The Joseph Group

The Two-Minute Rule

July 12, 2019

To Inspire:

We continue our discussion on habits that move us closer to our own personal version of a great life.  In today’s WealthNotes, we discuss the “2-minute rule,” as shared by James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits.

The premise is that it is tempting to pursue a new habit by starting too big. Excitement takes over and one ends up trying to do too much too soon.

To counteract his tendency, use the 2-minute rule which, simply stated, is: when you start a new habit it should take less than two minutes to do.

Clear believes that nearly any habit can be scaled down into a two-minute version:

  • – Read before bed each night becomes read one page;
  • – 30 minutes of exercise becomes take out my yoga mat;
  • – Fold the laundry becomes fold one pair of socks;
  • – Run 3 miles becomes tie my running shoes.

The idea is to make your new habit as easy as possible to start.  Anyone can meditate for one minute, read one page or put one item of clothing away.  This is a powerful strategy because once you complete this smaller ritual, it is much easier to continue doing the more important habit associated with it.  Clear also refers to these smaller 2-minute rituals as gateway habits for they lead us down a very productive path.

To illustrate, Clear shares the example of Twyla Tharp, regarded as one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the modern era.  She credits much of her success to simple daily habits.  One in particular has been key: she begins each day with a simple but critically important ritual. “I wake up at 5:30 AM, put on my workout clothes; walk outside my Manhattan apartment and hail a taxi to take me to my nearby fitness club where I work out for two hours.”  The ritual that is so important is not the actual two-hour workout but getting outside and hailing a cab.  Once I tell the driver where to go, I have completed the ritual.  And it’s that simple smaller ritual (hailing a cab) that ensures that I will do my two-hour workout that day.  Having this gateway habit greatly reduces the chance that I would skip my workout and is the key routine in my arsenal of routines.”  Isn’t that a great technique?!

What new habit can you start on your continuing road to greatness?  Make it a simple habit, a “gateway” habit, a 2-minute habit that sets you up for success.  And watch what happens!!