001

Table of Contents
 
Title Page
Copyright Page
Acknowledgements
Introduction
 
PART I - Living with energy
 
CHAPTER 1 - What do you really want?
 
The proactive life
Create it!
 
CHAPTER 2 - Connecting to what you value
 
So what are values exactly?
Commonly held values
 
CHAPTER 3 - The four energies
 
The four energies
Mental Energy
Emotional Energy
Spirit Energy
Physical Energy
Sustaining the four energies
The currencies are connected
 
CHAPTER 4 - Energy sources and sappers
 
You, the vitality vessel
Your Vitality
 
PART II - No more excuses
CHAPTER 5 - Excuses, excuses
 
The top 10
Other excuses you might have tried
 
CHAPTER 6 - What’s really stopping you?
 
Committing to action
 
CHAPTER 7 - Mind your language
 
Pay attention to any language you use that takes away your free will
 
CHAPTER 8 - Accepting what you have to give up to get what you want
 
But my reasons are REAL
 
PART III - Vitality now! 15 essential energy strategies
CHAPTER 9 - What is vitality for you?
 
MENTAL ENERGY
CHAPTER 10 - Visualise to energise
 
Live with energy
Dream boards
 
CHAPTER 11 - Banish mental gremlins
 
Belief
Persistence
 
CHAPTER 12 - Get in control!
 
Influence vs control
 
CHAPTER 13 - Affirmations and celebrations
 
Affirmations
Celebrations
 
CHAPTER 14 - Get creative
 
LIVE WITH ENERGY PIN-UP
 
PHYSICAL ENERGY
CHAPTER 15 - Exit sloth, enter fox
 
The awesome benefits of exercise
Redefine exercise
The four ‘S’s of fitness
Easy exercise
 
CHAPTER 16 - Eat, drink and be energised
 
A little knowledge
A little organisation
Eat differently
Weight loss
So what do you do?
 
CHAPTER 17 - Sleeping beauty
CHAPTER 18 - Relax to renew
 
But why bother?
OK, how do I get started then?
But shouldn’t I take a course?
 
CHAPTER 19 - Have a break
 
So what has this got to do with your energy and wellbeing?
 
EMOTIONAL ENERGY
CHAPTER 20 - Know yourself
 
‘How do you do that?’ you might ask
 
CHAPTER 21 - Energy-giving relationships
 
LIVE WITH ENERGY PIN-UP
 
CHAPTER 22 - Happiness is a journey, not a destination
 
SPIRIT ENERGY
CHAPTER 23 - Get a life!
 
The proactive life
Recreation
A perfect diamond
 
CHAPTER 24 - Learn your life lessons
 
Groundhog Day
Everything you need
Stop struggling
Never stop learning and growing
 
PART IV - Action plans you actually take action on
CHAPTER 25 - Filling your vitality vessel
CHAPTER 26 - Steps to taking action and LOVING IT!
 
STEP ONE – What do you want?
STEP TWO – Make it an imperative!
STEP THREE – Make a plan
STEP FOUR – Repetition
STEP FIVE – Make it fun!
Dear Me
 
CHAPTER 27 - Decision time
 
Recommended resources
Index

001

Acknowledgements
This book is dedicated to my loving, kind, generous, funny husband Jonathan who has encouraged and supported me in every possible way. He gives me a dose of my own medicine whenever I need it. Thank you my darling J.
And a big thank you to all of my children, especially Bryony who was chief tea maker when I needed a break myself.
I also want to thank Emma, my sterling editor, who saw the potential for this book, and her incredibly efficient assistant, Jenny for all her efforts beyond the call of duty.
Finally, thanks to Steve, my dear friend and mentor, who encouraged me not only to write this book, but to fulfil my potential in every way. He truly is a wise man who speaks the truth.

Introduction
If you’re really ready to bust those excuses out of your life and reclaim full-on energy, then fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a challenging ride.
We’ve all made excuses – that’s human. And I don’t want to condemn people for that. Far from it. My aim in this book is to enable you to be honest enough with yourself to get on the vitality path you want for your life, and to stay there.
I’ll give you the information you need to make creative choices for your new habits. Based on 18 years’ experience in energy management, I’ll tell you the relevant stuff about exercise, nutrition, sleep, relaxation, relationships, positive thinking, purpose and values – all those things that relate to your energy levels – without a load of irrelevant theory, jargon or psychobabble. I know you’re a busy person, so this book is succinct and to the point.
Most books on health and vitality assume that once you have a piece of information about how to improve wellbeing, you’ll act on it. But we know that’s not the reality. Knowing what we ‘should’ do does not necessarily lead to permanent, or even temporary good habits.
The shift from ‘I should’ . . . to ‘I do’ is a process, a journey. Each chapter of this book is another step in that journey, but that doesn’t mean you have to work through it from start to finish. You can just do the chapters that seem relevant if it works for you.
This book is really a workbook full of questions you must engage in to create your own life of vitality and energy. If there’s no engagement, there’s no commitment. If there’s no commitment, you’ll just go back to all those tired excuses.
If you’re prepared to make the commitment, then you can have fantastic levels of energy virtually every day of your life.
Ready?

PART I
Living with energy
The first principle of success is desire – knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seed.
ROBERT COLLIER (1885—1950), AUTHOR OF BESTSELLING THE SECRET OF THE AGES
 
 
 
All the things I really like to do are either illegal, immoral, or fattening.
ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT (1887—1943), AUTHOR, CRITIC AND COMMENTATOR FOR THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE

CHAPTER 1
What do you really want?
You probably bought this book because you recognised from the title that you’re someone who has a catalogue of what seem to be watertight excuses about why you fail to take care of yourself properly. Let’s face it, we tend to be overcommitted to work (inside or outside the home), and under-committed to our own health, our families and friends, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s easy to lose sight of what we really want out of life because there are so many demands on our time, we rarely pause to think about it. We get up each day, jump onto the treadmill we call life (currently cruising at about 90 miles per hour), and just try to hang on all day without flying off the back. We forget that there are only 24 hours in each day, and we cannot do it all ! We have to make choices about how to spend our precious time and energy. Reading this, you might protest that you don’t really have a choice about how you spend your time (children or relatives to care for, mortgage to be paid, deadlines at work, laundry piling up, weeds growing), but you are making these choices every day of your life, whether you like it or not.

The proactive life

There is a world of difference between living life in a way that you consciously choose, and simply reacting to the tasks, chores and events that come your way. That’s why this first chapter is entitled: ‘What do you want?’ Because unless you know what you really want out of life, you won’t be able to live with maximum energy. And you might spend the rest of your days with the mantra ‘There’s never enough time!’, feeling like a Cinderella, never able to finish all those chores before you get to the fun stuff.
Let me clarify that when I talk about living the life you really want, I do mean taking the consequences into account. So before you point out that if you were doing what you really wanted, you’d be in the Caribbean drinking tequila and sunning yourself, let me share a story with you.
 
It is remarkable how many smart, highly motivated, and apparently responsible people rarely pause to contemplate their own behavior.
STRATFORD SHERMAN AND ALYSSA FREAS, FROM THE WILD WEST OF EXECUTIVE COACHING, HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
 
For years, my father-in-law from my first marriage made fun of my running and healthy eating. He himself had high blood pressure, a high cholesterol level and did not exercise regularly. He liked a high-fat diet, and socialising in restaurants and pubs was an important part of his life. That’s what he wanted to do. Then he had a series of strokes and sadly ended his days aged 79 in a nursing home. Just a few months before he died, he took my hand, looked at me very intently, and though he could barely speak, said ‘keep running’. I understood completely what he was saying. I felt for him so totally in that moment, and I wonder if he wished he’d lived his life differently – proactively pursuing better health.
Now, how you live your life is a personal choice, and many people insist that they would rather burn out and die young than live a ‘boring’ healthy longer life. That’s fine, of course, if you drop dead of a heart attack and go quickly. But my father-in-law is a typical case of someone who had to spend the last five years of his life in nursing homes, unable to walk, and eventually, to speak, feed or dress himself. He died very young in my view, leaving a beautiful widow who missed him terribly.
This may seem a bit of a heavy story for an opening chapter, but my aim in this book is to help you shift your mindset about how you create energy and vitality – permanently. That won’t happen by glossing over reality. Throughout the book I will provoke and challenge you constantly to examine your life, your habits and the stories you tell that limit your potential.
 
Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to what they want to do.
ANONYNOMOUS

Create it!

I’m urging you now to think deeply about, articulate and visualise what you want out of life, because that is the first critical step toward getting rid of your excuses and enjoying more energy. You don’t have to have perfect answers right now, just open your mind and answer the questions below, or download a clean copy from www.stop-making-excuses.com. I promise you it’s worth the effort to create some strong images that will create a ‘pull’ toward the choices that will energise you and make you happy.
002
Why did you buy this book?
003
What would you like to have the energy for that you currently don’t?
Examples: to run for a bus with ease, do some evening reading without falling asleep after the first page, take up an instrument, learn another language, play more games with your family, think creatively, or have more patience.
004
List three things currently in your life that bring you sustained happiness:
If you don’t think you have three, don’t worry. You will by the end of this book!
005
What other things would you like to have in your life that will make you happy?
Go on, be daring!
006
What sorts of feelings would you like to experience on a regular basis?
Examples: family love, romantic love, being respected, career fulfilment, sense of achievement, excited anticipation, contentment.
007
How fit and healthy would you like to be when you’re 70? What will you look like? What activities will you do?
If you’re already over 70, how about when you’re 90?
008
That’s it! You’ve just started creating your new energised life. This book will enable you to make everything you’ve written a reality – but you have to do it, because no one else will do it for you. Read on for the tools and knowledge you need . . . starting with the next fundamental question in Chapter 2: What do you value?
 
Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows.
UNKNOWN
 
If you don’t have solid beliefs, you cannot build a stable life. Beliefs are like the foundation of a building, and they are the foundation to build your life upon.
ALFRED A. MONTAPERT, AUTHOR OF SUPREME PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE: THE LAWS OF MAN
 
 
 
Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.
GROUCHO MARX

CHAPTER 2
Connecting to what you value
One of the things that typically happens when the pressure is on, is that life becomes a treadmill that never stops. We get so busy and wrapped up in a ‘to-do’ list that we rarely take the time to step back and think about what is important, and why we’re doing all this.
That’s why this chapter is an exploration of what you value in life. This may seem a little odd as a way to get you to lace up your running shoes, but I believe it is vitally important that you understand what drives you, and open your eyes to the ways in which you might be living out of line with what you truly value. Along with Chapter 1, this chapter will act as a foundation for building your vitality and energy.
A basic principle of human psychology is that we go toward what we focus on – so it follows that if you want something, you must focus on it. My experience has shown that when people focus on what they value, and align their lives with those values, they feel happier, calmer and more fulfilled. Ultimately, they are more energised because they are not wasting so much energy on stuff which is unimportant to them.
A tremendous source of stress is living out of line with your values. It feels uncomfortable, and the niggling discomfort grows over time until you are completely out of balance and ill (in body, mind or spirit). This is because the things we value are always floating in our subconscious mind and influencing us whether we acknowledge them or not. When we do pay attention to what they are, we can shape them and live by them.

So what are values exactly?

Values are the things we would not want to live without – the things we hold dear. They can be virtues such as honesty and integrity, generosity or courage. They can be aspects of personality like a sense of humour or enthusiasm. Or they can be irreplaceable things like family, friends, health or inner peace.
On the following pages is a worksheet that will help you to examine and articulate your values, as well as a list of commonly held values. This list is not intended to be prescriptive, but purely to help your thinking about what is really important to you. If you do no other exercise in this book, I would suggest you do this one. Many of my clients have told me that this was the best thing they ever did for self-understanding. Others have come back to me to say that it was an incredibly useful source of guidance when faced with difficult decisions or challenging times.
I suggest that you take at least 30 minutes to sit quietly alone, in a comfortable, peaceful place, in order to think through these questions. There are no easy answers, no right answers. This is about you and what is really important in your (one and only) life. When you complete them, you might wish to copy your list of values into your diary, filofax, palm pilot or blackberry, and make a point of referring to them once a month or even every week! When you do, ask yourself, ‘Am I living my values?’ If you live what you value, you will be living with energy!

SHAPING YOUR VALUES

Virtues – Personality traits – Loved ones – Irreplaceable things
To formulate ideas about what your values are, work through the following questions, and then list your top 5 – 10 values. Answer here or download a clean copy from www.stop-making-excuses.com.
 
What qualities do you exhibit when you are at your best?
Examples: caring, vivacious, energetic, enthusiastic, relaxed, patient, loving, entertaining, giving, fun, professional, efficient, empathic, intelligent, creative.
009
What special gifts do you bring to the world?
010
What is your definition of success?
011
When you come to the end of your life, what will be the three most important lessons you learned?
012
What do you value most in life? List your values, and then at least two ways that you will live those values.
For example, if you list Love as a value, how will you express it? Perhaps by making sure you tell your partner or child every day how much you love them, or by setting aside one evening per week to do something special with them.
013
014

Commonly held values

Achievement
Advancement and promotion
Adventure
Affection
Arts
Challenging problems
Change and variety
Close relationships
Community
Competence
Competition
Contribution
Cooperation
Country
Creativity
Decisiveness
Democracy
Ecological awareness
Economic security
Effectiveness
Efficiency
Ethical practice
Excellence
Excitement
Expertise
Fairness
Fame
Family
Fast living
Fast-paced work
Financial gain
Forgiveness
Freedom
Friendships
Fun
Growth
Health
Helping other people
Helping society
Honesty
Independence
Influencing others
Inner peace
Integrity
Intellectual status
Involvement
Job satisfaction
Job security
Knowledge
Leadership
Location
Love
Loyalty
Market position
Meaningful work
Merit
Money
Nature
Order (stability, conformity)
Openness
Personal development (living up
to one’s fullest potential)
Physical challenge
Pleasure
Power and authority
Privacy
Public service
Purity
Quality of what I take part in
Quality relationships
Recognition
Religion
Reputation
Respect
Responsibility and accountability
Security
Self-respect
Serenity
Stability
Status
Supervising others
Tranquillity
Truth
Variety
Vitality
Wealth
Wisdom
Working under pressure
Working with others
Working alone
It’s not what you say, it’s what you do
Mike came to me for coaching explaining that he felt stressed, exhausted and unable to work to his full potential. To the outside world, he still looked fine. He was good-looking, reasonably fit, and had the clothes, house and car that matched his six-figure salary. But during the previous six months he had begun to develop stomach trouble, chronic fatigue and occasional tingling in his fingers and toes. Both a neurologist and a gastroenterologist could find nothing wrong with him. He had taken three weeks off work to try to recover some energy, but as soon as he was back at work, the symptoms returned.
As we talked, the deep unhappiness began to show on his face. He revealed that he hated his job and the people he worked with, and that he had been homesick ever since moving abroad to take this position that was only meant to be for a year.
‘How long have you been working here?’ I asked.
‘For ten years’, was his reply.
‘Ten years? And what sort of hours do you work?’
He said it varied between 55 and 70 per week.
‘How much longer are you going to spend here in this country, in this job?’
He replied that he didn’t really have any exit plans from either. His reasons? Well, he earned a considerable salary, and there were great educational opportunities for his daughter. He maintained that the most important thing in the world to him was his family’s happiness. I asked him how long he thought his family could remain happy with the situation as it was. That was when he began to realise that there was a vast gap between what he truly valued: the love of his wife and child, fitness and health, travel and adventure, making a contribution to society – and the reality of his life. He slowly came to understand that only by living his values could he create a foundation for his health to stand on.
It was a big step, but he made the decision to reduce his hours (and his income) in order to spend more time with his family, travel more and have more fun. He has made a whole range of changes to his diet and fitness habits, and is dedicating ten minutes a day to total relaxation. This was particularly important for his recovery because he used to spend just about every waking minute in ‘go’ mode. Because he had become so exhausted, regaining his full energy levels took nearly a year. He no longer has any debilitating symptoms, and he feels a sense of vitality that had been absent for too long.
Mike’s story shows how easy it is to lose touch with your values, and to become ‘acclimatised’ to a life that is slowly making you ill and unhappy. It can happen so gradually you don’t notice the loss of vitality and sense of purpose. Mike had to go back to absolute basics to move forward on a new path that is both sustainable and enjoyable.
 
Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that onebecomes rich.
SARAH BERNHARDT (1844—1923), FRENCH STAGE ACTRESS, MEMBER OF THE LEGION OF HONOUR ”
 
 
 
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
ZIG ZIGLAR, AUTHOR, TOP SALESMAN AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER

CHAPTER 3
The four energies
I suspect that when you examined your values in the last chapter, you discovered that they are about much more than a moral compass or a set of behavioural traits. They probably encompass health, relationships, career, mental development and charitable pursuits too.
It is also true of energy levels that it’s not just about one thing. People usually associate energy with physical endurance but energy flows in more than one currency. In fact, there are four distinct types I want to explain to you. Now that you’ve thought about what your values are, it’s time to understand something about the energy you need to live those values.
Understanding the four energies
Imagine you’ve had a tough day at work with a long meeting where colleagues didn’t agree with your ideas. You’ve had to defend your stance, and there were no allies to help. You get home drained and tired – but is this physical fatigue? Not really. You sat on your backside most of the day. Could it be that you’re just mentally and emotionally drained?
Now imagine a second scenario: You’re physically in great shape, and all the relationships in your life are positive. But, you’re bored at work, you have virtually no career or personal goals and no guiding vision for your life. Is it possible you’d feel lethargic and somewhat depressed? The reason: a lack of mental and spirit energy.
The four types of energy are: Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spirit. If you develop an awareness of which of these four energy currencies you might be lacking, you’ll be able to do the most effective thing to top up . . . rather than lumping them all together as just ‘energy’ and having a single strategy for energy renewal – such as vegging out in front of the TV!

The four energies

Below is a clear and succinct definition of each of the four energies – enough for you to fully understand without becoming theory-heavy! Along with that I’ve given just an overview of the sorts of strategies that build these energies. Part III – Vitality Now!, has lots more on how to maximise them.

Mental Energy

Mental energy has to do with alertness and concentration, learning, analysis, logical process, creativity and intuition. We feel it as mental sharpness, creative ‘flow’, challenge, certainty, and even ‘eureka!’ With high levels of mental energy you can easily move between the detail of a project and a wider perspective, and between external and internal focus. The four most important things you can do to maintain mental energy are:
1. Set clear goals and objectives
2. Be disciplined over where your time is spent
3. Train your brain like an athlete trains muscles: challenge it consistently, but schedule regular downtime to rest it and regain power for the next mental bout
4. Regularly engage in activities that stimulate your creativity.

Emotional Energy

Do you know someone who lights up the room when they walk in? I hope so. Now, do you know someone who lights up the room when they walk out? If you can ‘get’ this, you can begin to understand what emotional energy feels like. It can be hard to put your finger on, but you know when someone makes you feel good, and when they don’t.
Emotional energy comes from relationships that give you positive feelings, connection, teamwork and collaboration. It feels like fulfilment, satisfaction, warmth, happiness, and being valued, liked and loved. You can create more emotional energy by:
1. Building self-awareness, self-confidence and self-control
2. Feeling empathy and seeking to understand others
3. Ensuring others feel valued and developed
4. Motivating and influencing others
5. Giving your love and energy freely.

Spirit Energy

Spirit energy is about inspiration, aspiration, enthusiasm, future vision and possibility, optimism, hope, joy and meaning to life. It is experienced in many different ways for different people: as a god or a higher being in the universe, a higher purpose of life, or as unswerving principles, truths or values about how to live your life. As with emotional energy, it is associated with peace and love. Capturing spirit energy is also highly individual, but some conduits may be:
1. Developing perspective on life and what gives happiness
2. Understanding today in the context of a wider life and time-line
3. Living your values
4. Personal development, growth and learning
5. Relaxation, meditation, prayer and time out in nature
6. Seeking to understand the meaning of life
7. Seeking a higher meaning for your life
8. The ability to be playful and laugh.

Physical Energy

Physical energy is represented by the Four ‘S’s:
Stamina
Strength
Suppleness
Speed