We are always seeking a state of being beyond the grind of daily life. Whether it be happiness, well-being, gratitude, mindfulness, you name it, we all look for formulas and practices to help us.
So here is one I like: Intention + Energy = Vitality
Let’s take this one from the sum. Vitality is experiencing life with strength and energy. I can’t say it equates to happiness or well-being, per se. But living life with vitality is a great way to experience your day-to-day existence. When you feel vitality, you are taking on what comes at you. You feel ready, energized and poised for action.
By intention I mean working with a plan toward a stated set of goals. It’s having a plan and working toward it with concerted and sustained effort. For me, this means that I write down my goals and I track progress. I have come to believe that these are essential. It starts with a sort of journal process, written in my own handwriting. It will eventually end up in a productivity application. For tracking, I keep a simple spreadsheet that I can access from my computer or phone. Both take about 2-10 minutes per day.
Energy is the key input to everything we do. By energy I mean the conscious approach I take to daily life – do I tackle tasks with energy or do I treat them as drudgery? A word that I like to use when firing people up is “rally.” We have to rally to get something done or to get it over the finish line.
I’ve created the habit of choosing energy as part of a daily mantra. Even if I’m tired. Even when I don’t “feel like it.” Even if the task at hand isn’t exciting. It’s a better path for me. It makes me happier and more productive.
The way I see it, time is our only non-renewable resource. When I focus on what I can control (the energy I put into things) instead of what I can’t (time), my days are filled with these wonderful pockets of productivity and clarity. My relationships are better, too.
It’s easier to choose an energetic approach to daily life if you’re feeling good, of course. For me, it starts with my physical being. Am I getting enough sleep? Am I consistently getting the exercise I need to be my best? Am I managing my stress with things like meditation? Am I practicing a growth mindset? How am I fueling my body – with junk or with good stuff? Am I managing health KPIs like my blood pressure and my weight?
I have moments when I stray from the habits that I have built up over time, but I have learned to not stress about it. What matters is not how often I stray but how often I return to my habits.
In the end, having a vital, energetic life is about paying attention and making a series of good, small, choices, micro-decisions if you will. Those decisions are all up to us, which, if you think about it, is pretty awesome.
Onward and upward, my friends.
McKeel Hagerty is CEO of The Hagerty Group. Visit www.mckeelhagerty.com.