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The 2-Minute Rule: The Secret to Habit Success

By starting with a small, manageable task, it becomes much easier to build consistency



Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s a given fact that we all want to build habits, goals that we want to achieve, and things that we want to change in our lives. However, on the other side of the coin, it can be hard to sustain motivation and consistency. 

It can block your way, sometimes completely, and then you walk away, probably thinking bad of yourself. But, is that a solution? Is that really something you think you should just accept (and probably experience the same when you move onto the next thing)?

It is not. Yes, sometimes it’s good to walk away for a while to clarify your thoughts and maybe it will reignite some motivation. But when you again take the leap, having high and big expectations, you will fall into that same trap once again. 

This is where you have to realize that it’s small you need to think. Don’t let it fool you when I say small, because it will give you incredible results if you apply this secret. And that is the 2-Minute Rule.

Breaking Down the 2-Minute Rule

In The 2 Minute Rule, it is stated that when you start a new habit or task, you should begin with a small action or section that takes no more than 2 minutes to complete. Really, no longer than 2 minutes. The idea behind this rule is that, by starting with a small, manageable task, it becomes much easier to build momentum, and to overcome the barrier of procrastination.

The 2 minutes make it easy to start your habits. Anyone is able to read, meditate or put a few plates away in two minutes. This is a powerful strategy, because once you have started doing the right thing, it will be much easier to continue. 

The goal in this, is to create a gateway that leads you down a road that’s more productive. It’s about taking small steps towards your goals and making it easy to initiate and stick to it over time.

Creating the Gateway

It’s important that you discover you can scale down nearly any habit into those 2 minutes and that you can map out your habit goals by categorizing them in “very easy” to “very hard”. 

Here I have some examples of tasks:

  • From “Going to the gym for a 2 hour workout” to “Putting my workout clothes ready.”
  • From “Reading 40 pages everyday” to “Reading one page.”
  • From “Cleaning your house” to “Putting one clothing item away.” 
  • From “Studying” to “Opening a study book.”
  • From “Learning a new skill” to “Watching a short video about it.”

What habits can you scale down to make them qualified to the 2-Minute Rule?

What Makes it Work

Get beyond the idea that it’s weird to read just one page, or to fold one piece of clothing when there’s a wardrobe that needs organizing more or less. Building a habit is not about doing one thing, but to master the art of showing up, to show up for the bigger picture. 

What you first need before you can learn the finer details about a habit, before you can even improve something, a habit must be established in its most basic fashion. James Clear makes it clear in this statement: “You have to standardize before you can optimize.”

Those 2 minutes can be considered a secret ingredient of a family recipe, a small thing that leads to a greater experience, making you do the great stuff you want to do. By following the same ritual, you make it easier to get into the hard work of doing it. 

Not only are you working towards a solid and larger routine, those 2 minutes are also reinforcing the development of your identity and the reframing of why you’re doing it. You wouldn’t be worried about the outcome, but you’re focused on becoming the type of person who does it. You want to read, but what if you are a reader? See the difference here?

The Advantages to Grab

If I haven’t hooked you enough, here I have explained the advantages for when you start applying the 2-Minute Rule.

1. It prevents procrastination before it occurs

Longer, more comprehensive tasks have a larger chance of triggering procrastination. By escaping that time and difficulty, you avoid falling into the traps of procrastination. It simply makes you live more in the moment.

2. No system-exhaustion

With applying the 2-Minute Rule, you don’t have to deal with a complex workflow and processes to go through. It’s an immediate implementation and with a quick result.

3. It reduces overwhelm

Because you’re scaling down the habit into a small task (that is “very easy”), you allow it to become less daunting and much more actionable. Moreover, it makes it a lot more enjoyable.

4. You’re building momentum

Through all the tiny wins you’re getting, you’re creating a sense of flow and that’s your foundation to build onto those wins. Every time you do it, then every next time will be easier. When building momentum, you’re building peak performance.

In conclusion

The 2-Minute Rule is – as pressed on you enough I hope – a powerful strategy that is determined to help you in building the habit you ultimately want. No matter how small, try envisioning the person you become when you’re indulged (yes, indulged) in those 2 minutes.

And remember, small steps lead to big results, like snowflakes forming a snowball and then it has no other choice but to roll. This is your momentum.

Anne Diederiks is an almost graduating student in the field of speech-language therapy and she is also qualified as a personal counselor for 4 years. She is on a constant path of exploring the experience of life, learning about human behavior and what makes humans tick, discovering the deeper layers of the universe and how she can play her part in contributing to her environment. Anne Diederiks has entered entrepreneurship to start building a life that fulfills her purposes and desires, for herself and those she is reaching out to.

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