The Energy Challenge: How to Stay Motivated in 2024

This is Day 6 of the 6-Day Energy Challenge. To start at the beginning, click here.

We have reached the final day of the Energy Challenge!

Hopefully you’ve had an invigorating week. You’ve carved out an oasis moment for daytime rest, done a slightly silly — but effective — energizing workout, noticed how different foods made you feel, identified energy vampires, and made time for a low-stakes flow state. (If you missed a day, don’t worry. You can find previous installments here, and do them at your own pace.)

I have loved doing the daily exercises alongside you. What a gift it is to feel less worn out! Like many of you, I have energy-sapping elements in my life that I can’t control — a teen daughter, a mother who needs care. But it’s been a revelation to discover that there are concrete things I can do to feel better. I’ve never thought to step back and wonder: What actions can I take to raise my energy?

After I added protein to my breakfast, my morning energy rose significantly. Taking a regular rest break in the mid-morning improved my focus and motivation in the afternoon. And I intend to spend a few minutes each day immersing myself in something creative. (My next quest is to learn to knit.)

How else can we keep our energy levels high after the challenge ends? Here are a few more tips to light up the year ahead.

Julie Morgenstern, a productivity consultant and the author of “Time Management from the Inside Out,” said that when we consider sleep to be the last thing we do at night, we’re more likely to push it off — staying up to scroll TikTok or finish our to-do lists. Instead, she suggests thinking of a prompt bedtime as a way to get a head start on the upcoming day. Reframing rest as a new beginning rather than the tail end of the day can inspire better sleep habits, she said.

Most of us multitask throughout the day, said Cassie Holmes, a professor at U.C.L.A.’s Anderson School of Management and the author of “Happier Hour.” It’s not unusual to be sitting in a Zoom meeting while ordering groceries online and texting.

But this is not only exhausting, it’s also counterproductive, said Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, a physician at Harvard Medical School and author of the forthcoming book “The 5 Resets.” Human brains are wired to do one thing at a time, she added.

Instead, try time-blocking, said Dr. Holmes, in which you schedule uninterrupted time on your calendar for one task.

If you’re most productive in the morning, block that time to do your most important work, she suggested. And grouping similar activities avoids “transition costs,” the mental energy that we use when moving between different kinds of tasks, Dr. Holmes said. (For example, she told me that she does all of her household chores at one time — on Wednesday evening after her kids are in bed.)

We all know instinctively that constantly checking our phones can siphon our energy, so it’s important to put limits on the habit, said Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and author of the upcoming book “Slow Productivity.”

He advised keeping your phone plugged in at a fixed location when you’re home in the evening, such as on a table in the hallway or in the kitchen. Then “if you need to look something up, or call someone, or check in on text messages, you have to go to where your phone is to do so,” he said.

If you want to listen to podcasts or audiobooks while doing chores, he added, use wireless earphones. “In this way, you are still able to get benefits from your phone,” he said, “but it is not with you as a constant companion. You cannot turn to it at the slightest moment of boredom.”

Immediately jumping to answer every text or phone call from a loved one can lead to burnout, added Nedra Tawwab, a psychotherapist and author of “Set Boundaries, Find Peace.” If you can, let the call go to voice mail. Leave the text unread. “You have the right to be unavailable,” she said.

I’d love to hear your tips on how you keep your energy up — share them in the comments. And I’ll be sending you a few check-in emails over the year to help you stay on track.

Here’s to a revitalizing 2024.

Do you know someone who speaks Spanish and would appreciate this challenge? They can follow along here.

Music and dance are powerful energy boosters. We asked Questlove, the musician, D.J. and member of the Roots, to make a playlist filled with his favorite energizing music. Give it a listen, and check out his notes about why these tracks make him come alive.

Listen: Questlove Made You an Energy Playlist

Starting on Jan. 15, we’re launching our Mediterranean Diet series, a week of daily emails filled with nutritional facts and shopping suggestions, along with recipes from our colleagues at NYT Cooking.

As long as you’re subscribed to the Well newsletter, you don’t have to do anything now. You’ll receive the first installment in your inbox. (If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up below.)

Learn more: Well’s Mediterranean Diet Week

Check out our Latest News and Follow us at Facebook

Original Source

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *