The trap of doing more and the value of starting small

You develop a good habit of meditating for 3 minutes a day. Moving up to 5 minutes a day, you start to feel like there is a benefit from it. Reducing anxiety, improving focus, this is really worth the time! So you decide, “I’m going to do 15 minutes every day.”

And maybe that will work and maybe it won’t, depending on what is in your life already and what habits of mind and action you’ve already developed.

It may be that you find yourself putting off the meditation, leaving it until later and then not actually getting back to it. Intending to do it tomorrow, but never finding it compelling enough to do today.

 

One small slice out of a cheesecake

Where to start? With the first small slice. (Adapted from Cheesecake Dessert, CC0.)

If that happens, recognise it, forgive yourself and perhaps have a laugh about it, and dial it back. Consistency and small, achievable steps build habits.

What else helps:

  • Follow policies rather than making decisions. I.e. consider what would happen if you made this same decision every time you were in this circumstance.
  • Understanding the consequences and reminding yourself of your goals.
  • Accountability.
  • Scrunch goals – a commitment that if somehow you don’t achieve your goal, you’ll at least do the minimum, to keep the momentum and stay connected to the goal. Even if that’s 2 minutes.

As always, use what supports you and works for you and leave other strategies to the side.

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