It only takes 2 minutes: Embracing new habits
"New Year, New Me" is one the mantras of the beginning of the year.
It's very easy to write goals like run 100 miles this year, read 52 books or stay in touch with old friends. But the reality is that these intentions are usually quickly forgotten by February.
After years of struggling to find a system to achieve my goals I discovered the idea of 1% increments on the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Basically it summarizes on the following:
With this information I realized that it's not about wanting to read 52 books a year, but with building the habit of reading 10 pages a day or for 30 minutes a day, EVERY DAY you can accomplish a lasting effect with life-long positive consequences.
However, what happens when life gets in the way? Things like taking care of your kid, having to cook a meal or needing to run a last minute errand. New habits are particularly fragile because they are not still fully incorporated into our everyday routine, so it may be very easy to let them slip to the bottom of our to-do list.
My approach to this is to have a version of my habits that is small, yet still beneficial, in case that daily life does get in the way.
- Read 30 minutes to learn more ---> Reading 5 pages of my current book is fine
- Meditate 10 minutes in the AM / PM ---> Doing 2 minutes of deep breathing is great
- Talk with a friend on the phone ---> Send a friend a fun article or funny meme
I find that reducing the habits to their 2 minute equivalent makes them more doable and empowers me to just get them done first thing in the day.
I also take the extra step of mapping my habits to my personal values. In this case lifelong learning, peace of mind and cultivating relationships. I'll explore how to do this on another post.
I encourage you to find the "2 minute" version of each habit you want to build so you can still feel that you are making progress each day.