I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been slacking a bit recently. Ok, not the first to admit it. It’s difficult to share when we’re not walking the path we aspire to. Yet as I put my routine back into place one block at a time, it’s the smaller habits that I find form the foundation for larger ones.
I live in a new apartment with 2 other roommates. While one barely ever eats in, and is often out of the house, the other is always here. This leads to dishes in the sink that I wasn’t responsible for. (Yes, I know what you’re thinking: How is this news? Get to the point!)
The point is that I’ll always do them, regardless of whose they are. While I initially got into doing my own dishes right after using them as an exercise in mindfulness, I’ve come to the conclusion that pretty much anything can be an excuse to be mindful.
Yet when things start to fall by the wayside, be begin to procrastinate more and more. And the big things we’re putting off, just like a foundation of building blocks can be good, can also be the root of our lackadaisical behavior. By putting off the small things, they end up becoming big things as time passes. One dish becomes a mountain, a pair of socks becomes a huge hamper overflowing with underwear. These tiny tasks have created huge obstacles in our lives, and block us from seeing the true mountains: the really daunting tasks that we want to chip away at until we’ve mastered them.
So as you go about your daily activities, and you see something that can be resolved, cleaned, put away, etc, and it takes five minutes or less?
It’s not rocket science. But it’ll make you feel good, accomplished, and keep your life (and ergo your mind) uncluttered. It’ll also reset your perspective, give you a spurt of motivation, and keep you sane. In order to make this a habit you repeat, reward yourself for this small task. I find that this system can be as easy as writing the chore down and immediately crossing it off the list. I don’t want to overwhelm myself by adding all these jobs to the list beforehand, but by doing them as the come up, recording and ticking them right away, I have a tally of everything I’ve done.
This is a great way to get yourself out of a funk as well. It’s easy to feel the winter blahs in the depth of February, when it’s just as cold as it was in December. All these small 5 minute tasks can create a chain of activities, and these then become part of a daily routine (as I’ve mentioned before, routines are a great way to say on the right path – Look out for a post focusing on this soon!)
Once you start, you’ll be amazed how well these 5-minute chunks add up to a general sense of well-being, and they’ll soon lend their structure to all parts of your life.
Here’s a little secret: This is how I started sitting. Five minutes a day is effortless, but once the habit is in place, and you see the benefits, you’ll want to sit longer.
Try it, and you’ll see…