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Boost your energy through regular movement

To be happier, consider a habit that will boost your energy through regular movement.

Why this aim is likely to make you happier

Research shows that people who are active are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, and sleep better. Exercise reduces anxiety and makes people less likely to develop depression, and is linked to happy moods.

Also, although it’s tempting to flop down on the couch when you’re feeling exhausted, exercise is actually a great way to boost energy levels. Feeling tired is a reason to exercise, not a reason to skip exercise.

The encouraging news is that when we go from no activity to a little activity, we get great benefits. And if we’re already moving, adding more movement to our day is still going to give us a boost.

Aims you might consider

Go for a daily twenty-minute walk

Do a fifteen-minute YouTube exercise class during your lunch hour

Work out with a trainer

Return to a sport or game that you enjoyed as a child

Use the Strategy of Pairing to pair movement with watching TV or listening to a podcast or audiobook

Know Yourself Better

Self-knowledge is an essential aspect of happiness, because we can create a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own values, and our own interests. 

As you consider ways to boost your energy through regular movement, ask yourself:

  • Are you a morning person or a night person?
  • Would you like more time in solitude; or more time with friends; or more time to meet new people?
  • Do you do better with some form of external accountability, or does that just annoy you?
  • Would you like to challenge yourself—by learning a new skill, competing, or pushing yourself physically—or not?
  • Do you have a lot of control over your time?
  • Are you sensitive to weather?

A few notes of caution…

  • Focus on your actions. Sometimes, people think, “If I buy that expensive equipment, I’ll surely use it” or “If I join a gym, I’ll make the time to go.” But while spending money can support a habit, spending isn’t enough to make a habit form.

  • Consider your Tendency—whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel—as you shape your habit. If you’re an Obliger, you’ll want to set your habit up very differently from your Rebel friend. Don’t know your tendency? Take the quiz.

  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The one-mile run you do regularly is much better than the five-mile run you do once a month. What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.