I have a chair in my office that has one overriding use. Reading.

This chair is one we bought for our daughter a few years ago. She knew I always loved it, and when she no longer needed it I got it! And it’s for reading only. 

When I get up in the morning, my first action is to get the coffee. Critical. My second action is to sit in my reading chair in my office. And I read something to help me improve – my business, my marriage, my faith, my disciplines. Growth-focused reading.

The chair is my trigger. Strange as it may seem, my mind knows that when I’m in this chair, I’m programmed to read. I’m not forced, not limited, not stressed. It’s just a trigger since I don’t do anything else there. At least not significant – I might check some email on my cell, or some mornings I’ll finish reading and meditate/rest for few minutes, but those all happen after reading. That’s the chair’s purpose – provide a place for reading.  And the reading is not leisure. I have multiple leisure reading spots – the couch, the deck swing, the porch chairs, the kitchen table, but not my “reading” chair – that’s for growth only!

I shared this at a business conference recently and another guy at our table quickly said that he has a nap blanket trigger. Might sound silly, but this guy has a specific blanket he whips out only for power naps. These are 10-20 minute naps that allow for excellent relaxation, refreshment and revitalization, without the sleepiness that follows longer, deeper naps. The blanket is only for that purpose, and he drifts off immediately when he uses it. A trigger. 

Another woman at the table shared that she can never nap, tried it but never got into it. Slept too long or didn’t at all – as her brain wouldn’t turn off.  Maybe she needs a trigger like he has. I think she missed that point entirely and will likely continue to struggle with this discipline until she finds the right trigger.

If you’re struggling with some discipline, perhaps you need a trigger. Something to set the stage for the action you want, something that is not confused with anything else.  Maybe a blanket for that power nap, or a reading chair, or a specific location or place where you meditate, reflect or strategize.  Power napping, reading, meditating and strategic thinking, we’d all likely agree, are excellent uses of time, but so inconsistently acted upon, if ever.

If you haven’t tried a trigger, maybe it’s time to create one.