Eliminate Burnout by Living a Life with Purpose
Are you a person who thrives on a routine? Or are you more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kinda gal? Do you start things like exercise plans and art projects, or even new career pursuits but then quit before you see the benefit? You find yourself just going through the motions, and never seem to get anywhere, even though you’re exhausted from everyday life.
Letting the days slip by, one into the other, can make you feel like you’re not living a life with purpose. And that, my friend, sucks all the juiciness out of life that was there in the first place.
Instead of thinking that you’re a person who will never get their shit together, let’s reframe it. You are probably suffering from burnout. I mean come on, look at the world we are choosing to live in. There is so much information, communication, expectations and crazy “life stuff” to make anyone feel a bit dazed. Add on top of that poor diet, overscheduling, and a lack of energy will zap every last bit of inspiration and determination out of you.
So how can you even start to reign in this rolling disaster that you refer to as “life”?
Infuse your daily routine with purpose.
We all know that we are supposed to go to the gym, avoid junk food, sleep more – I could go on and on. But after many years of coaching clients, one thing I know for sure is that if you don’t have a solid reason “why” you’re supposed to do those things (aside from you know, your health and stuff) you won’t do them. The motivation won’t be there unless you really see the consequence of failure. Adding purpose to your daily routine will compel you to make those little choices that add up to big changes.
Purposeful routines make you successful. They are the building blocks of how you function, create, and rejuvenate in a way that doesn’t make you cray-cray and want to hit the “rosé all day” if you know what I mean.
Without a proper routine, you are simply using up too much of your daily decision making ability. Every time you make a decision you use up some of your decision making capability. Therefore, over the course of a day you make worse and worse decisions. For most of us, the decisions that drain us are the ones that we make over and over and over again. Wasting precious willpower on these mundane decisions is one reason why many people feel so drained at the end of the day.
For example, decisions like…
What am I going to wear to work?
What should I eat for breakfast?
Should I go to the dry cleaner before or after work?
And so on.
Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy.
And successful people know this secret. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit every day so that he never had to think about what to wear. Tim Ferriss eats the same (healthy) meal for breakfast every day so he doesn’t have to think about what food to prepare.
One of my clients told me that her purpose to lose weight and increase her walking distance was to keep up with her grandchildren at Disneyland. That was the motivation she needed to stay on track with her diet and exercise plan so she could enjoy her vacation.
The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing.
Unless you know your purpose, you will eventually go back to the status quo. That’s why you need a purpose beneath the task list. Real purpose. A true knowing that the next decision (and the next and the next ad infinitum) needs to align with that purpose. Stay tuned to find out more about aligning your purpose with your daily routines. I’ll be sharing more next week.