Commit to 20 minutes a day and watch what happens.
If you’re ready to change your life for the better, you need to read this.
I know. I know. You’re very busy.
Where are you going to find 20 minutes? How could you? Where would you?
Between the your job, your partner, kids (furry or otherwise), the house and a million other things you need to take care of, there’s just no time right?
Don’t kid yourself.
I guarantee you waste way more than 20 minutes a day on things that won’t change your life for the better.
If you really want to change you can find 20 minutes.
Tell yourself that you can’t all day long if you like but you are not finding reasons - you are finding excuses!
Oh yes you are!
Let’s take a minute to break down your day.
How long do you stand in line at Starbucks, the lunch line or the supermarket?
I’d say probably a minimum of 5-10 minutes (each). How about you pack your own lunch? Leftovers from last nights dinner takes no extra time. Get your groceries delivered or use Instacart. Could you make your own coffee?
Hey, I just saved you money and time.
How long do you spend scrolling through Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Instagram?
I’m underestimating at 15-20 minutes a day.
Ha don’t kid yourself. Do you not pay attention to your weekly screen time report?
How many times do you hit the snooze button each morning, once, twice or more? There’s another 9-27 minutes
As the saying goes… you snooze you lose
There you have it.
I have just found you, at a minimum, an extra 29 minutes in your day and a possible grand total of 77 minutes.
Hell, that’s over an hour.
And all I’m asking for is 20 minutes of your time.
I’ll let you figure out what fun things are you going to do with the rest of your newly found free time.
Ok, so now we’re past the excuses – we can move on to the actions.
Let’s get started with an easy one.
1/Practice Gratitude – Every single day!
That’s all I’m asking for here.
3 minutes every night before bed or even when you are in bed, before you turn out the light and close your eyes, think about three to five things that you are grateful for that day.
C’mon, you can do it.
They don’t have to be BIG things.
You don’t need to win the lottery or land your dream job to be grateful – although I’m sure if you did, you would – but no, I’m talking about the little things.
Give thanks for your comfortable bed or the roof over your head, for the sunshine that day or your tasty lunch.
Give thanks for your healthy heart or your strong bones. Maybe you are grateful for the rain because the lawn needed it. Maybe a stranger smiled at you or held the door for you? Or maybe your partner said a kind word or made you laugh?
You get the gist right?
Be specific with your Gratitude and don’t generalise too much.
Repeating ‘I am Grateful for my partner’ every night doesn’t work the same way as saying ‘I am Grateful that my car started this morning and I arrived to work on time’ or ‘I am Grateful for my hot shower this morning’ for example.
The brain synapses work harder with new information – so it’s important to come up with fresh ideas of Gratitude each day.
No matter how bad a day it might have been - there are always things to be Grateful for – some day’s you have to think a little harder that’s all.
Practising Gratitude is proven to provide a multitude of rewards. People that practice Gratitude daily have shown a variety of improvements in their lives - from simply feeling happier and more alive, to increased positive emotions, better sleeping patterns and even stronger immune systems (more important than ever these days).
All of those benefits for just 3 minutes a day. Who doesn’t want that?
Ok. Ok. You are not a writer.
We are not looking for you to write a NYT Best Seller here (although you might :-)
All you need to do is write down your thoughts, streams of consciousness on paper.
It doesn’t even have to make sense.
It’s just a way for you to dump the myriad of thoughts and emotions swimming around in your head onto a piece of paper.
Don’t over think it.
Don’t re-read it (until a later date if you choose).
Don’t correct it or worry about spelling or grammar.
Just write - freely for 7 minutes.
It’s important not to censor yourself – just let your thoughts flow freely from your brain onto the paper with no judgement.
You will be amazed how much lighter and clearer you begin to feel after doing this every day for a while.
If you want to use your Journaling time, or part of it, as an expansion of your gratitude practice you can do that too.
Research on the positive aspects of Journaling has shown that it can help to manage anxiety, reduce stress and help with depression.
Writing every day allows you to get your thoughts and emotions out of your head and can uncover patterns of negative thinking, encourage positive self talk and helps with prioritizing any fears and concerns.
Personally, I use a lot of my Journaling time for visualisation as well as an extension of my daily Gratitude practice.
I give thanks for all of the positive things in my life today, along with visualizing the life that I want to live, the person I want to become and the things I want to accomplish or change in the future.
And guess what?
Slowly but surely I am crossing them off of the list.
Just 7 minutes a day – that’s all it takes!
Stop rolling your eyes at me!
I can hear you now ‘oh here we go again. Bloody Meditation. I can’t Meditate. It tried it. I can’t do it. It’s just not for me.’
Stop. Right. There!
You can Meditate. And you almost definitely already do. Honestly – you do!
Have you ever sat for a few minutes staring off into space then when someone asks you what you were thinking you reply ‘nothing’?
Because it’s true, you were completely devoid of thought – that is Meditation in action.
Have you ever completed a task that you don’t have to think about? A task that you complete almost robotically - because you have done it so many times.
Cooking a dish you know so well that you can prepare and cook it on autopilot. Maybe it’s sweeping the yard, cleaning the car or making the bed every morning?
When you are completing any task that you’re brain doesn’t think about and your brain kind of – switches off.
That’s what I call ‘Meditation in Motion’.
Your body is moving but your brain is free and clear of thoughts.
Now that doesn’t mean that thoughts don’t occasionally enter you head. Of course they do. But they don’t stay there. You don’t focus on them. They just enter and leave whilst you complete the task at hand.
That is ‘Meditation in Motion’.
So now you know that you are already capable of Meditating, that you actually already do it without even trying or thinking about it. LOL
The next step is to put it into a daily practice. 10 minutes a day every single day.
That’s all it takes!
Nowadays there are a multitude of brilliant, and free, apps to help you. I use a combination of Insight Timer and YouTube, which together have 1000’s of different guided Meditations available. Headspace is another great one. You normally have to pay for Headspace but in 2020 they are offering the service for free - to anyone that has lost their job due to Covid19.
What you need to realise is that you will have good days and bad days when it comes to Meditation.
Exercising the brain is the same as exercising the body. Some days you have more strength than others. That’s normal. Just accept it and keep practising because much like the muscles in the body get stronger with repetitive action - so does the brain!
Don’t give up. Consistency is key. You got this!
I began doing these three things just over two years ago and it changed my life.
At the time I was living in a city I didn’t like, working at a job I didn’t love, daydreaming about writing a book and moving to California.
After no more than a few weeks of dedicating 20 minutes a day to practise these three techniques - everything changed.
Feeling Gratitude for where I was in my life meant that I started to enjoy the city I lived in more, making new friends and doing different things. My feelings around my job improved because I began to appreciate it for what it was – a stepping-stone to realising my dreams – rather than focusing on what it wasn’t.
And once that happened, once I started to enjoy my life as it was, guess what? Things began to change for the better.
With a clearer head from Meditating daily and no longer wallowing in self-pity, feeling lost and sad, I used my Journaling time to make a plan. To figure out what was important to me, and how to make changes to the things I didn’t love.
So what happened...?
Yep. You guessed it. My dream is now my reality. I’m living back in sunny California and have just completed the first draft of my first novel.
All for a commitment of just 20 minutes a day.
What’s stopping you?