The Five Minute Rule

five minute rule
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The Five Minute Rule aka “Just Do it for 5 Minutes” is hands down one of the best methods to start something new and to stop procrastinating on what you need to do. This practice is an easy tactic to apply to those tasks you have been delaying but need to get done or to simply start a daunting new habit. Not only does it take just five minutes to do, but you will also be astonished at just how much one can accomplish in that short amount of time. 

Taking tiny steps for huge rewards

For some reason, people tend to put off certain things they need to get done even though they know completing them will make their lives easier in the long run. Yet still, somehow many of us are unable to even start.

The 5-Minute Rule, which basically means “Just do it for five minutes” is actually a proven cognitive behavioral therapy technique that makes starting those tasks that have been looming, easy.

We all have things in our lives, whether it be a pending project or a healthy habit, that we know if we begin to tackle will make us happier in the long run. But what this in fact means is that by doing the things we don’t necessarily want to do now, we can actually invest in our own future happiness. 

Our habits determine our destiny 

The Five Minute Rule is this: just do something for five minutes. The rule can be applied to begin a new habit in your life or it can serve as a trigger to start tackling tasks that seem tedious.

Basically, the principle is you agree to commit yourself to at least five minutes and set a stopwatch.

Then, when you start to get bored, check to see how much time has passed. If it has been less than five minutes, then continue what you were doing until at least five minutes are up. After all, that is what you promised yourself you would do and anyone and everyone can do this. Plus, chances are you will find that you have gone over the time allotted, to begin with, which means you will have made just that much progress to reach your ultimate goals.

The bottom line is it is the habits we form now that will shape our lives in the future. Thus, the way to achieve your goals is through your habits. 

The Five Minute Rule in practice…

While the Five Minute Rule is super easy to follow, there are a number of guidelines that may help you along the way. Let’s say you want to start walking first thing in the morning, but never seem to actually do it. If you commit to the process for at least five minutes, you will begin to create positive momentum.

For this example, in practice, this could mean actually putting on an outfit you would walk in and physically lacing up your shoes, and then going outside for five minutes. I truly believe you will see that when the time is up, you won’t want to stop.

The key takeaway here is to just start for five minutes in any capacity, even if just preparatory, and see where that leads you.  

But, in all honesty, if you are experiencing a failure to launch,  it is best to start with something that is easy. If going to the gym, or even outside your door for exercise seems daunting, then do some exercises in your living room or even kitchen for five minutes and with consistency in time, you will see visible results. Complimentary to making what you want to do easy, is also making it convenient. See if you can’t tack on those five minutes to another habit you already have in place, such as getting to Inbox Zero. If, in addition to checking your inbox, you actually spend five minutes on finally handling those pending emails, then for example, eventually you too can reach a state of “clear inbox, clear mind”.    

Control your time to direct your life

With the Five Minute Rule, you can easily make headway into adopting good practices and start to get a rasp on whatever in your life feels overwhelming. Taking small steps towards achieving any goal has been proven time and time again to be the healthiest way to adopt a new and sustainable practice in your life.

Think of this method as a practice to develop your focusing skills and devote yourself entirely to the process. The short time span of attention allotted to a task may not make a difference in your regular daily schedule, however, focusing on something for just five minutes consistently will allow you to make progress in whatever you want to achieve. Witnessing how quickly you can see tangible results will soon make you addicted to the sense of achievement that comes with simply making progress, no matter how much. 

Those who can learn the skill of giving their all to something and are thus able to devote their undivided attention to a task are more skilled in their actions and making every moment count. The honest truth is: people who have better control of how they spend their time are more productive and successful in life.  

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