Your We often make our worst choices, give

Your energy level is as important to your happiness and success as leveraging your time. Leveraging your energy will allow you to make the most effective use of that time. Effectiveness is the key.

Energy allows you to be present and focused in the moment. It allows you to be creative and efficient.Energy allows you to do more than go through the motions of a task; it helps you achieve the end goal. Your energy and time are opposite sides of the coin. By using both, synergy will propel you forward at a faster rate.

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A common fault of many people is that they expect to perform at a high level, but then fail to take care of themselves in a way that allows them to perform at maximum efficiency. Stamina isn’t the only thing that suffers because of poor health.Peak performers in boardrooms, chess tournaments, and video game contests have all come to the same conclusion. It’s difficult to make clear choices and operate at a highly effective mental level when your overall health is suffering.It may sound strange that one’s health will influence the performance of non-physical contests and activities, but the ability to think clearly is more difficult when the body is struggling because of poor diet and lack of exercise.By not looking after your basic health, you reduce more than your ability to think creatively or to reach the highest levels of thought. Critical thinking and other reasoning skills are impaired because of poor health.We often make our worst choices, give in to our deepest despair, and decide to throw in the towel at times of sickness or when our health is otherwise compromised.

Good habits and robust systems are necessary to overcome those times when our bodies fail us, so that those habits and systems kick in to save us when our temple is under attack.While we can’t control when we get sick, we can reduce the frequency by making better life choices and being attentive to our health. We also have substantial control over our weight, strength, and energy level through what we eat, drink, how frequently we engage in rigorous activities, and the time we give ourselves to recuperate and rest.I won’t sit here and preach about what you can’t eat and drink or tell you when to engage in physical activity. Those are choices you must make on your own based on what works best for you. I can, however, tell you that certain behaviors will improve your overall health. Whether you choose to do them is up to you.It’s not surprising, then, that Time17 listed energy and physical stamina as the number one trait shared by most successful people.

Forbes18 listed exercise as the number one thing highly successful people do in the morning. Other studies have found the same.The American Heart Association says19 that, “Physical activity boosts mental wellness,” “improves mental wellness,” and prolongs optimal health. All three of those references are examples of leveraging time and increasing the odds of achieving success and happiness.I can refer to my own experience as an example. Prior to spring 2014, I’d been struggling to finish my fourth book. It came in fits and starts, despite finishing the rough draft of my third book in six days.

I was exhausted, both physically and mentally, but after losing that first twenty pounds, for the first time in over a year, my focus returned. I had more energy and willpower. When the free time from my teaching job finally presented itself, I could sit down, put pen to paper, and finish the book.I don’t recommend you go on a diet.

Maybe it’ll work for you, but for most people, it doesn’t. The reason is that diets are temporary and when the diet is over, habits return and the weight comes back, usually in a greater number than the original amount.Diets also focus on what you can’t have as opposed to what you can.

People anticipate the end date, which generates more pressure to quit or cheat, even if they would have been able to keep the weight off in the first place.The other issue with diets is that people often attempt to lose a large or unhealthy amount of weight in a short period. Many times, the weight lost is water weight that returns quickly.From my experience and what I’ve learned from others, the best way to manage diet is through small permanent changes. Those changes can be things like replacing certain bad food habits with better habits.

Take my experience of adding vegetables in the refrigerator or packing a lunch instead of eating out. Just those two simple changes alone can make a great difference over time without having to resort to abstaining from any food or starving yourself.The key is that the changes you make are permanent and the results are lasting. Those tiny changes, over time, will create tremendous results through new healthier habits.Engaging in frequent exercise is also important. It improves strength, stamina, and has other health benefits. It’s up to you how you want to exercise. When I started my action plan, I made the choice to do push-ups and sit-ups every morning except for Saturday, when I let my body rest.

I alternated the days when I did each type of exercise. Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, I did push-ups, and the other days, I did sit-ups. Those aren’t the most effective forms of exercise, but I started small and did them consistently.I never missed a day, and it only took me about five minutes. I now only spend 12 to 15 minutes on my morning workout, but I’ve seen improved strength and definition without using a gym.You might decide to go for a quick jog, go hiking, or play a game of hoops every other day.

Whatever it is, it’s entirely up to you. You can start with something that you can easily work into your existing routine. That will increase the likelihood that you continue.Even if you never add much time or make any major changes later, those small gains will accumulate. Consistency is key. Think like the tortoise and the hare.What if you’re morbidly obese, and you have almost no endurance? The answer is to start small.

Start by doing some physical activity for ten seconds. If ten seconds is too long, start with five. Do your five seconds a day of physical activity for a week, and then add one second every other day for twelve weeks. After that, add a second daily. In another three months, add two seconds daily.In the final three months of the year, add three seconds daily. By the end of the year, you’ll be at nine minutes and 47 seconds. If it helps, employ Principle #11 by giving yourself a small reward when you finish.

Assuming you haven’t doubled your food intake, you’ll be in much better shape.”I don’t want to do that,” you say. “It’s too hard. I can’t.

” The truth is that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want, in order to get the life that you do want. “But wait, you said to know myself, and now you’re saying I have to do something that I don’t want to do?” That’s right. You don’t have to do everything, but knowing yourself doesn’t mean only doing the things that are easy.Most things in life that have value take effort. The more effort you put in, the more value they’ll have for you, and the more joy you’ll gain by doing them.

The bottom line is that life can be hard. It requires effort. Accept it. Decide that you’ll do what it takes to become the best possible version of yourself.”But wait, you titled this book Think Smart Not Hard, and now you’re saying I have to do something that’s hard?” That’s right. Thinking smart instead of hard doesn’t mean you’ll never need to put in effort.

It means that you think intelligently to get more gains and prevent yourself from needing to do more difficult things in the future.How hard will it be to do a few minutes of exercise and change a few eating habits compared to a year of intense physical therapy because you became so obese, you tripped and fell resulting in mobility loss? Which is harder?If your mindset is that doing five seconds of continuous physical activity is too hard or too bothersome, not much will help you until you make a firm commitment to stop letting your short-term desires rob you of your success.You’ll never be successful until you first change your outlook. Until you change your mentality and accept the fact that sometimes life requires of you things you may dislike, you’ll have a hard time developing the skills needed to overcome the obstacles necessary to reach your true potential. Not sure how to change your mindset? I suggest reading the principle on changing your inputs.Even if you’re pursuing your skilled passion as a career, challenges will come your way. You won’t like all parts of your business or your job. That’s part of life.

Again, I go back to making the decision to make a small change and sticking to it.If the diet and exercise principle is something you can’t do now, then let’s make a deal. Schedule it on your calendar for five months from now, and begin it then. For the moment, you can start at Principle #1 and forgive yourself.If you only pick one area of focus between diet and exercise, you’ll still benefit, but you will substantially improve your results when you combine both together. In addition, the skills and patience you develop by creating two good habits instead of just one will transfer to other areas of your life.Principle #24 Get Enough Rest.

Here’s a quick and easy, weird, overnight trick to a happier life: Get more rest. How much rest is enough? If you’re an adult, seven to eight hours of sleep is ideal; if you’re a teenager or younger, you should be getting at least nine hours of sleep20.The sad thing is that it’s not just work that’s keeping us up late at night. Our electronic devices and other distractions are keeping us up later than ever.What if you don’t have enough time? Reflect back on the principle of leveraging your time.

Make time. Lay down the gauntlet on this one and demand that your boss or whoever is compelling you to get less than seven hours of sleep give it to you.Explain how study after study shows a dramatic decline in productivity after working beyond a certain level and how mental function and acuity drop when you don’t get enough sleep.Here’s a creative suggestion. If you’re in sales, offer to compare your prior three months’ average to your next three months’ average of productivity or dollars earned for the company. Make a deal that if the extra sleep makes the company more money, you get to keep half of the difference.

If your extra sleep results in less money, promise to pay all of it back. You might want to quickly read the rest of this book just to give yourself the extra edge, but my guess is that nine times out of ten, you would win out on that deal. If you’re on commission only, test it out for a couple of weeks and see how well it works out for you. You won’t be disappointed.How much does your mental function decline when you’re tired? If you’re driving while sleepy, you’re more impaired than a drunk driver and you become the most dangerous type of driver on the road.

Imagine if you went to work drunk. Do you think your productivity would decline? How about your memory?It took me a while to incorporate this one. Like other people, I used to let television keep me up too late. More recently, I did crazy amounts of ghostwriting. I was usually able to function for a week, maybe two with less than seven hours of sleep a night, but my output slowly declined, and beyond that, my productivity nosedived. I burned out, missed deadlines, and my health declined.

Why do that to yourself?Usually it’s greed, arrogance, or sheer stupidity that lie behind our lack of sleep. There may be occasional instances when you must burn the midnight oil for an unexpected emergency, but make those the exceptions, not the rule. Recently, I’ve made the change to get a full seven to eight hours of rest. It’s made a huge difference.Whatever you must do to get more sleep, find a way to do it. It may be doing your own research to see that you produce less when you sleep less.

It may mean watching less television. Just get it done.I’m a light sleeper. I need white noise or rain sounds to keep me asleep as well as an eye mask. Ever since I added those two components, I’ve dramatically improved my sleep patterns.

Find out what works best for you and then do it.Napping is another powerful way to improve your productivity. Now, the first thing I do when I get home is meditate and then take a 20 to 30-minute nap. Don’t try to push through for the sake of saying you did. It makes no sense. It’s self-defeating, lowers output, and reduces focus.If you have a half-hour lunch break at work and a place where you can go to take a quick catnap, do it. Otherwise, nap as soon as you get home or whenever you feel it works best for you.

Napping helps, but still get a minimum of seven hours of sleep. Refrain from other habits that contribute to poor sleep. Don’t watch television in your bed or sleep more than nine hours a day.The proper amount of sleep increases your effectiveness and has tremendous health benefits. Successful people have known this for a while, and it’s another common trait of most wealthy people.Getting enough rest is essential in allowing your body to recuperate and achieve optimal health and effectiveness.

Like diet and exercise, rest can increase your energy and benefit all aspects of your life.


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