A new year starts today. How will you use it?

Start by asking: what do you want to remember?

A new year starts today. How will you use it?

A new year starts today. How will you use it? 1024 683 Looking out Loud

This is a Daily Moment—short perspectives on life and times through a dad’s eye.

Happy New Year!

One year has passed. Another year has begun. A new 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days stand wide open, right in front of you.

How will you use these days? Any New Year’s resolutions?

For many people, the turn of a new year is a trigger for change. We make plans to get in better shape, change jobs, and make progress on personal hobbies. Then three weeks into January, those good intentions are just another distant memory.

But don’t be too hard on yourself. One of the culprits is overestimating how much time we really have.

I did the math, and about 80-85% of your weekly time is already accounted for by sleeping, eating, pooping, running errands, and answering emails.

Hrs / DayDays / WeekHrs /Week
Routines, errands, commutes1-2710
Communication, email, accounts1-2710
Eating, pooping, hygiene2714
There’s 168 hours in a week. Subtracting out the 140 hours of routine leaves you with 28 hrs/wk for all the rest.

That doesn’t leave you much time for things like exercise, hanging with friends and family, learning something new, watching Netflix, reading books, or reflecting on your life.

You can optimize some routines, but it still boils down to the same thing: time is very limited.

On the other hand, small inputs build up over time.

Even with 85% of your time lost to sleep, work, and routine, you still have around 1,500 hours a year to use how you please. That’s enough to make some pretty serious progress on at least some goals.

And here’s another secret: you can turn small transitions into huge stores of meaning. A 15-minute daily task adds up to nearly 100 hours per year.

So how should we use the time we’ve got?

It’s easy to think about short-term goals, but also consider your longer-term values. How do you want to see your life change? How do you want to be remembered? What do you really care about? Is it money? Is it family? Is your local community or our global climate? Is it your mental health or overall happiness?

Here’s a different way to look at the upcoming months.

Think back over the year that just past. What comes to mind? Pause and think.

Now ask yourself: What do you want to remember at this time next year?

In one year from now, when you look back at this year that’s waiting in front of you: what do you want to remember?