Have you ever tried to do a regular meditation practice, only to find yourself constantly distracted by ‘more important’ things? Here’s the secret: save yourself 20 seconds and you’ll gain several hours to dedicate to your practice.
Willpower alone is not enough to get us into a daily yoga or meditation routine, according to psychologist Shawn Achor. In his book, The Happiness Advantage, he demonstrates the 20 Second Rule that really will get you on your meditation cushion every day. Discover how this simple technique makes meditation easy...
The 20 Second Rule
How does the 20 Second Rule work? By tapping into our innate laziness! Achor wanted to spend less time watching TV, so took the batteries out of the remote control and put them in a draw. The 20 seconds it would have taken him to replace the batteries was enough extra effort to make it easier for him to reach for the book he’d carefully left on the couch. By adding just 20 seconds to his habitual routine of flicking on the TV, he saved 3 hours that he could now spend productively.
He also found that his sporadic guitar practice became a daily habit when he stopped keeping the guitar in the cupboard and left it in the middle of the lounge room on a music stand. The 20 seconds it used to take him to get the guitar out of the cupboard was just enough extra effort to stop him from practicing every day. When the guitar was right there in the room, there was no resistance to picking it up and practicing.
You can apply exactly the same 20 Second Rule to your meditation practice. Simply set up your meditation cushions right by your bed or in your lounge before you go to bed (or before you leave the house if you intend to practice when you get home in the evening). Keep your practice paraphernalia to a minimum – do you really need music/incense/special clothes to meditate? Remember the 20 second rule - the more effort you have to put in, the less likely you are to do your practice. Keep it simple – just you and your mat – and you’ll find you enjoy more bliss time and less procrastination.
Want to learn more about meditation? Visit the Meditation Resource Page for guided meditations, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and more:
Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counsellor and teacher trainer. She conducts regular trainings that help people of all ages, shapes and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga and meditation, including Meditation Facilitator Certificate Trainings; Level 1 200hr Teacher Training and Post Graduate Yoga Teacher Training in Mental Health, Adaptive Asana and the Foundations of Yoga Therapy and a highly regarded professional 650hr Graduate Certificate of Yoga Therapy.