Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It’s hard to imagine a person could become successful at anything, practicing a mere 20 minutes each day. But it’s true! Just as ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’, the working factor of “20 in 2020” lies in the repetition of the action and the creation of a permanent habit. Expand on Nike’s famous tagline: Just Do It -- for 20 minutes every day. Another example, “Do the Right Thing”, a GreenStone core value, has helped the company develop habits over the years that have led to relationships foundational to its success.
Your idea of success in 2020 may be a promotion at work or winning the Lotto, but for this particular trick, it’s advisable to begin your success-quest with actions that are under your control, and that directly impact the quality of your life. Use that ‘single step’ metaphor to build-in 20-minute patterns to help you focus on preparing for your next step in your career or personal plan. Here are three suggestions to activate this year:
READ 20: Research has shown that screen time at bedtime disrupts sleep patterns. The Sleep Foundation describes the effects of electronics on your quality of sleep, and eventually, on your overall functioning: “Using TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock (a.k.a., your circadian rhythm), suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. This is largely due to the short-wavelength, artificial blue light that’s emitted by these devices. Over time, these effects can add up to a significant, chronic deficiency in sleep.”
Tired of feeling like a zombie in the morning, or desperately needing coffee again at 3 p.m.? Try reading a book in bed by lamplight for 20 minutes every evening to power yourself down for deep, recovery sleep. Inspirational, self-help or professional development topics are more likely to put you in a contemplative or relaxed frame of mind; and, why not give your brain some solution-oriented thinking to do while you’re ZZzzzing?
WALK 20: The benefits of walking 20 minutes, five days a week, are energizing and life changing. According to Melina B. Jampolis, M.D. for Prevention Magazine, walking can improve your mood, burn calories, reduce risk of chronic disease, delay onset of varicose veins, lower blood sugar, aid digestion, alleviate joint pain and even improve creativity.
What might be the most interesting benefit of 20 minutes of daily walking is its ability to open up opportunities in other areas of your life as it reframes your physical habits. Sometimes a step towards success is literal!
MEDITATE 20: You may have tried meditating in the past and it just didn’t work, but it’s time to give mindfulness another try. Twenty minutes of daily meditation has been proven to relieve stress, control anxiety and enhance self-awareness. Also, a new study out of Michigan State University’s psychology department found that “taking a 20-minute break to meditate could help you pay closer attention to tasks and ultimately make fewer mistakes” -- a positive perk for both personal and professional life.
Like any new habit, meditation may need to be practiced for several weeks until the benefits become apparent. A guided app, like Headspace, makes it easier for some people to launch a meditation routine, while others may prefer listening to music or meditating outdoors.
Read, walk, meditate. Choose one, reclaim 20 minutes normally spent scrolling your phone or clicking through TV programs, and create a practice that propels you toward a new or improved direction. Setting yourself up for success in 2020 starts with your daily decision to be good to yourself; grab a 20-minute habit and grow!
To view the article in the online 2020 Spring Partners Magazine, click here.