Most of us have a pretty good sense of the habits and choices we need to make to feel well on a daily basis. What often stands in the way is time. This really hit home for me during a training with my teacher. He was insisting that this one practice he had just taught us was essential and we needed to find a way to make time for it everyday. He had said this same thing about several other practices. I added it up in my head and realized I needed just 3 hours a day for the practices that would help me thrive. Not realistic.
Fortunately, we can experience tremendous improvements in our energy and sense of connection, while experiencing less stress and strife, in much less time. In fact, if you can commit to just 5 minutes a day, you will start to notice the change. It has to do with an interesting concept called “The Compound Effect.” I came across this idea in a book of the same title by Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine.
In this book, Hardy gives a few examples of three friends who all took slightly different courses of action. While there were no noticeable changes in the first 6 months, after a year or so the changes showed up in a big way. So at first, it can seem futile to take that extra effort to not eat after 7pm or spend 5 minutes meditating each morning but if you stick with it, over time you will reap the fruits of your labor.
Small changes applied consistently over time, lead to big results. Try it with your yoga practice. Commit to just 5 minutes of seated meditation each day or 6 rounds of Sun Salutations. Do it everyday for 40 days. The mind resists new habits so you need to have a firm resolve and commit to doing it everyday until a new neural pathway is formed. This takes about 40 days.
What can you commit to for just 5 minutes a day to start to bend the tide towards more well being in your life? Write it in the comments below and post it on your Facebook page. It helps to make a declaration. The same teacher who likes to give us these elaborate practices also said, “If you don’t have time to meditate each day, you need to seriously consider the choices you’ve made for yourself.”
It often comes down to deciding to do it. That alone has power. The 5 minutes each day becomes a reminder of your commitment to your own well being.