New year. New energy.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s a fresh start. The first day of the week. The first page of a calendar. The first step into a new adventure.
I always find that any “first” is a great time to audit my energy and shift accordingly.
Most of us are familiar with auditing our time. We look for the areas where we are wasting it and then make conscious choices to invest in other areas that will bring us greater rewards.
But what if we did the same with our energy?
A personal energy audit allows you to check in and ensure the things you do daily generate more energy—rather than drain it.
1. The Body (physical energy)
Physical energy is what most people think of when they think of personal energy. We all know that our nutritional choices, exercise routines, and sleep habits affect our bodies and play a significant role in our energy levels—but many of us don’t demonstrate that we take it too seriously.
We indulge in sugary, processed foods, keep our butts in the chair for far too long, and lie in bed scrolling on our phones instead of getting our much-needed energy-charging Zs. Then we complain that we have no energy.
Luckily, physical energy is one of the easiest energies to replenish. We can alter our physical energy by engaging in intentional movement, eating nourishing food, or going to bed earlier.
2. The Emotions (emotional energy)
Emotional energy, on the other hand, often requires more effort to see a change. We feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed when activities drain our emotional energy. The pressure to make changes can add to that overwhelm, making it a difficult cycle to get out of.
Our feelings of irritation and impatience can come from outside stressors, complicated relationships, or even a hormonal imbalance. But when we can control our emotions, we often find we hold the key to increased energy—regardless of any negative outside pressures we may face!
Here are some ways to cultivate positive emotional energy:
+Track your gratitude daily.
+Express your appreciation of others to them.
+Spend time in nature.
+Practice breathwork and master the art of deep abdominal breathing.
+Change the stories you tell yourself about the things that happen to you so you’re no longer the victim in these stories.
3. The Mind (mental energy)
I saw a meme the other day that said: “My mind is like my internet browser. Nineteen tabs are open, three of them are frozen, and I have no idea where the music is coming from.”
I suspect that meme had so many likes because so many of us feel like that. We’re fortunate to live in an age of information. Everything we would ever like to know is at our fingertips—and, honestly, sometimes it’s a lot. We’re learning it all, doing it all, and feeling like we should be doing more. That’s why so many of us live with constantly drained mental energy.
To generate more mental energy, we must release the “shoulds” and the distractions to focus more on what inspires and excites us. Get creative. Play.
4. The Spirit (connective energy)
Spiritual energy is the most important and most overlooked form of energy. This energy comes from living with meaning and a sense of purpose. Your energy levels rise when your work and daily activities align with your values. When there is misalignment, your energy wanes.
Feeling powerless in the workplace, disconnected from others, and lacking direction for your future are all signs of drained spiritual energy.
To cultivate spiritual energy, you should:
+Work in a field where you do what you do best (and what you enjoy!).
+Devote time and energy to the areas of your life that matter most to you.
+Live in a way that supports your core values.
Recently, on the Flourish Careers Podcast, I got to talk with Sarah Young, the Founder and CEO of Zing Collaborative and the author of Expansive Impact: An Invitation to Lead in Everyday Moments, about clean versus dirty energy.
“Clean versus dirty” is a decision filter Sarah uses to help her trust her inner wisdom. She told me that before every decision, she asks herself, “Does it have clean energy?”
According to her, clean energy is free-flowing and balanced, and it’s crucial for good decision-making, clear communication, and strong relationship-building. You can trust that the energy is clean when you feel seen and safe enough to be yourself.
Dirty energy, on the other hand, just feels off. We’re often unable to put a finger on it, but things don’t feel quite right. The power is imbalanced in some way, or we feel unsafe.
So the next time you face a new opportunity, ask: Does this have clean energy, or does it feel dirty?
Every little thing you do daily is either energizing or draining you. An audit of your typical week can help you identify these activities.
1. Map out a typical week for yourself. (Here’s a helpful printable I found.) Be sure to include every activity you might participate in, whether work, family, play, or housework. For this part of the exercise, including all aspects of your day is essential.
2. Color code your energy. Take two different colored highlighters and separate your activities into energy-draining and energy-generating. What gets you excited? What causes you stress? Identify and take inventory.
3. Note any patterns you see. Brainstorm how you can subtly shift your energy by adding more energizing activities and subtracting some draining ones.
4. Make energy audits a part of your 90-day routine. Even if you’re not feeling an immediate nudge for a change, energy audits are still a good idea. Conduct an energy audit once a season to check your energy levels and make the necessary adjustments.
As you reflect on the past year and plan your intentions for the new year, you can further reflect on your energy by asking yourself these questions:
1. What cultivated my energy this year? How can I do more of that?
2. What drained my energy this year? How can I automate, delegate, or remove those energy drainers?
3. Big or small, what am I celebrating?
4. What are my lifestyle values? Which ones feel out of alignment? How can I adjust to fix this in the new year?
Make a list for the new year:
+Experiences you want to gain
+Relationships you want to build
+Things you want to learn (I call this a Learn List, and I usually stick to only one or two!)
+The steps you need to take to put these plans into action
As a career coach, I often remind my clients: “Work should cultivate your energy, not drain it.”
If your work drains your energy, it might be time for a change. With a daily ritual, like my FREE download, 5 Minutes To Flourish, you can dedicate just 5 minutes before and after your workday to this change. Before long, you’ll notice you’ve changed a whole awful lot and are…flourishing.