How to do an Energy Audit (so you feel calmer, happier, and less stressed)

If there’s one thing I am convinced of, it’s that our energy is a FINITE RESOURCE.

For the past two years, I’ve used January 1st as an excuse to evaluate how I am spending my energy. This year, I set aside 2 hours with my journal and did a few exercises to make sure that I was “recalibrated” for the upcoming year.

I wanted to share with you what I did, because it was an enlightening couple of hours.

First, I re-did the Core Desired Feelings exercise from Danielle LaPorte. It’s been 3 years since I defined my goals as feelings instead of tangible, external milestones. This is an important part of managing your energy, as it lays the foundation for what is close to your heart – in other words, where your energy really matters.

Here’s what I came up with…

I would like to feel:

  • ​Rested
  • Thriving
  • Loving
  • Mindful
  • Gracious

Each of these feelings has a very specific motivation behind it, and a unique meaning for me. It feels a little too personal to elaborate on these words, but I did want to share my list with you in case it inspires you to do your own list.

I believe that the important part of this exercise is defining what makes your heart sing. Because when I start to focus on the things that bring me joy – and I measure this in terms of how it makes me feel, then it gives me a framework for regular self-assessments. If I’m constantly missing the mark and not feeling these things, then something has to change. Because there is always a choice.

Next, I made a list with two columns: “More Of” and “Less Of”

In the “More Of” column, I listed everything I wanted more of in my life. Most of these were activities that brought me closer to how I wanted to feel. They were activities that gave me energy.

In the “Less Of” column, I wrote down the things that are no longer serving me – where my energy felt misdirected or wasted. The things that took away from my ability to feel how I wanted to feel – the things that depleted my energy.

The beauty of this list it is not a list of resolutions. It’s a list of inspiration. I will keep adding to it.

I created an electronic sticky note on my laptop desktop and I typed that list into the sticky note, along with my core desired feelings at the top.

I look at that list every day, several times a day. It’s my compass for the week. Am I headed in the right direction?

Next, I decided on a word that would be my inspiration for the year.

This is a very personal decision, but I will share my word with you.

My word is THRIVE. In the dictionary, there are two definitions for this word. It can mean “good fortune” and it also can mean “deep growth; blooming.” I love both of those meanings. It’s pretty scary to embrace goodness whole-heartedly. I regularly struggle with guilt and fears of scarcity when good things happen. I want to regularly practice opening my heart up fully to the good things in life – the sh*tty things will still happen but it won’t hurt any less if I close my heart off to the good things.

The last thing I did was to spend some time reflecting on everything I had written down so far, and if there was a courageous decision I needed to make for 2017 to bring myself closer inline to my own values.

At this moment, I am in the process of challenging my own assumptions of what role work plays in my life. I am experimenting and asking myself a lot of “What If…” questions. It’s both thrilling and terrifying. I love it.

My Challenge to You:

Set aside an hour and reflect on 2016. You can follow the exercises I did, or you can decide on your own framework.

I approached this reflection time from the assumption that our energy is finite. We only have so much to give and “borrowing” from the future will eventually catch up to us. So this exercise  becomes a Big Picture energy audit. I’m taking the time to make some tweaks to the framework, and then I will regularly self-assess to determine if I’m comfortable where my energy is being spent.

If not, I will make some changes.

Simple. Not easy. But that’s pretty much how all the good stuff is.

 

THRIVE

 

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