Over the last few weeks, I have been studying the book — Atomic Habits by James Clear.
I have never been much of a reader, but this book has been an encyclopedia for habit building. I have encountered numerous ‘Aha!’ lessons in the book, but the 2 minutes rule is the one I want to detail in this post.
The rule is something on the lines of -
If you want to start a new habit, find its smallest (and simplest) chunk that you can execute in 2 minutes or less. Do nothing more than the smallest chunk until it becomes a habit.
Let’s take an example —
Say you want to become a Medium writer who publishes articles every week. The smallest chunk of this writing habit is writing a few words.
The execution —
- Set a 2 minute timer
- Write a few words until the time runs out.
Simple enough! Right?
I know what you are thinking! I was thinking the exact same thing — How can doing small chunks compare to doing the real thing? You are absolutely right the small chunk is in many ways inferior to the real deal be it in terms of impact or glamour. The fact that the chunk is low impact and low glamor, it is also super low effort. That is exactly what we need!
Unless you are Elon Musk, you will always find 2 minutes in a day to complete your quota. In fact, the 2 minutes will not be enough. Soon, your mind will get into the groove. It’ll beg for more time. Eventually the 2 minutes you started off with will soon turn into 30-minute habit sessions!
Imagine where 30 minutes of deliberate action everyday can take you?
To paint a better picture, I can share with you what the 2 minutes rule has helped me accomplish.
You are reading it :)
I started off by writing the title of this post on day 1. Yes, just the title! So far it’s been 8 days and I am constantly shooting the 2 minutes mark.
Am I an accomplished Medium writer yet? Nope.
Am I building a habit to help me get there? Hell yeah!
To summarize —
- Read Atomic Habits (by James Clear)
- Divide your target habit into chunks and do the smallest chunk for no more than 2 minutes a day.
- The low effort of a 2 minute action makes it super easy to do. It is also “excuse proof”. Are you really telling me that you don’t have 2 minutes to spare?
- Soon you will enjoy the action so much that you’ll end up doing more of it.
2 minutes habit routine -> Better habits -> Better life.