"Do Less Than You Can and Take One Breath A Day" - Chade-Meng Tan
Chase-Meng Tan was Google employee #107 and created the very successful mindfulness course for employees called “Search Inside Yourself”. His work has been endorsed by President Carter, Eric Schmidt of Google, and the Dalai Lama. He is the co-chair of One Billion Acts of Peace which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. He is also an award-winning engineer and a best-selling author.
Chade-Meng Tan has two suggestions when it comes to starting a meditation practice and then making it a habit. The first one is to do less than you can. What he means by this is that if you can sit in mindfulness for 5 minutes before it becomes a chore, then you should only do it for 3 to 4 minutes, but do it a few times a day. This way, meditating becomes sustainable and isn’t burdensome.
We can apply this to more than just meditation. Have you ever wanted to make your bed every morning or workout everyday and found you were able to do it for a few days, maybe a week, but not more than that? Why is that? Most likely, it’s because we try to do too much too fast. If our goal is to do a 1 hour workout everyday, but currently we workout for 30 minutes 3 days a week, we should start by trying to do just 10-15 minutes everyday. That way it’s less burdensome than the 30 minutes, but we’re committing to some kind of movement everyday. Then, once we’ve mastered that, we can make it a longer workout each day.
The second suggestion Tan has when it comes to starting a mindfulness practice is to take one breath a day. He mentions, “all [you] need to commit to is one mindful breath a day. Just one…and your commitment for the day is fulfilled”. The reason this works is because by simply starting with the most basic and easiest task, you get your mind to start thinking oh, only one breath a day? This is doable. This gives you the mental momentum you need to make it a daily practice. One breath is achievable and once you’ve got that down, you can start adding more.
How will you commit to a new habit or mindfulness practice today?
Have you tried either of these methods when building a habit? Let us know in the comments below!