Many of the personal development gurus have repeatedly proclaimed the message of, “Do what you can now to come out of the Pandemic a better version of yourself.” “Now is the time to practice that skill, get in shape, plant that garden, save your money, read that book, write that book, start your side hustle” – and on and on it goes. If you’re like me, most days I feel that I’m falling short of the lofty goal of becoming a better version of myself:
I don’t belong to a gym (most are closed at this time anyway).
I fall asleep after reading one chapter in a book.
My creativity “tank” is feeling incredibly low.
I haven’t been able to go into my church building since March 2020.
My side hustle was a small speaking business at live events – and that completely shut down.
How about a different perspective? I’ve also heard a lot of the experts talking about the power of small habits and routines. The whole law of compounding interest – applied to any area of your life. Celebrating the small victories. Less is more. Rejecting perfectionism. Creating goals that are simple to achieve. Here is something I call The Hour of Power. Dedicating 20 minutes spiritually, 20 minutes mentally, and 20 minutes physically each day to yourself. Maybe you’re a night owl and that would be the best time for you. Personally, I love the mornings. You don’t even have to do the entire hour simultaneously – I split it up and read before I go to bed at night. Here’s what it looks like broken down:
- Physical – Speaker and author Rachel Hollis proclaims, “Get your body moving every morning for at least 20-30 minutes.” I think that is great advice. After you wake up, have your favorite cup of coffee or whatever – and then give it a try. It doesn’t have to be complicated or cost anything: walking, yoga, pilates, stretching, free exercise YouTube videos, washing a stack of dishes or laundry. The blood starts flowing, the brain gets going, and you feel better equiped to take on the challenges of the day. If I don’t have the time to exercise, I always walk my dog unless it is a torrential downpour. We both love it, and I leave my phone at home.
- Mental – My encouragement for this 20 minutes is to completely turn off the news and any screen devices. Do something that stimulates your mind and brings you joy: reading, puzzles, writing, journaling, games, gardening, art, creating, dancing, photography, etc. This goes with the old saying of “doing something that you are so immersed in – that you lose all track of time.” As mentioned above, I enjoy reading right before I fall asleep. Probably not the best reading habit – but I’m not striving for perfection 🙂
- Spiritual – We are complex individuals made up of a mind, body, and spirit. During this time of a global pandemic is when we need faith in something greater than ourselves and the overwhelming current events. As a Christian, my goal every morning is to pray, journal, read the scriptures, and be still – doesn’t always happen, but that’s okay! Even more than exercise – this strengthens me for whatever challenges lie ahead. A tool that has helped me the last several months is an app called “The One Minute Pause.” It is free, and has a setting that goes off at 10 am and 2 pm everyday. It is a disruption during the day to stop, slow down, and pause for one minute reflecting on God. A basic prayer is even provided if you want to use that. For a small motivator, the app keeps track of how many days in a row you take part in this practice. As of this writing – I’m at 100 days with a pause!
Give The Hour of Power a try. In the comments below – let me know how it goes or if you have your own system of habits and routines. It is something we can control in an out of control world. Glancing at Jesus’s example for growth:
Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. (Luke 2:52). Mentally, physically, and spirtually.