Beginning is half done. This is something I heard Robert Schuller say at a seminar I attended in Hershey, PA, back in the ‘90s. It’s stuck with me ever since.
Once we engage in something, particularly something that is good, but perhaps difficult, we cross the line of decision. Which is the hardest of all lines to cross. Crossing is the beginning of execution.
So, beginning is half done…there’s still the problem of beginning. That stops so many of us. Sometimes we cross that line and sometimes we put it off. Which leads us to the worst of all habits – inconsistency.
Years ago, I used motivation and accountability to maintain good habits. It worked to a point, but I recently started adding a different method, which I’ve found identified in a few books. It’s called the 2-minute drill.
Simply put, it’s a decision you make before you need to act. The decision is made to take a simple action toward a future decision that begins your intended action or habit.
Example: I put on my exercise clothes first thing every morning. In fact, I make the decision to put them out the night before, making the next day’s first decision easier. I put them on knowing I’m not working out right away and maybe not at all. I’ve planned the time and activity, but not committed yet. But after a coffee and reading 30 minutes, I’m more awake and, what do you know, I’m already wearing my workout clothes!
Beginning now is much easier because, in a way, I’ve already begun. So the action is also much easier to move into and accomplish.
You can do this with any goal. Set yourself up in advance.
Need to eat better during the days in the office? Make your lunches every evening. Or better yet, prepare meals for the week on Sunday. I have a packed lunch every day I’m in “the field,” which is most days. My wife or I can make it easier each week by pulling all the consistent lunch items I have – veggies, fruit, snacks – gotta have some carbs! That way less is required for daily prep. And eating out is almost never necessary unless I plan it. Easy.
Another extension of this concept is to make the habit you want to eliminate or minimize difficult to engage. Less social media? Eliminate the apps. Less email distraction? Eliminate notifications. Need time to get in the zone? Remove your phone. Need to sleep better? Eliminate screen time one hour before bedtime or take the screen out of the room. Yes, I said it.
What can you apply the 2-minute drill to?