I want to talk about how to develop the “30-minute” mindset that will assist anyone in learning a new skill or mastering self-improvement.
The Difficulty With Change
Positive and productive change requires time, energy, and effort. Making long-term, positive change in a short time is impossible. Whether an individual wishes to learn a language, overcome a vice, or earn love, all these acts require a significant investment.
For example, we can’t learn a language in a truncated amount of time because we won’t be able to comprehend the intricacies of the subject. We will fail to understand syntax and grammar, the historical evolution of the language, the ebb and flow of conversations, slang terminology, and much more. All we can learn quickly are greetings and a few curse words – and such “rewards” will provide no deeper pleasures or enjoyable results.
Or, we may wish to overcome a particular vice or bad behavior. If we attempt to make the change quickly, the improved behavior may not stick. However, if we invest substantial energy into understanding our addiction, put time into changing our behaviors, and effort into maintaining good habits, we will see a stable change that can only be accomplished over time.
Lastly, it’s impossible to develop a deep appreciation for something in a short amount of time. If one is learning how to fix cars, it is hard to love the art of mechanic work if we take the shortest route. Through the shortest route, we are less likely to encounter difficulties or opportunities to grasp the intricacies as well as the nuanced problems involved in auto repair. With an easy and shallow understanding of mechanic work, we will develop an empty love for what we’re doing.
When we try to execute short, quick solutions to long-term goals, we will fail. Our small bursts of intense energy cannot withstand the massive wall that is long-term success. It is better to develop the ability to invest incrementally in meaningful change, so we can accomplish the goals we want in sustainable ways.
In this blog post, I will go over what’s involved in incremental change, what it is, and how you can utilize it in your own life.
Lay The Foundation
Understand What You’re Doing and Why – First things, first. What are your life goals? Why do you wish to pursue these goals? When we fail to understand what our life purpose is, it becomes disturbingly easy to let our minds drift and allow our actions to become meaningless. Therefore, it’s important to lay the foundation and understand what your legacy will be and what life goals you wish to pursue.
Once a life goal is established, you can judge your long and short-term based on whether or not they align with your life’s desire. This provides a solid foundation by which to judge the quality of your actions.
Track Your Actions – The best way to handle larger change is to take incremental steps. Firstly, keep a journal or keep a steady record of your daily tasks. The ability to reflect on what you’ve done in the past will help you make the improvements you need in the future.
From here, you can analyze your actions – where are you wasting time? What is and is not helping you reach your aims? We must always start by chipping away at activities that are unnecessary, so we can have the available time to start implementing what is necessary.
Let’s Think Long-Term
Develop Long-Term Plans – Thinking long-term is a skill few develop. To think long-term, we have to understand where we want to go and recognize that arriving at that destination requires a few steps.
Therefore, take the time to develop your plan. Whether you want a five-year, three-year, or seven-month plan, try to create a blueprint of where you want your life to be at least a month in advance. We all have visions of where we’d like to be. It pays to do the work of committing that vision to paper.
Take Better Care Of Yourself – Personal health and wellbeing are foundational to self-improvement. We all have our vices and shortcomings, but we should seek to consume better food, receive at least seven hours of sleep daily, and exercise every three days. By taking better care of ourselves, we’ll have more mental energy and feel happier as well as think clearer.
Develop Willpower and Emotional Control – Willpower enables us to keep pushing. Emotional control helps us avoid wasting energy on being angry or annoyed. By developing these two crucial abilities, we can strengthen ourselves against those moments where we become burnt out or avoid situations where we allow our day to be ruined by a brief moment of anger.
30-Minutes A Day
Now we’re ready to implement the change. With everything you’ve done up to this point, you can focus on introducing just thirty minutes a day to pursuing your goal.
This 30-minute trick is dangerously useful because, through daily practice and repetition, we ensure we’re sticking to the change we’re trying to accomplish.
For example, if we study learning a language every day for 30 minutes, and truly commit to challenging ourselves, we’ll regularly be exposed to our topic of study, and through repetition, we will begin to grasp the concepts. This compounds over time, and the benefits of studying will increase.
Of course, you’re not restricted to just 30-minutes – if you have five hours a day, by all means, go for it. However, I created this idea while thinking about a person with a family, a full-time job, and other possible responsibilities.
We can all spare thirty minutes a day, even if that means we have to forego sensual vices that don’t serve our long-term needs.
The beauty of the self-improvement system that I’ve outlined above is that we will see an overall improvement in our time management skills. The “incremental change” approach provides us with the ability to get started in a meaningful way. From these small beginnings, we can expand the time we have.
As stated before, why stop at 30 minutes? Over time, we may find that we have an hour a day. Fill it up with practice and study.
Incremental change helps build our willpower, fortitude, and persistence. Additionally, the small improvements we make in our health will help improve our mental and physical wellbeing. Lastly, by being more aware of where our efforts are going, we can make better changes in our day-to-day activities.
Everything I listed above won’t happen in one day. Start slow.
For example, take a week to understand what your life goals are. If you already have them listed, take time to reflect on them. From here, take another week to track your efforts or review your day through journaling. Don’t judge your actions – simply record.
At the end of the week, study your actions and with this information in hand, take a few days to map out your long-term goals. With a better understanding of your day, you can start planning your long-term goals.
Now, look over your daily tasks – where are the vices you can cut? Cut recreational activities like Netflix and gaming down to a few hours a week. Eliminate vices such as gossiping. Your schedule will free up. With this added time, commit to eating better, getting rest, and exercising. Also, control your emotions and build willpower.
You do not have to be perfect – but develop these practices to earn a clearer mind as well as a little more time. Do this for another week.
We’re ready to implement the incremental change. Find the 30 minutes in the day and get to work. Set that time aside without fail.
Nothing worth doing happens overnight. Be patient with yourself but always realize a fundamental reality of individualism – you are the primary cause for your failures. Therefore be honest with yourself: if you really did have a rough day at work, take a little time to recover but develop the endurance necessary to prevent burn out in the future.
- What’s one thing – just one – that you’d like to learn by the end of the year? If you committed 30-minutes a day do you believe you could learn it?
- What’s a subject you’ve attempted to learn but gave up on? Why? What could you have done differently? What can you do differently now?
- Are you keeping a journal? Are you eating well? Why or why not?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.