“Power Hours” for New Year’s Resolutions
Updated: Mar 31, 2019
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I’m a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Even if you fail them, they get you to check in yearly about what you want to accomplish.
But, of course, it’s better to win your resolutions, so I’ve done lots of research on time management and happiness, and found the way to accomplish your year-round goals is to tweak your daily habits.
Because it’s what you do daily—not once in a while—that helps you accomplish your goals.
That’s why I’ve started using Gretchen Rubin’s “Power Hour” in a different way. In a Psychology Today article, Rubin suggests using a Power Hour once a week to tackle all your annoying to-dos at once. This certainly works for those “someday” things on your list, but I’ve found it also works for creating daily habits that support your New Year’s Resolutions.
So I wrote down all my resolutions and all the habits it would take to get there. It looks like this:
My New Year’s Resolutions...every year:
Keep Kanna healthy.
The habits I need to accomplish these resolutions:
Write for hours
Work out for hours
Eat well (See my eating plan.)
Then I created Power Hours to build these habits.
Weekday Power Hours
My weekday Power Hours take more than an hour, but it’s not the time frame that matters. It’s about doing all the things you really don’t want to do (but will move you toward your goals), in one big string before you sit down, get comfortable and turn on Netflix. So every weekday, I have Power Hours from 5 to 7 p.m. This is what I do:
Weekday Power Hours (2) Breakdown
4:45 p.m.: Arrive home and feed Kanna—change into workout clothes while she eats
4:50 p.m.: Take Kanna to the bathroom
5 p.m.: Walk Kanna
5:15 p.m.: Drive to the gym and get on the elliptical
5:30 p.m.: Work out in a Body Pump or Body Combat class
6:35 p.m.: Buy one fruit and one vegetable from Target to eat with dinner
6:40 p.m.: Drive home and shower
6:50 p.m.: Floss and brush
6:55 p.m.: Make some kind of quick dinner—I hate cooking, so don’t devote time to it
7 p.m.: Do what I actually want!
I usually eat from 7 to 7:30 p.m., but don’t consider that part of my Power Hours, since I enjoy eating. It’s my reward and my finish line.
So basically, I get to do what I want on weekdays from 7 to 11 p.m. (bedtime). That’s not a lot of time when you consider the 16 waking hours we have each day, but unavoidable when you have a full-time job and a commute.
But at least with the use of Power Hours, I have four hours each day that are truly free.
If I want to read a whole book in one sitting, I do it. (I actually do this.) If I want to watch an entire on-air CreativeLive class, I do. If I want to watch TV for four hours straight (much more likely), I let myself.
I don’t buy the fantasy that you should completely cut out TV to be productive. I’m plenty productive, and actual relaxation is a necessary part of my day. If TV is how you relax, like me, then let yourself have it. It doesn’t make sense to work so hard, so you can always do things you don’t want to do. Plus, if you’re not up-to-date on Netflix, what will you talk about with other people?
Weekend Power Hours
Weekend Power Hours are my favorite because they’re longer and more flexible. Here’re mine.
Weekend Power Hours (4) Breakdown
8 a.m.: Wake up and feed the dog—make coffee while she eats
8:05 a.m.: Take Kanna to the bathroom
8:15 a.m.: Sit down at my computer with my coffee and write—finally! (There’s enough time—but not energy—for this on weekdays. Since I'm productive for 13 hours straight a weekday, I have nothing left for writing after that. I just need to rest.)
10 a.m.: Walk Kanna (If I can pull myself away from writing. Sometimes I can’t. I didn’t today.)
10:30 a.m.: Workout class (If I can pull myself away from writing. Today, I couldn’t.)
11:30 a.m.: Drive home, shower, floss and brush (If I actually went to the gym. Today, I didn’t, so I'll clean myself whenever I feel like it!)
Noon: Do whatever the hell I want!
How about you, reader’s? What are your Power Hours?