On Thursday I reviewed the book “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. Without going into too much detail, I wanted to spend this week sharing some of the thoughts I jotted down as I listened to the unabridged audio version of this very successful book. The foundation of the book was energy management in four key areas. The first covered by the book was physical. It seemed logical that the authors would start here since energy and physical strength go hand in hand. As we learn later in the book, energy managment is key in all four areas but for today, let’s focus on physical.
To be fully engaged physically means to be energized for our tasks. So much of what we do these days crowds out any hope of a routine that would help us physically. I’ve been guilty of this for a long time and shortly after starting the book, I decided I would hold off no longer. At 42, my clock is ticking and I want to enter the next phase of my life in better shape than the past 10 years. The authors advocate building in small changes in the form of routines that help bring change in each area. All I can do here is share my personal response. I made it a point to institute two changes in my life initially. One, at each breakfast I elected to replace a piece of toast or extra pancakes with a fruit bowl or piece of fruit. If you eat out, this option may not be available but generally can be negotiated in if you ask and persist. At home, I planned meals the night before, laying out oatmeal, whole grain cereal, or high protein choices like eggs and, depending on my initial choice, bring fruit, whole grains, and juices or water with lemon into my meal. This wasn’t much of a stretch really. Even when I eat the wrong stuff, I’ve always enjoyed whole grain foods and oatmeal.
The second choice I made, and this one was hard, was to commit myself to working out 3-4 times a week with both weights and cardio exercise. As busy as I am, I’ve always tried to just walk or do something similar to exercise but the reality was I wasn’t committing myself to ANY plan. Like any goal that you pursue, it will only happen when you commit yourself to attaining it. My goal is to lose a minimum of 15 pounds between now and the end of the year. To do that, I MUST exercise and make it a priority. So now, I’ve built exercise into my morning routine, heading to the gym right after my quiet time in the mornings. I’ve found that about an hour to 75 minutes gets me through my workout. A quick shower and change of clothes and I’m only at mid-morning by the time I leave the gym. Since I’m an early riser anyway, I’ve usually gotten one of my main tasks out of the way before I head to the gym. Afterwards, I now am starting to feel a bit better after the workout. The first few weeks like to killed me but I knew I had to work through it. Now, at the end of my treadmill time, I’m not feeling as tired. I’ve not lost a ton of weight yet, but I’m feeling better so I know it’s helping me.
Even what little work I’ve done has given me a bit more energy and it has me hungry to see where I meet be and how better I might feel after 25 pounds, or 50! The routine is still taking some time to adjust to but gradually, it’s now becoming a part of my daily regimen. I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’m now finding that at night when I’m with the kids, I’ll elect to take them for a twilight walk by the lake instead of just sitting somewhere or going to the store. This gives me extra exercise and helps me to feel more rested at night. I’m still not where I need to be routine wise. This past week was horrible for eating the wrong things. I told my wife I’m going to need two weeks to make up for this one bad one since I made some unwise meal choices. But the key is overall, I’m starting to feel better. Getting energized is just one fourth of the plan to be fully engaged. Tomorrow, in part two, I’ll discuss the second part of full engagement. That being our “emotional” energy.