I have personally struggled with my energy levels for most of my life. It's amazing to me that some people seem to have no problems with energy or motivation while I wrestle with these issues often. Sometimes, I run out of fuel and can't push ahead; you may be able to relate. Since experiencing a severe case of COVID last year, lately, I've had more low energy days than not. Thankfully, though, I’ve been recently feeling like old myself again.
Because I struggle with energy levels, I've had to experiment with activities that affect my motivation and mental clarity, such as my diet, sleep, exercise. One thing I've learned over the past few years is that my emotional energy has an enormous effect on my motivation. Amazingly, my motivation for life and work improves drastically when my emotional energy is in check. In this post, I want to share with you some tips on how to increase your personal energy so that you will feel motivated to move forward in life and accomplish big things.
I’m beginning a series with this post that will discuss ways to increase your understanding of what motivates you. Your personal energy levels are an important contributing factor to your motivation; I want to begin this series by talking about personal energy, specifically focusing on the things that impact your emotional energy.
We can't expect to be motivated to take action in life without personal energy. There are many factors that influence a person's personal energy. I've already mentioned that eating habits, sleep, and exercise can play a part in a person’s motivation and energy levels. These are the primary factors that impact your physical body. I also mentioned the topic of mental clarity; mental clarity can impact your ability to focus, process things, create a game plan, process stress and anxiety, and even execute tasks properly.
I also know that prayer and study of the Word of God as well as interactions with like-minded believers impact the amount of personal energy we have. These spiritual influences can affect the amount of motivation we have to do hard things in life and make progress on our God-given dreams.
Discussing emotional energy is important, and I believe this topic contributes to our overall personal energy more than any of the others things I've mentioned. In fact, I think all of the other topics impact our emotional energy. I know that if I'm eating well, sleeping well, exercising, and taking care of my physical body as well as mentally processing things in a healthy way and taking care of the spiritual side of my life, I will feel so much better about myself. Doing these things gives me the emotional energy that I need and allows me to push through difficult situations that may normally deplete my energy.
Let me share with you several actions that I’ve taken to drastically impact my emotional energy and keep me motivated to continue moving forward these last few years.
1. Create good routines of life.
Regardless of whether you are a naturally structured person or not, having good weekly and daily routines that keep you focused on getting things done in life will give you a sense of fulfillment and help you emotionally. I have good, rigid routines in the spring and fall. These routines help me stay focused and on the right track for most of the year. During this time, I know that by 9:00 in the morning, I’ll have done the necessary things to keep me grounded before I start my work day. This is important to me emotionally. When I accomplish my prayer and devotions, writing, and other important tasks, my day feels significant. The rest of my day could derail, and I could have to deal with a crisis in someone's life, but I will still feel grounded because I have already accomplished my important routines for the day.
During the summer, however, I give myself a chance to take a break from my routines for a short time. I still have my daily prayer and devotion, but I'm not as rigid with the rest of my day as I am during the spring and fall. My wife is a principal so it's easy for me to adjust based on the school year. During this time, I sometimes struggle emotionally because I do not accomplish as much as I normally do or practice my normal routines.
I do think it's a good thing for me to step back from my routines and allow myself to rest and change my schedule up occasionally. It’s important for me to be emotionally intelligent enough to know where my emotional struggles stem from and to be able to regulate myself in the midst of them. My routines make a significant difference in my emotional energy and ultimately my motivation to deal with the difficult things I may have to encounter in my future.
It’s important to understand that using energy also helps produce emotional energy. When I'm accomplishing a large number of tasks with my routines, I produce more energy for the other responsibilities I need to accomplish. I know that when I become focused on my routines, I have energy and motivation to move ahead in life.
2. Develop a personal vision for your life.
Vision is very important to energy levels. The wisest man in history, outside of Jesus, spoke to what vision does for a person. Solomon said in Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." I don't think King Solomon was saying that the people would literally die if they had no vision. I believe he meant that having no vision can take the life or the energy out of a person. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Though this verse specifically says that knowing and obeying God’s Word brings vision, you will perish internally if you do not discover your vision through the lens of prayer and reading God's Word. You can't sustain a flourishing, prosperous life that's full of energy without a sense of vision.
When I’m not doing well with my personal vision, I become cynical, and I start viewing situations as problems and excuses. However, when I know where I’m headed, I start viewing issues as opportunities rather than problems. Obstacles actually begin to motivate me to figure out a way to accomplish my God-given, personal vision.
3. Engage in the key relationships in your life.
When I'm depleted, I can count on someone in my structured inner circle or my personal support team to fill me up. If you’ve listened to me for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about relational nutrients. Relational nutrients are like the wood in a fireplace; if you have no wood, you have no fire. If no one is pouring relational nutrients into you, you will have no emotional energy or motivation for life. The people in our lives can either deplete or increase our excitement and energy levels. I want to resource from people who leave me feeling relationally full, excited, energetic, and motivated to achieve what the Lord wants me to accomplish.
I can also use my emotional energy to give others relational nutrients. Doing this can create a flow of emotional energy instead of stagnating my emotional energy. Emotional energy is like water; if we only receive and never give, there is not a constant flow and we can become stagnant and stale. We will eventually begin to harbor the growth of unwanted things that create relational imbalances. Our emotional energy will decrease and our motivation for doing significant things will begin to diminish as well.
It is important that we maintain a healthy sense of emotional energy so that we can accomplish the vision God has given us. Creating good routines, developing personal visions, and engaging in key relationships will keep us motivated to move forward in our lives and ministries.
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