What It Means to Reboot at the End of the Year

Legitimately

One of the key things I do at the end of each year is taking a break or at least slowing way down. I dramatically reduce my stress levels, for like two weeks, and not at the very end of the year — meaning, not after I’m so wiped out tired after the end of the year closeout, but slightly before.

True North Health Center

I’ve done this for years with few exceptions, and last year, I was reminded of why it’s so important.

In December of 2014, I was flying fast in November and December and just kept pushing harder and harder. I had big goals to hit in 2015, and I was not going to be denied.

Yes, I had my stories, and they were driving me harder than usual. We were launching a new product line called Superfood Infusions™(which will now be available at PerformanceLifestyle.com in 2017), and it was the first time my company had ever launched a natural product.

For years, clients had asked me to produce products that helped them eat a whole-foods, plant “based,” (not necessarily vegan) nutrient-rich diet (I know, great eating requires lots of descriptors) and this was one of my biggest challenges to date.

I was preparing for a big talk to a national organization, and my adrenaline was running high. Well, I think it clouded my judgment because by-the-time the clock struck 12:00 on January 1, I was so wiped out tired, I couldn’t even think straight.

I was not the best way to start a New Year, because in January when you want to ramp up, you have slow down to recuperate.

You know what happens next. Tired, I was not present, I was preoccupied, moody and the like; and the sheer thought of ramping up to speed in a New Year felt daunting.

Then, on January the 18th of that year, there was an ice storm. I slipped and fell on my front door steps, and landed myself in the hospital for nearly two months.

Yeah, that could have happened regardless, but I know the truth.

Needless to say, my year was way off course and frankly, I’ve felt the reverberations of that day ever since. I was behind the 8-ball, all year that year. It affected my decisions and the like. Easily one of my toughest years to date.

In 2016, I had to spend almost the entire year correcting course, while living life and running a family and a business and it was learned but not the most fun; which is why this year, I am committed to returning to my old ritual. And that is rebooting my body mind and spirit a few weeks before the end of the year.

A legitimate human reboot is when you remove all the primary stressors and keep only the essentials in play to allow your body to rejuvenate for a new period and a new surge to power you forward.

This rejuvenation (the hardest aspect of human performance that one must accomplish) could mean for you:

  • Taking an early vacation or staycation — where you don’t go anywhere.
  • Clearing your schedule and not getting caught up in too many festivities,
  • Making sure that you get all end-of-year closeout stuff done by the 14th of the December and then operate slowly through the holidays. (This makes you highly productive the first 2-3 weeks of December)
  • It could mean keeping your regular schedule but meditating more, giving your body a break from food, (fasting to some degree), pulling back from your training, getting to bed early and simply being more deliberate but at a slower pace all month.
  • Or any combination of the above.

For me, I use all of the strategies. But this year, it’s time to return to True North (literally and figuratively) after three years on a trail that have taken a heavy toll on me, particularly after my accident last year that took me majorly off course.

It’s time for a legitimate reboot. What’s that? We’ve all heard of a reboot, but for most us, that means committing to less sugar, more exercise, earlier to bed, or some tactical strategy(s) for a defined period.

But what it’s really about is rejuvenation. Rejuvenation is the essence of transformation, and it’s is more important than anything else when it comes to starting fresh in any or every way you can think of.

I go to a health-promoting retreat center and fast for some days, get lots of sleep, rest, recover, relax and rejuvenate — the last being the most important and the grandaddy of all the preceding.

You see, the hidden variable that undermines all health and performance initiatives, especially at the end of the year and the start of a new, is energy debt.

We’ll be teaching you a lot about this in the performance-living 101 module when PL365 launches in February.

It’s that over-expenditure of energy each day that accumulates and leaves you feeling tired all the time, even though you periodically get that 7-9 hour of sleep each night.

It’s that feeling of low-grade fatigue that you can’t quite put your finger on how to solve, and it’s insidious when it comes to achieving your goals because it’s just enough to cause procrastination, and take you off your game.

You’ve got to deal with that.

In 2015 and 2016, I’ve just run concurrent marathons (the life and business kind of marathons), I’m tired, and I’m listening to my body.

As an entrepreneur; I like to look at it as a product-development retreat. And I’m part of the product.

It’s not an adventure trip nor a vacation, it’s primary purpose is rejuvenation (which is the essence of transformation, on which all other aspects of lifestyle depend) and yet it’s still a very productive period with no distractions.

I fast and rest, and move slow focus only on the essentials and gear up for the time ahead when I want to feel vital.

If you can’t get away 100% for a significant period, this is the next best thing and sometimes better than going away on vacation. It’s essential and for best results at a location far away from your usual life. 

Work-Life Balance

It's a Useful idea, but an outdated paradigm.

We’ve all heard about work-life balance—prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation)— but while a useful concept, this lifestyle choice also sets up an impractical duality.

work-life-balance-signs

Today, with access to more information and opportunity than at any other time in history, and the loss of traditional boundaries, we are mostly “working” all the time.

So we need to take time out to take care of our “Self,” our body and life, which needs to happen in the way athletes do it—all the time, just in time, for the right amount of time, in the ways we need, at the level we need as best as possible.

Knowing how to get all your needs met in the process of performing and serving in the world, not in retreat from it, becomes the new definition of “balance.”

And that art starts with being grounded in the unshakable absolute; the big Self, not our busy little energy-draining brains that can lead us to live caught up with so much going on we’re barely hanging in.

Live in that spiraling mind, and the experienced of “balance” is fleeting at best.

Meditation along with a lifestyle strategy that has all the essential skills to live in balance with vibrant health and peace of mind, while achieving our goals, is vital.

So, how do we create a lifestyle that balances worldly achievement with the inner fortitude we all want to maintain? I think you’ll agree, a life that’s richly lived includes both.

To answer that question, it helps to embrace the new idea of whole life performance; where you’ve got the balanced integration of meditation and spiritual (not religious), or simply Self development with the lifestyle skills to navigate the world and from that authentic posture. This ultimate foundation makes resilient living possible as you gain the right relationship with your mind and the brain that directs it. Also, direct access to the unlimited source of renewable energy we depend on to stay both healthy and productive.

Meditation is not just one of those lifestyle skills; it’s the universal life practice that enables you to practice all others from the very best part of yourself.

Meditation clears your mind, sources the vital energy you need to function and perform well, even in the middle of a busy day, simply by being still, relaxing, paying attention and having no relationship to the content of consciousness—the stream of thoughts of any kind we can simply let go.

From this grounded place, we can also contemplate—and mindfully, with presence, choose to engage with thoughts and actions that make sense.

Meditation is the practice that immediately awakens you to the primary source of wellbeing and confidence we long for yet we’ve always had. We were never divorced from it, but for many of us, we’ve gotten separated.

Meditation may start for us as a spiritual or stress management practice; but if you give yourself enough time to awaken, it becomes your natural posture to life itself and the secret sauce maintaining a foundation for balance in your life.

The rest is both science and an art and it’s the result of not just one, but the array of lifestyle skills you’ll learn and connect the dots around in Performance Lifestyle training.

Using Holiday time to Ready and Prepare Yourself

for the Final Stretch and a New Year.

We hope you are having a great Thanksgiving Day Weekend and enjoying the relatively slower pace that the nation resorts to during this holiday in particular.

Turkey Run Runner Thumb Up Cartoon

By far, Thanksgiving’s a favorite holiday indeed, probably because it creates a five-day weekend essentially without all the pressure of buying presents, ceremonies and the like.

It’s a holiday of harvesting, cooking, eating, and sharing with gratitude and resting. It’s also a transformative festival that sets us up for the final stretch of the year, which is not known to be as tranquil.

It’s all how you play it.

In Performance Lifestyle’s training, also known as PL365, an approach to life that uses the metaphor of athletics to guide one’s way of life as an essential characteristic; knowing where you are in the year, anticipating what’s ahead and being proactive, so you’re ready and prepared is important.

Performance Lifestyle is rooted in the premise that we are always preparing for events in our life, similar to how athletes approach the “peaking” for the events they play in throughout the year.

Well, it turns out Thanksgiving is a perfectly postured 3-5 day weekend to rest and recover, reflect on the year past and contemplate the year ahead.

One thing we want is to use this opportune moment wisely. What you don’t want to do, is let this simply be a holiday weekend where you’re stuffing your face, eating leftovers and engaging in merely shopping and watching football games.

All fun things to do no doubt, to some degree; but is your purpose in life bigger than your need for mere entertainment?

What are you up to, and what needs to be accomplished so that you end this year, resolved and evolved, ready to achieve your goals in 2017, even if what you need to accomplish is just getting more rest.

That is what separates the pro from the amateur year-end. Yes, healthy high-achieving people enjoy the holidays, but we find the balance between getting immersed in the festivities and taking care of ourselves, our bodies and our lives while preparing for the year ahead.

That cannot wait until January 1st. If you do wait to close out the year properly, those who are ready will be off to a much stronger and faster start in the New Year, than you. You’ll not only feel that, but you’ll still be recovering from the Holidays and I’m confident that you’ll be feeling that too.

So, to start the year fast, you’ve got to finish the current year strong, to borrow a term from a mentor, Gary Ryan Blair who runs the 100 Day Challenge, which I highly suggest you participate in for at least the first quarter of 2017.

We use this during all four quarters of the year. We’ll mention this again end of December.

To finish the year strong:

1.     Make sure you get lots of rest during the final month of this year. That means to take advantage of the holidays as a preparatory period for the New Year. Don’t just exhaust yourself and then have to recover in January.

2.     Reflect on the year past, contemplate what happened in the year past, where you need to improve and how that will occur in 2017.

3.     Clarify that one resolution you’ll make, that one key accomplishment or achievement in 2017, which once completed, will help resolve many others issues in your life so that you have greater focus, not diluted focus.

4.     Finish the year’s activities, ideally with 1-2 weeks to spare and shift into a different mode, don’t worry, the New Year will be plenty busy. This break will make you more intentional during the rest of November and the first half of December.

5.     Be grateful for everything. In the spirit of this Thanksgiving Weekend, have gratitude for everything that’s happened in the past year, and before it, and what will happen from this moment forward so you have your best year ever.

As my friend and optimal living mentor Brian Johnson communicated when reviewing an insightful book, ” It’s all good mental training.”

The Myth of Motivation Part Two

Why psychology can't cover up or overcome fatigue for long and what to do about it

What’s can seem like a cruel joke at times, is the epic irony of energy.

It’s the perplexing reality that we feel good when we’re spending energy, not so good when we’re recuperating it.

That irony is a dilemma my friends; as it can sell most of us short in life if we are not aware. It may be why we spend so much time trying to motivate ourselves in every way short of what will truly motivate us with relative consistently. That is, learning how to harness and proactively maintain optimal energy levels.

Today, we’re living under the grand delusion that we can keep going each day, and take on more and more of what the market throws at us. On top of life and career, we now have Facebook, which deserves it’s own mention, iPhones and Androids, which give us unprecedented access to information and opportunity to stimulate ourselves and keep going in the face of our tiredness.
The result is we get more and more fatigued.

Besides the obvious coffee and energy drink markets, “motivation or psychology” itself, in the way the market sells it, is to a stimulant today. We listen to people to pump us up through all variety of useful and insightful ideas that will keep us going. Through our toughest periods, we seek stories highlighting heroics that inspire us to keep going; some of which are downright inspiring indeed, and potentially necessary in a cloudy situation.

Inspired thinking is essential to motivation but is only part of the equation.

When it comes down to it, if you’re tired, meaning running low on vital energy; unless you’re faced with an emergency and or a motive that is so compelling, chances are even with all the inspiring stories and insights in mind, you’ll likely to procrastinate until you feel more “up” to it; when you have a surge of energy to drive you through.

The exceptions to that natural pattern that may drive you forward, even in a state of exhaustion or fatigue, are…

  1. To avoid a negative consequence, you can’t live with, or
  2. Being faced with a rare opportunity in plain sight, to achieve a positive outcome that you just can’t resist or avoid taking.

I’m not criticizing motivational speakers as this is a useful service. I do my share of it and enjoy it. It’s also why I tend to talk about motivational ideas in the context of lifestyle. It’s for the very reasons I am talking about in this post series; divorced from the energy to act, motivational thinking only goes so far.

I actually refer to motivational talks more as inspiration, because only a person can zero in on the real motives that are driving them dynamically; and more importantly, only the individual can take the steps to reenergize their body/mind to act on such motives, which is real-world motivation.

Taking the steps to re-energize one’s body-mind is the vital but often missing piece in the realm of motivation and it’s why this post calls attention to The Myth of Motivation—Psychology can’t cover up fatigue. If thought is not attached to proactively renewing your personal energy and power, it’s hard to stay motivated.

It’s why the core messages in a Performance Lifestyle are about…