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Prioritizing Energy Over Habits

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

I have genuinely enjoyed reading the book '5 AM Club' by Robin Sharma which sparked my interest in reading 'Atomic Habits' by James Clear. I was compelled to try their strategies myself in an attempt to level up my life then become this 'creature of habit'. Although I was able to practice my discipline to really stick with it, I felt more and more emotional and mental resistance to continue which felt like I was no longer optimizing my own energy for use.

After trying to stick to these so-called habits, I've come to a realization that...


I'll explain why in the laws of energy.

"Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another. " - Laws of Energy

To explain the laws of energy in simple terms, I first want to explain the two common forms of energy:

Potential Energy & Kinetic Energy 

The laws of energy simply state that energy has the ability to change from one form to another. This means that if I have a jar of 9 pearls and I take them out to pour into a bowl, I will always have the same amount of pearls. These pearls metaphorically represent energy; they were transferred into a bowl. The pearls did not disappear or appear.

Now, back to habits. Habit formation just doesn't work for me because although I was trying to improve 1% better everyday, I wasn't optimizing to improve 30%, 50%, 100% in one day therefore it became inefficient. Imagine turning on your car to leave in the garage. Yes it's using up energy, but it's not being put into good use.

"Energy efficiency is the amount of useful energy obtained from a system. A perfectly energy-efficient machine would convert all of the energy it uses into useful work." - U.S. EIA

So, I disregard habit formation and instead, invest into passion. I wanted to learn how to ice skate. If I did the 1% improvement everyday on ice skating, I would start to dread it (so will my wallet) because I know what I can achieve in one day. Humans have that knowing and I’ll tell you how I tapped into it: I would watch ice skating videos and movies because seeing people glide on ice just looked so graceful. I started visualizing myself gliding on ice gracefully. While doing so, magical feelings came up for me. That was enough for me to go to the rink and start ice skating. What I did here was optimizing my energy to put myself in the mindset that I CAN do it.

I then put it to the test to see if I can properly glide in one day without holding on the edge of the rink too much. Yes it was initially uncomfortable because I’m using parts of my body that’s not been used in a long time, but my excitement and passion for that feeling of me gliding on ice just washed over the anxiety. Watching driven and fearless children glide right in front of me fed my inspiration (monkey see monkey do) to go faster and have a more relaxed position. After my first fall, I became more confident so by the end of the session, I successfully learned how to ice skate.

How did this happen? My potential energy was increasing from being inspired by the ice skating videos and visualizing myself as the ice skater. It then transformed into kinetic energy when I started ice skating. As my passion grew, so did my energy. Although I'm aware that others optimize energy from habit formation and 1% daily improvements, I've accepted that I'm not one of them. For me and my own energetic needs, it is IMPERATIVE that I take action to use my energy efficiently. When the possibilities are limitless, my energy soars.

Some questions I like to reflect on:

  • What increases my energy and what doesn't?

  • What neutralizes my energy?

  • How am I optimizing my energy?


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