It Starts with 5 (Minutes)

I realize I’m writing this at a weird time – the beginning of a new year is typically when our motivation to change is the highest. But so often, we find ourselves setting the same exact New Years Resolutions again and again. We start out strong while motivation is high, and then time takes its toll, or life gets stressful, or a global pandemic starts. You know, normal things.

And we fall away from that goal. We fall back into old habits, the very ones you were probably looking to break or change. This is life. There are ups and downs, we nail it sometimes and we fail at it sometimes.

If you come at these goals with a black-and-white, all-or-nothing mindset, the first setback means total, abject failure. “May as well go back to eating ice cream for dinner every night since I cheated on my diet today.”

That’s certainly one answer. There’s always next year (or month, or Monday, or whatever arbitrary starting date you’re into).

But we can also choose to have a back-up plan. A tactic we can use to start finding our way back to the marked path after veering way off into the bush.

Create a 5-Minute Goal.

An action you can do every day, without fail, that will inch you a little bit closer to the person you want to be. The only caveat is that it CANNOT take more than 5 minutes. Anything more and it becomes a real time commitment. If you can’t say with 10/10 absolute and total confidence that you can do that thing every single day, it’s not a good 5-Minute Goal.

Some examples I use with clients (and myself):

  • Journal for 5 minutes.
  • Take 6 deep breaths every day.
  • Eat one bite of fruit.
  • Take the dog on a 5 minute walk around the short block.
  • Put a snack in their gym bag or purse.
  • Touch the barbell in their home gym everyday.

The thing that’s cool about the 5-Minute Goal – they can be expanded. So maybe you go from touching the barbell every day, to touching the barbell and then doing 10 air squats everyday. And from there you touch the barbell, do 10 air squats, and 15 glute bridges. And suddenly you’re warming up for a squat workout on the regular. And maybe one day comes where you’ve got free time and you’re feeling good, and that warm-up turns into squatting the bar for a few reps. Then throwing on some weight. Then you remember how much you really loved lifting. And there it is – your motivation.

Motivation doesn’t come on its own. It comes from action. 5-minutes of action, over time, is all it might take.

Hi. Welcome back. Sorry I stopped writing for some time. 2020 was a weird year. I’m getting my bearings again. Thanks for stopping by.

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