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I love optimizing my life, but I often find that the idea of changing everything at once is so daunting. There are so many great ideas out there on improving your life, getting in shape and becoming more productive, but so many of them seem too intimidating. I don’t want to change my eating habits overnight, or start running half an hour every day. It would be too much, too quickly. So I end up putting it off indefinitely.
About a year ago however, I got so tired of always putting off my plans for improvement, that I decided to just do something. It didn’t really matter what, it just had to be something to start with. I began with preparing my school bag the night before. It took me about 5 minutes to pack up everything, but I was so focused on just getting it done that I never forgot anything. I started with a 5 minute habit that I could easily keep up, because it cost so little time. That meant I didn’t really worry about losing time at all, and I didn’t really have an excuse to skip the activity.
There are hundreds of these little habits that only take a couple of minutes, but could change your life for the better. For big habits, I break them up into 5-10 minute chunks and take it a little at a time. Below, I’ve listed some examples of 5 minute habits that could help you get on the way to improving your life right now.
Prepare For The Morning
Take five minutes at night to prepare something for the next day. We usually set the breakfast table, a habit I picked up from growing up in a 10-person household, but it could also be packing your bag, laying out your clothes or arranging your desk so it’s ready to go. You’ll probably be more efficient now than tomorrow morning, stumbling out of bed. And you’ll feel great when you have the stuff ready to go. Do it for your tomorrow-you!
Stretch When You Get Out Of Bed
While we sleep, our body is at rest. Usually that means we’re quite still for most of the night. That’s good, since it provides the best chance for our bodies to rest, but it also leaves us a little stiff when we have to start a new day. Most of us naturally feel like stretching the minute we wake up. It feels good after we sit down too long as well. Try to make it a habit to stretch all of your muscles right before you get out of bed in the morning. It’ll help you get more energized by providing more oxygen to your muscles. A great way to do this is with a couple of yoga poses in the morning.
Take A Couple Of Focusing Minutes
‘I have to start work NOW, I’ve been putting it off forever and I just have to get it done this very minute. Let’s see, let’s see, what should I do?’
Does this sound like you on a stressful day? You want to start but you don’t know what to do or where to begin? Take some time to get your focus back. Before you start working, take a couple of minutes to envision the goal that you’re trying to reach. What is the purpose of your task today? Can you think of the steps you’ll have to take? Take a couple of deep breaths and with every breath deliberately calm your mind and become more in-tuned to the work ahead of you.
Taking two minutes to focus is a habit that has proved to be so valuable to me, that I recommend it to everyone in my life. It will give you a head start with every single task, because you won’t lose those first minutes in which you’re usually trying to decide how to get started.
Have A ‘Leave The House’ Or ‘Go To Bed’ Routine
There are some things you always need to do before you leave the house: Checking if the lights are off, if you closed the windows, making sure your keys are in your bag, etc. The little things that add up to a couple of minutes (if you know what they are) or a minimum of ten minutes (if you’re looking around for things you might have possibly forgotten). We even do this before we go to bed. There are certain things I have to do once a day or twice a day, and I’ve organized them in a morning and evening routine. Creating a routine is a good way to make change.
Remind Yourself Of What You’re Grateful For
This is probably the most important habit I’ve picked up over the last few years, and it’s the most fun one to maintain! Every night, before I got to bed, I remind myself to go over the day and feel grateful for all the wonderful things that happened. It could be the roses outside, or the smiles on students’ faces, or the lovely lunch my husband prepared.
At first, I wrote down a list of these things, which really helped me get into the habit. Now I don’t write but just mentally go over each and every thing. It’s made me feel the happiest I’ve ever been. Seriously! Happier than ever before! Attitude makes all the difference.
So when you’re putting off changing the things in your life you’d like to do differently, remember to start small. Change your habits little by little, or do like me: Create new, five-minute habits that are easy to maintain and are so short you won’t have an excuse not to do them.
What habits would you like to change most? How could you change them step by step? Do you have more good habits that only take a couple of minutes? Share with the readers below.
Jorinde Berben is an aspiring author and fervent blogger. She offers daily 5-minute activities to save time and improve your life at her blog www.minutesworthhours.com. You can read samples of her other writing at www.jorindeberben.com.
Photo by robstephaustralia