Monday, February 29, 2016

It Takes Twenty Seconds

I've often faced the task of trying to push people into some form of action.

Get out of bed in time to come for a Zumba class.

Update that resume so you can get out of that Job you crib about everyday.

Sometimes it gets irritating to play the role of the constantly enthusiastic 'Come on, you can DO it' type of person. But then I remind myself that there have been PLENTY of times in my own life when I've faced that kind of inertia - the kind that keeps you down, negative, complaining and immobilised.

I don't remember exactly when I discovered the 20-second rule - maybe I read about it on a blog or a book or whatever. But it was when I started applying the concept of nudging along my 'activation energy' in the direction I needed to go that things really started to change.

To put it succintly - just make it a little bit easier for you to make a positive change; and a little bit tougher on yourself to continue a negative habit.

I was really surprised to find, over a period of time, that the 20-second rule works. 20 seconds is really all it takes!

So, because I was lazy about practicing my guitar? I brought it into my room instead of where it lay 10 feet away outside of my room's balcony door. Into the room. That's all.

I wouldn't always 'find the time' to do my yoga? So I began to keep my yoga mat in plain sight in a corner of my room.

Who had the time to practice new Zumba choreos? My sport shoes now stayed in the room right next to the music system.

I've definitely done more of the positive ones than the ones that require me to give up bad habits - for example, I'm still liable to press the snooze button on my morning alarm. Should just keep the phone twenty seconds away at night. And I'm still guzzling more sugar than I should. You get the picture. But at least there's a whole bunch of things that I'm able to magically 'fit into' my every day.

Try it yourself. I'd really love to hear if this works for you! 


  1. I have heard the idea of keeping things in eyesight but did not know there was an official name for the concept. I need to get more proactive about using the 20 secs rule. One thing I did was to leave the vitamin tablets right by the sink instead of the medicine cabinet. That reminds me to take my daily vitamin. Need to think of smarter ways to drink more water. dehydration is a constant issue for me. I just forget to drink water when I get busy with things. This email served as a good reminder. Thanks!


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