one_minute_habit

The way to get something done is not to.

At least, not the way you’re thinking about doing it, like it’s some massive work project or self-improvement project you have to take on and you’re not sure where to start and what if you make a mistake and you won’t be very good at it anyway and look at all those emails you need to answer.

Instead, take a small step, a step that’s one-minute long.

How Not to Meditate

Consider a habit you’d like to adopt. Meditation.

You should meditate, seriously you should. It’ll make you more relaxed, you’ll be healthier, you’ll calm down. People will marvel at your equanimity. You’ll lose weight. You’ll be a wise adjudicator in business strategy meetings, the arguments of your children, and the relationship dramas of your colleagues. You will succeed with serenity and the city will build a statue in your honor when you die.

To meditate properly, though, you’re probably thinking, I need to read up on it. Maybe some books by Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodron, Shunryu Suzuki, or Jon Kabat-Zinn. You’ll need incense. A mat. A quiet place. Maybe even a meditation room in your house. You need to renovate. It’ll cost a fortune. You’ll get to it someday. What’s on TV?

Try This Instead

When you get up tomorrow morning, take a minute to sit down and meditate. Set your timer for a minute. That’s it.

You are going to be a lousy meditator. You’re going to think about all the crap you have to do, how tired you are, how your boyfriend was insensitive and maybe he doesn’t love you and … Brrrng!

The timer will go off and you can resume your regularly scheduled frenzy.

Just be sure to do it again tomorrow morning. You’ll still be lousy. Do it anyway. And do it the next morning and the next and the next. Just sit your hot mess down, because pretty soon, you’re not going to suck. You’ll be a bit calmer. Thoughts that depress you or scare you will still come in, but you’ll be better able let them go. A bit.

Maybe one day you’ll meditate for a minute and a half. Great. It doesn’t matter, though. The thing is to just keep going. By the time they do put up that statue, you’ll be so self-actualized you won’t even care.

That’s a one-minute habit.

How do You Use a One-Minute Habit?

Here are three great ways to apply the one-minute habit:

  • start something: sort the laundry, write in a journal;
  • do less: shower for nine minutes instead of your usual 10,
  • do more: add a minute to your stairclimber workout; read to your daughter for 11 minutes.

One minute a day and you can do anything. Now get to it. Right this minute.