Tag Archives: intentions

How Can I just “DO IT”? (Part 4)

Now, you understand about brain energy, resilience, transitions and activation energy. So, “How can I just DO IT?”

Feel free to read this a couple of times to think about it and consider what it means for you. This is putting it all together.

First, let’s review and go back to the car analogy: The first time you try to get to a new destination you are more likely to succeed if you have a large full tank of gas and plenty of time in case anything unexpected happens. This means: To incorporate a novel transition, you are more likely to succeed if you have lots of resilience & maximum brain energy. You set off on your drive (using your activation energy). You may not yet know the “best” route. In fact, you may get lost or end up in construction and traffic (using still more activation energy). In other words, you will need more energy to do something new, and you only have a set amount of energy to start with every day. Plan your day accordingly. More “new” or “unusual” events planned, the more energy you will drain.

You are better off if you have a large full tank of gas because you still have other places to go (more transitions or activities to do) after your first destination, and there may not be a gas station nearby. In the future however, each time you go to that destination, you will likely do it better and faster. The more frequently you drive there, the more efficient your drive will become. In other words, the more “routine” something becomes, the less activation energy required for it.

Concept #4. Hectic days can sabotage our good intentions.

A hectic day has more novel transitions & is often complicated by the requirement that there are specific times those transitions have to be completed.Remember that novel transitions are transitions that are not a regular occurrence. The more novel the transitions, & the more of them that you have in a period of time, the more activation energy is required for each event, the bigger the drain on your brain energy, and the more hectic your day will feel. A hectic day is really like a day with lots of novel transitions scheduled into it – rapidly draining your energy.

Going back to the car analogy when you are over-scheduled with lots of novel transitions over several days: Effectively, you are just DRAINING your gas tank and throwing rocks into the tank too effectively shrinking the size of the tank and decreasing the amount of gas you haave. You will be running on empty pretty quickly. Hectic days have the potential to sabotage your good intentions without warning.

Bottom line, hectic days are days when you just have lots more going on & they are not your usual routine. These are dangerous days. Mistakes happen and good intentions fall by the way side. Often, we end up in survival mode and not being our best selves. We may stop taking the time to take care of ourselves. We are in danger of burn out. These are times when you eat the foods you know aren’t good for you, when you are stressed out, when you consider skipping your workout.

Remember, if it is a novel transition and/or it needs to be done at a certain time (ie. getting to a new appointment), it will deplete more activation energy and may become part of a hectic day. Now you know this. You can prepare for this. It means you will need to plan for more frequent recharging times, more breaks, more times to decompress and slow down. You may choose not to add in too many novel events in a week if you have that option.

In my house with teenage boys, there are certain times of the year that are just full of predictable hectic days, and they revolve around the boys’ schedules. To prevent burn out and to make sure I continue to take care of myself, I create a plan ahead of those predictable times to boost my resilience and brain energy around those times so that I maximize my time and what I accomplish then. I also try NOT to plan “new activities” or “novel transitions” at those times if they are not necessary.

There is a good argument for regular exercise, healthy nutrition and for taking care of your brain energy and increasing your resiliency: If you are fit and you have been taking care of yourself (mentally, physically & spiritually), you will have more resilience, have more brain energy and therefore, more activation energy available to you & you can do so much more before you have exhausted your supply of activation energy and your total brain energy.

With knowledge, planning and preparation, you can achieve your goals and continue to move forward towards new ones. You will achieve much more in life. So, you can now say, “I will DO It!”


How can I just “DO IT”? (Part 1)

Do you find your good intentions to exercise daily, plan & prepare healthy foods, incorporate new healthy habits into your life, start out well, but fizzle out too soon, before they become ingrained into your routine? Do you find that you know what you need to do to be healthy (ie. Exercise), that you realize you CAN probably fit it into your day but you somehow are having difficulty actually DOING it? What is getting in the way of your good intentions? WHY can’t you just do it? It’s usually not for lack of motivation, lack of knowledge, lack of time or lack of ability. If you are like most people, you are probably disappointed in your lack of discipline or you may wonder if there is something wrong with you. Over the next several blogs, I will discuss a different way to consider what’s happening. Then maybe you will be saying, “Let me do it!”

#1 Concept: Brain Energy.

First, we all have a finite store of brain energy. “Brain energy” is the total amount of energy your brain carries with it at any time and determines what you can accomplish in a given period of time. Your total capacity for daily function is a reflection of your current quantity of brain energy. If you have more brain energy, you can do more and you can challenge yourself more before you need a recharge. So, you can accomplish more when you have more brain energy.

So, your daily ability to function is based on how much brain energy you have. An easy way to see the link between brain energy and function is to look at toddlers. Think about when toddlers deteriorate after missing their nap. They have exhausted their brain energy and essentially don’t “function” as well. They need some quiet time to recover their brain energy & “get it together.”

The good (& sometimes bad) news is that you and your environment can change the amount of brain energy you have. Choices you make to take care of yourself can increase your brain energy. This will be further reviewed later.

For now, understand that we have brain energy that determines how much we can do every day and that the amount of brain energy can be changed. We all want more brain energy.