As we emerge from the pandemic after what some have called “the coronavirus deep freeze,” many of us may need to jump start our energy levels and snap out of post-pandemic exhaustion.

In a recent post for Forge, executive coach Brad Stulberg outlines the simple process he recommends to clients. His rule: New behaviors come before new feelings.

According to this approach, humans flourish when they feel their day-to-day actions line up with their deepest values. That’s what gives us pep in our step and leaves us satisfied at the end of the day. Rest and pampering are nice, of course, but if you really want to feel excited to get out of bed in the morning, you need more than beach holidays, naps, and reunions with friends and family (incredibly joyful as those might be).

Which is why the first step in Stulberg’s exhaustion-busting system is to name a handful of your most deeply held values. “No more than five, no fewer than three,” he specifies. Once you know what you care about, the next step is to get crystal clear on what concrete day-to-day behaviors you feel will get you closer to those ideals.

These do not need to be dramatic actions, like selling your business and joining the Peace Corps. The key is aligning what you care about with what you do all day in small but actionable ways.

“Presence could mean meditation for 15 minutes Monday through Saturday. Love could mean having no digital devices on during dinner with one’s partner. Health could mean 30 minutes of movement every day. Intellect could mean reading for at least 40 minutes four days a week,” Stulberg offers as examples.

And the final step? Taking action. “You can’t think, feel, or will your way into a new way of being. But you can show up and act in accordance with your values,” he writes. You might need to take that vacation first, but “eventually you’ve got to get going.”

Many experts agree. The way to transform yourself isn’t to think, ponder or agonize about transforming yourself. It’s to take action. New behaviors lead to new feelings, not the other way around.