Whichever way you tend to look at it, motivation doesn’t come easy. Even with the promise of something great at the end of a goal – more money, feeling healthier, looking better – it can be tough to push yourself in the right direction. Or sometimes it’s as simple as saying we’re just too lazy to start tackling the things we must. The temptation to just spend a night in with Netflix, curled up on the coach can vastly overpower any productive urge you may have, but there are still things you need to get done; there always will be that to-do list silently rebuking you until you start crossing items off. To ensure you’re not at the mercy of a digital subscription all year round, there is something you can try that should just take minutes of your time.
This writer was pointed towards a piece by Benjamin Spall that offers a simple way into trick yourself into getting started when you have zero motivation. Just tell yourself you’re going to do whatever it is you need to do for five minutes. Just five minutes, nothing more.
The logic here is if you tell yourself you’re only going to exercise, write, wash the dishes, or clean your apartment for “only five minutes,” your brain doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. Nobody can argue with five minutes, including your brain, so you have no legitimate reason not to get started.
Of course, what then usually happens is at about the five-minute mark of your task, you begin to get into it. Something clicks; you realise it isn’t as hard as you had thought it would be, and you start to get a taste for it, a taste that will then lead you to want to continue with the task, and hopefully result in burst of creative energy, be it cleaning out your attic, writing a business plan or simply putting your hopes for 2016 to paper – your goals invariably start to take shape if you can see them in front of you every day.
In the article, Spall recalls how a fellow writer simply wanted to floss more in the morning, so he started with a single tooth. Of course, spurred on by that small action he revamped his entire morning routine, forcing his initial “tiny habit” to become automatic. His point being, that the same mantra can be applied to virtually anything you have put on the long finger.
Give it a go. You have to start somewhere and it is pretty hard to argue with just five minutes, right?