I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. I have grand ideas and goals, all of which seem huge. So, I plan, research, and organize forever and a day, but never start the thing.
That is the way I used to be until I came across James Clear’s Two-Minute Rule in his book, Atomic Habits.
The way people approach things they don’t want to do become habits. I started changing my habits using baby steps. My original approach involved over-thinking all the things involved in a project. Then, I would schedule the plan sometime LATER, always LATER, never NOW.
My fresh approach to anything I don’t want to do is to determine a two-minute task and do that! I scale down what I’m tempted to procrastinate into the simplest thing I can do to get started and then stop. When I come back to the project, it feels less intimidating because I have momentum.
Any habit (or project) can be broken down into a two-minute version:
- “Write a blog post” becomes “Write the title.”
- “Plan meals for the week” becomes “Get the recipe book out.”
- “Go to the gym” becomes “Put my work-out clothes on.”
- “Cook dinner” becomes “Get the food out.”
I almost always complete more of the task at the time because it becomes easy. Sometimes, though, I come back to it later and finish it. Either way, it’s a small win that builds success.
The Two-Minute Rule works for children, as well. Think about all the power struggles that exist today in your family. Then break them down into two-minute tasks. Explain to your child that you only want them to complete the two-minute thing. Later they can come back to finish when they’re ready.
- “Do your homework” becomes “Get your homework out of your backpack.”
- “Clean your room” becomes “Put one thing away.”
- “Study for your test” becomes “Open your notes.”
- “Write your essay” becomes “Write the first sentence.”
The idea is to make anything that feels big, very easy to start. Most of us think of ourselves as procrastinators. And we prove it by waiting until we WANT to do the thing, but we NEVER want to. Meanwhile, it grows and grows into something too big to start.
Starting is what we all need to gain momentum. Everyone can benefit from the Two-Minute Rule. It’s literally a brain thing with research to back it up.
Congratulate yourself and your kids for every two-minute task. Those small wins add up to good habits, which roll into a happier and more confident life.
Now, create a list of two-minute tasks and do the things you’ve been procrastinating. I promise you’ll thank me later.