In a world of increasing demand and limited resources (capacity), renewal is the key to sustaining our personal effectiveness without burning out.

We recharge our electronic device every day. Otherwise, they die. Similarly, we forget that we humans also have a need for daily recharging (renewal). How can we expect ourselves to run without renewing ourselves daily?

The problem is that we don’t renew ourselves every day and week. We often skip doing the important and non-urgent things in favor of doing the urgent. We wait for things to blow up (urgent) instead of acting on things when they show up (non-urgent). We fail to see the implications of this in the long-run.

Think of capacity as the fuel in your tank. It’s what allows you to bring your skill and talents to life, which means you can’t run on empty. When we run on empty, we hit bankruptcy and burnout. When we don’t renew, we are like cars that run on empty gas tanks, and we know how that works out.

We’re like a pencil that needs to be sharpened daily from constant use. If we don’t, we’ll eventually “break”, causing ourselves all kinds of problems. The thing is that for most of us, we just get numb to that blunt feeling in our lives. We don’t even know that we’re feeling blunt most of the time. We are so used to living in reactionary mode that we forget to live proactively. We have forgotten what it’s like to stay on top of things.

Renewal means preserving and improving the greatest asset we have — ourselves. It means having a balanced program for renewal in the four areas of our lives: physical (health), spiritual (purpose), mental (focus), and emotional/social (happiness). Renewal involves things you do that enable you to be at your best. Among the four, emotional/social renewal is the only one that involves other people.

We need to always look at our physical renewal first when we’re tired. Physical energy (health) drives the other three forms of renewal. It’s the first thing we should choose to renew in situations when we feel depleted. If our physical renewal is insufficient, it is going to drag down every other source of renewal.

Physical renewal involves eating, moving, and sleeping right as much of the time as possible. Eating requires us to eat right most of the time. Moving requires us to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day on several days a week. Sleep is, of course, the most important aspect of physical renewal and the first thing we need to get right.

When we renew ourselves physically, our brain dominance shifts from left to right. This positively affects all other areas of renewal because they are interrelated. Renewal is part of being human.

Spiritual renewal is about having purpose. This is your Why because it’s what drives you. It’s your guiding compass. When you start with the end in mind, you can work your way backwards to accomplish your goal. This forms your core, the essence of who you are, and also strengthens your true leadership center. We can renew ourselves spiritually by listening to ourselves and staying aligned to our core.

You can pray, journal, meditate, or reflect. I write every day first thing in the morning as a way to renew myself spiritually. Plus, it allows me to maintain my focus on things I want to do.

Mental renewal is vital for sharpening our creative minds. For most of us, learning stops after school. For instance, we don’t read much after school, if at all. True learning never stops. We need to renew ourselves mentally in order to stay sharp. If we don’t use it, we risk losing it.

If you can spend 90 minutes every day (30 minutes for each renewal) renewing yourself physically (fitness), spiritually (stay aligned with your core), and mentally (sharpen your mind), you’ll be so much more effective (and efficient) at everything else you do.

Even better, block time for this in your calendar. Make it part of your morning routine, because mornings are best for spending time with yourself.

Emotional/social (happiness) renewal is about having meaningful relationships in our lives. It’s about spending time with loved ones and people that we care about (and that we want to stay connected to).

This is about the relationships we want to keep over the course of your lifetime. It is the only form of renewal that involves other people. All other forms of renewal only require yourself.

It’s about spending time with family, talking to friends, doing things together, and generally staying connected with those who matter most to you.

When we renew every day, we ensure that we do everything else that much better. Daily renewal is required to work and play effectively over the period of a lifetime.

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