Break the chain

You make a commitment to waking up 10 minutes earlier to meditate. That’s a small change to your daily routine. One day, your daughter gets sick and causes to stay up half the night. Then, a few days later, a power outage prevents your alarm from going off. A few days later, you drink a little too much and sleep through the alarm. Before you know it, you’ve given up on your commitment.

When talk about building new habits, repetition is a key element. Yet, beyond repetition, there’s a tendency to create a ritual. The same time, the same place, the conditions day in and out. As many who have tried, and failed, know, this doesn’t work. Life is not some perfect circle that always turns the same way. Interruptions, illness, disappointments, poor choices are not exceptions, but expectations.

Repetition is important to building good habits, but so are resilience and adaptability. We need former to keep the commitment despite the setbacks. We need the latter to be able to respond to the daily changes of life. Can’t meditate for 10 minutes in the morning? How about during a break at lunch? Or at night, before going to bed. The goal, after all, is to meditate. The time of the day is not important in the beginning.

It’s like this blog. Many people recommend long form, niche articles. Yet as people like John Gruber, Seth Godin, and Rohan prove in their excellent blogs, there’s also room for shorter articles. The goal here is to write for 10 minutes. I have several niches I’d like to explore. Topics such as machine learning, executive management and leadership, technology. Those are currently beyond what I’m willing to invest.
For now, 10 minutes a day is the building block to a better blog.

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