It’s already March! Don’t you feel like time is flying? It seems like it was only yesterday that we were talking about our goals for the new year. Over the past days, I’ve been stopping to reflect on the things I want to accomplish this year, and checking in on the areas of my life I’m working on.
I’d like to ask you to be really honest with yourself. Think about the areas of your life that you haven’t started working on yet, and realize that The only thing that is keeping you from accomplishing your goals is a lack of action. Click To Tweet
You might have a full-time job, a family to take care of, and/or a very busy schedule, which could lead you to believe that you don’t have time to put in the work that each area of your life requires. But what if we could change this way of thinking and ditch the toxic excuse of not having enough time? What if we could start using time more wisely and create habits that will stick?
Sometimes we don’t get things done because we have the idea that we must put in hours of work in order to see results, which is often times wrong. 15 minutes of total focus is better than 1 hour of multitasking or interrupted work.
One of my goals for this year was to learn Dutch. In order to fully integrate into this country, I need to be able to speak the language. Even though 90% of the Dutch population speaks English, I still find myself being excluded in some conversations.
So I started studying Dutch with Duolingo. For those who don’t know it, Duolingo is an app you can use to learn almost any language in the world, and it’s free! I started using Duolingo for 5 minutes a day. Sometimes I do five minutes; other times I do thirty. Besides Duolingo, I watch Dutch language YouTube videos, study grammar books, and enjoy my favorite TV programs with subtitles in Dutch. But the point is that I make sure to do something to improve my language on a daily basis.
After just one month of studying for five to ten minutes every day, my vocabulary expanded considerably. I can now even have small conversations in Dutch with my partner.
I realized I could apply this rule to other areas of my life and ditch the “I don’t have time” excuse. I could do five minutes of jumping jacks and increase the strength of my heart. And if you’d do 5 minutes of pushups every day, don’t you think you’d see a change in the tone of your arms by the end of the month? Absolutely! So, 5 minutes is better than nothing, and everybody has 5 minutes.
Let’s look at the idea of practicing meditation. Let’s say you’ve been wanting to meditate but “haven’t had the time to do it”. What if instead of doing 20 or 30 minutes, you give yourself 5 minutes? If you normally get up at 8 am for instance, you could set your alarm to 7:55 so that you can get 5 minutes of meditation done.
Now, if every day you do 5 minutes of meditation, 5 minutes of skill learning, and 5 minutes of jumping jacks, in just 15 minutes a day you’ll have contributed to both your mental and physical health while learning a new skill. Can you squeeze in 15 minutes a day for me?
Doing something every day makes us come back for more the next day. By doing so, we automatically create new habits. And from there, we can start increasing the time of those habits. Perhaps after two months, you’ll find yourself following a 20 minutes a day rule.
Now I want you to think of the 5 minute rule in reverse. How can 5 minutes of no action affect the quality of your life? You might think this won’t affect you much, but in reality it does. Every time you decide not to take action, you are delaying your progress, and your dreams.
Look at the pictures below and try to visualize yourself one month from now. How would fulfilling these goals make you feel? Imagine the outcome. Do you feel more relaxed, happier, or stronger?
What is it within you that holds you back from achieving this? What is standing in the way?
The other day, after having worked for two straight hours, I told myself that I was going to check my Facebook just for ten minutes, since I normally take a 15-20-minute break after a focused task. However, before I realized it, 45 minutes had passed, and I was still distracted on Facebook! It turned out I wasn’t aware of the time at all.
In order to succeed at something, we need to start tracking how we are spending our time and where are we wasting time. Click To Tweet That said, we shouldn’t track our time in a controlling and stressful way, but rather in a mindful way.
I am not saying you should give up your social media life. Yes, commenting on your friend’s last trip to Timbuktu is important, supporting your writer friend who just launched a book is important, and liking the pictures of your cousin’s birthday party is important. But your health, your career, and your peace of mind are important too. So make sure to make time for what’s important to you too.
Set a time of your day for tasks such as checking emails, social media, or consuming information, and respect that time.
If you happened to make a vision board at the beginning of this year like I did, I want you to remember that those things on your board will only come to reality if you put in the action. And if you haven’t made a vision board yet, it’s never too late to do so! My hope for you is that you feel happy about the things you have accomplished by the end of the year. And don’t worry if you don’t accomplish everything that is on your board, you can always include those goals in your next vision board!
For me, just thinking about the idea of walking barefoot on a beach in California makes my ass get off the couch and put in the work that my business requires. The idea of wearing my favorite dress in the summer and feeling confident with my body makes me want to do not 5, but 20 minutes of cardio every day. The idea of becoming chronic pain free makes me want to make healthy choices in my diet.
I have my vision board in my living room where I spend most of the time. It is next to the window and I look at it often. I hope you have yours somewhere visible too!
If this article resonates with you, please do comment below and mention some of the actions you’re going to start taking to contribute to your vision. How are you going to spend those 5 minutes of your day?