The winning runner who crosses the finish line first in a footrace is referred to as “hitting the tape.”  Life can feel like a footrace at times, too.  We are often trying our hardest to go farther and faster.  We have our goals and, as in a footrace, that is the finish line we seek; the “tape” we’re trying to hit.  Success and failure are measured by whether or not we hit the tape.

Hitting the tape requires more than just speed, however.  It demands that we possess both wisdom and endurance as well.  Run too slow and you just don’t finish.  Run too fast and you burn yourself out.  Pace is important, because you need to run at a speed that uses your energy wisely.  And you have to have the endurance to maintain this vigilance throughout the entire race.

Life and racing require us to understand how energy works.  We need to understand that energy is never static.  We are always gaining it or losing it. Replenishing it or using it. We can give it away voluntarily, or have it drained from us without a lot of consciousness and, therefore, precious little choice on our part.

Here are 6 steps to follow to see where you are and how ready you are making yourself for life’s race:

1.  Check your “energy tap” regularly and notice whose hand is on it.

Energy is in your body and, like water from the tap, it can stay with you or you can lose it.  Notice whether you, or something or someone else, is turning your “energy tap” on and off.  Is this how you want to spend your energy?  If it’s not, do you have  a way to turn the tap off?

2.  Focus your attention on the “gas gauge.”

Make it a habit to pay attention to how much energy you have at any given moment. Are you taking time to refill?  Or are you always just draining the tank and operating on fumes? 

3.  “Feed the machine.”

Our bodies are like computer software. “Garbage in, garbage out.”  What are you eating and drinking day to day?    Are you giving your body the fuel it needs to operate at its peak?

4.  Have a high quality maintenance schedule.

Remember the most important care is “self care.”  What’s your exercise program?  Sleep plan?  As Indiana Jones put it so succinctly, “Baby, it’s not the mileage; it’s the wear and tear that counts!”

 5.  “Our focus is our reality.”

Make conscious choices about what you pay attention to in the news, the internet, reading material, people you talk with and listen to, etc.. These things will become your reality and either add to your energy or drain you. 

Spend most of your time focused on things you can personally change or impact.  Something as simple as shifting your focus to things you can take action on gives you energy rather than drains it from you.

6.  Control the remote!

Doesn’t it just make you crazy when someone flips the remote from channel to channel on the TV and you have no control over what you get to watch?

But ask yourself, in your daily life, are you choosing the “channels” you focus on or do you let other people or circumstances do that for you?

Try to consciously decide what to focus on. Start small and build up. First try to notice minute by minute, then hour by hour.  Soon you’ll find you are better able to set your own agenda day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year.

Photo credit:  The Happy Rower via Flickr