keep your batteries topped up.
To be fully engaged in our lives- we must draw on all areas- physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. To perform at our best we must manage each area. Disregarding one area will sabotage the whole system.
So how do we ensure we manage the whole eco system of ourselves using routines and rituals?
1. Physical: this area includes training frequency, food, sleep and muscle recovery.
Training: what time and days do you train each week?
How many meals are you consuming each day and roughly what time?
What sleep routine do you have in place to wind down?
How many hours are you sleeping each night?
How are you helping your tight muscles to recover? Massage ball and foam roll/hot bath/remedial massage
2. Emotional: this area includes assessment and reflection
When were you happy and why?
When were you sad and why?
What are you grateful for?
What situations arose this week and how did you deal with them?
3. Mental: this areas includes balancing energy expenditure and recovering energy. Focussing on the task at hand and doing what you can do to conserve energy on tasks that are menial and expending energy on fulfilling ones.
Taking regular intermittent breaks between tasks is crucial in this area.
What tasks am I going to complete today?
What is my weekly routine list going to look like?
What is on my priority list?
How will you ensure you stay focussed on the task at hand?
What menial things can you remove in your life by applying to your routine?
*TIP: 'Weekly Routine' Table available on request.
4. Spiritual: this area focusses on finding ways to rest and rejuvenate. Activities that generate considerable renewal without significant demand and activities that generate renewal with demand. Both are important and must be included.
What activities do I enjoy that make me feel renewed and refreshed?
What are you grateful for this week?
What do you value most in your life?
How can I do more of what I value?
What did I achieve this week?
What can I do for myself to ensure I live a life that I enjoy?
We must manage energy and ensure we satisfy all areas of our lives.
Physical- emotional- mental- spiritual
In the hustle bustle of life it, long continuous work is applauded. The reality is that if you were to ask a high flyer to asses all areas of their life, they will more often than note fall short on so many areas and quite have a deep sense of unhappiness,
Productivity isn't produced by hours put in.
Life is here to be lived. To be enjoyed. To grow, to love and to be a canvas for whatever you wish to do.
Full Energy Renewal Plan: Routines and Rituals available on request.