“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
“Distance is nothing; only the first step is difficult.”
Madame Marie du Deffand
Making a positive change in your life doesn’t have to mean taking a giant leap.
But I believe that faith is one of the things that keeps people from improving their lives and their world.
A simpler path that more often leads to actual action being taken and new habits being established — at least in my life — is to take smaller steps, but lots of them.
So today I want to share 10 quick habits that can help you change your life in just about 2 minutes a day.
By taking these small steps, you can begin to build habits that will grow stronger and, over time, can transform your life in ways you may not be imagining right now.
To remind yourself to do one of the following things every day, I recommend writing down a simple reminder.
Put it on your bedside table so you see it every morning when you wake up. Or place the note in your workspace so you can see it early in the day.
If you wish and if possible, after a week or two, expand the small habit to just a few more minutes a day.
1. Just start working on your most important task for 2 minutes.
I use these at least one day a week.
Some days I just don’t feel like starting work. I much prefer to stay lazy on the sofa.
So on days like this, I just start working on my most important task for 2 minutes.
That’s the deal.
The thing is, getting started is pretty much always the hardest part.
After I’ve started moving and been at work for those 2 minutes, it’s usually pretty easy to just keep working on that task.
2. Review and estimate your day at the end.
Doing good things and getting things done during the day can boost your self-esteem. If you think about it, you’ve done this.
So at the end of your work day, take two minutes to yourself. Appreciate what you have done and what you have thought.
I’ll do that when I’m done with this article and the work day.
3. Set a low bar of happiness for the day.
One thing I like to say to myself when I wake up in the morning is this: “Have a low bar for happiness today.”
When I tell myself that and try to take it into account during the day, I appreciate things more.
The food, my work, the weather, the small events of the day don’t become everyday things, but something I like to have.
The small or something you take for granted now often becomes something I often pause for a moment or two to absorb and appreciate.
But if I make myself happier for the small things in my everyday life, does that mean I become unmotivated to keep working on the big things?
This way of looking at my life actually gives me more energy and inspiration, life becomes easier and I feel less inner resistance as I explore and work towards small and bigger things.
4. Breathe when you are stressed.
When stress catches up with you, when you start to feel anxious, irritable and/or anxious about it, take 2 minutes.
Breathe through your nose and do it fairly deeply with your stomach.
For these 2 minutes, just focus on your breathing. nothing else.
This will calm your mind and you will then be able to continue your work in a more concentrated and relaxed manner.
5. Open your senses to what is here now.
Pull yourself out of the past as you relive an old conflict and pull yourself further into a depressing spiral. Get out of the future where you envision disaster at your next meeting, date, or presentation.
Align yourself and your attention where you really are. Here and now.
Do this by sitting down for 2 minutes.
See what’s right in front of you.
Listen to the birds and cars outside.
Feel the sun shining through the window onto your clothes and skin.
Feel the gentle breeze from one of the windows.
Be here with all your senses for these 2 minutes.
This will relax your mind and body. Thinking becomes easier. And an optimistic perspective will feel more natural.
6. When you feel the need to judge someone, tap understanding instead.
If you feel the need to judge someone you may or may not know, take 2 minutes. Ask yourself these two questions:
What parts of this person can I see in me? How is he or she like me?
Why do this instead of judging?
Because no one wants to be judged negatively, and doing that to the people in your life doesn’t help build good relationships.
Also, the extent to which you tend to judge others often aligns with the extent to which you judge yourself.
So help yourself live a more positive life in these two ways by pausing when you feel the need to judge and then choosing something better.
7. Think for a minute and give someone a sincere compliment.
Spend a minute coming up with something that you really and genuinely appreciate about someone in your life that will be in the same room as you at some point during the day.
Spend the other minute or less giving him or her the compliment.
She or he will be happy. You will feel good and probably get some positive feelings from the now happy and praised person as well.
It’s a good and small way to build more positive relationships.
It’s a small thing, but physical intimacy can relieve stress and make us feel good. So spend 2 minutes of your day hugging.
Like compliments, they can be an easy way to build warmer, more positive relationships with all sorts of people in your life.
Just use your common sense before you start hugging.
9. Be interested instead of interesting.
At the beginning of a conversation or to break the ice, take two minutes to ask one or more questions about the person you are speaking to and their life.
Be careful and don’t wait for your turn again.
The interest you give will most likely be repaid, and you can start building not only a good conversation, but a giving and fulfilling relationship for both of you, no matter the type of relationship.
10. Mix things up.
Try the opposite…
Have the vegetarian option if you always go for the meat. Walk away from a stupid conflict instead of making it worse. If you find yourself holding on to things often, let go of something. Say yes to something spontaneous if you find yourself saying no a lot, and stick to your daily routine.
Today, take 2 minutes or less to reflect on a common or negative situation in your life, pause for a moment, and then make a decision that is unusual for you.
Make a habit of mixing things up to have more fun. To expand your life in small or large. To add unexpected experiences.
To make it easier and easier to get out of your comfort zone in general when you really need to.
And to feel alive.