Making a positive change in your life does not have to be about making a huge leap and implementing huge habits all at once.
I think this is actually one of these limiting beliefs that is holding many people back from even starting.
A way to solve this problem and what I also do in my own life, is to take smaller steps but many of them.
You may think that smaller steps don’t help as much but they can make all the difference. Smaller steps done consistently over time will eventually lead to bigger results.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu
So today I want to share 10 3-minute habits with you that can help you change your life in ways you probably can’t imagine now.
Over time, you can also expand the time you spend on a habit or take on new ones.
Since consistency is key, you will find a printable checklist at the end of the article where you can put in your habits and get to tick a box every time you did them. It’s such a good feeling of productivity and really gives you a sense of achievement to keep going.
Everyone has 3 minutes to squeeze in a habit, so find out about ten 3-minute habits that can change your life.
1. Do a brain dump first thing in the morning
This is a really simple yet powerful habit. Before you do anything in the morning, sit down with a notebook, a pen and a timer. Then set the timer for 3 minutes and GO!
Start writing anything and everything that is on your mind – a stream of consciousness. When doing a brain dump, it doesn’t matter how neat your hand- writing looks like or if it makes any sense, it’s about bringing all of your thoughts to paper.
After the 3 minutes you will feel lighter and have a better start into the day because you released all the things that you were over-thinking on. (and if you’re like me, you spend way too much time on overthinking)
2. Make your bed
This small habit makes you have a good start into the day and boosts your productivity.
Whenever I make my bed, my brain goes into this mode of “Okay, now it’s time to start my day in a productive way and do my morning routine”.
By making your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will also give you a small sense of pride and will encourage you to do more productive tasks right after.
I don’t know if it’s just me but when I make my bed and make sure that I have an overall tidy and organized room, it makes me 10 times more likely to be productive. When my room is messy, I’m not nearly as motivated.
Another thing that making your bed shows is that the little things in life do matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
Or put differently : How you do ONE thing is how you do EVERYTHING – I agree 100%
3. Start working on your most important task for 3 minutes
I use this little productivity trick every single day.
The reality is that your brain wants to keep you safe in your comfort zone and by doing this, it makes you kind of lazy and stuck in inaction and/or overthinking.
Whenever I want to overcome this lazy version of myself and be productive instead, I start working for 3 minutes on my most important task for the day.. (yes, the most IMPORTANT task which also tends to be the most daunting).
The thing is: Starting is always the hardest.
I always experienced this while studying for exams at university. Getting started aka sitting down and studying was always hard but after I started, I often enjoyed it and pushing through made me feel good about myself and less stressed.
(The kind of happiness where you’re happy that you’re not procrastinating)
Try it out and you will see. Once you start working on something for just 3 minutes, it’s usually easy to continue working.
This also works with other things:
A 30-minute run could be initiated by a 3 minute habit of putting on workout clothes and filling your bottle with water.
4. Do the 3-minute plank challenge
So can you hold a plank for 3 minutes?
Just set a timer for 3 minutes and do this plank challenge every day.
This 3-minute habit is about much more than having a beach-ready body. By working out your core, you also improve stability, reduce injury and most importantly, improve your posture.
By doing a plank you work on many areas of your body:
- your back
- your chest
- your shoulders
- your neck and
- your abs
In our modern society, we often spend way too much time sitting and doing this 3-minute plank can already have a positive impact on your body and fitness.
5. Breathe when you’re feeling stressed
Whenever you feel stressed, anxious or irritated, take 3 minutes out of the day for yourself. I like using the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
It works like this:
Breathe in quietly through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds and then exhale forcefully through your mouth for 8 seconds (you should make a “woooshing” sound)
This will help you calm your mind down and make you take on a more neutral and relaxed perspective on life.
I think we often find ourselves stressing about things that don’t really matter when looking at the bigger picture. I recommend taking a bird eye’s view on your life and asking yourself “Is this thing really so important that I allow it to mess with my peace of mind?
Spoiler alert: Most of the time it’s not.
6. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for
This is something you can do every night (or both in the morning and at night).
I love gratitude! It always reminds me of how lucky I actually am to have all the things in my life that we often take for granted. Like having clean running water, a cozy apartment and warm bed, a family, living in a country where there’s peace…there are literally so many things to be grateful for.
Reminding yourself of them and thinking about 3 things you are grateful for that happened that day will put you in a good mood.
7. Wash your dishes right away
I used to be someone who would be too lazy to clean up after cooking and wait for another future moment to wash the dishes. It would always make me feel frustrated that I then had to clean up my dirty dishes the next day in order to cook again.
I now have a different strategy.
I wash my dishes right away and I often do it while I’m cooking. There’s always time while your food is simmering, to clean up dirty kitchen utensils. At least for me, having a clean kitchen makes me feel much more productive and motivated to do other tasks.
8. Drink one glass of water and take your supplements first thing in the morning
We should drink at least 2 litres per day (or even more, when you exercise) but the reality is that most people drink less. Therefore, a small 3-minute habit that is really good for your health is to drink one glass of water and take your daily supplements directly after waking up.
Since I follow a plant-based diet, I take vitamin B12 capsules every day and sometimes also iron capsules.
After a whole night of sleeping, your body tends to be dried out and needs some water. By drinking one glass of water first thing in the morning, you boost your metabolism and wake up your body.
9. Look people into the eyes and smile at them
This habit actually takes less than 3 minutes but it’s so effective for your mental health. With modern technology and social media surrounding us, we have become more disconnected from the people around us. By that, I don’t mean your family or friends but strangers that you don’t know.
I think being kind and compassionate to people you don’t know is so important and much needed in this world.
Even if many people often look down on the floor instead of smiling at you and looking into your eyes, you can lead by example and maybe it will encourage them to smile the next time they walk past someone.
Maybe I’m too idealistic but isn’t this such a beautiful ripple effect that creates more kindness in the world?
I love this quote by Ghandi:
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
I really believe in it!!
10. Take a cold shower for 3 minutes
I know, you might be thinking right now “ No way I’m going to take a cold shower” but it’s not as hard as you might think and it offers many health benefits, some of which are:
- Increases the body’s metabolism (because it has to work harder to maintain a stable temperature)
- Increased willpower (because it takes a strong mind to do it)
- Reduced stress levels (the cold is a stressor and it makes your nervous system get gradually used to handling stress)
- High levels of alertness
- Weight loss (due to increased metabolic rate)
I don’t jump into a cold shower straight away. Instead, I first take a warm shower (not a hot one) , then gradually decrease the temperature and finish my shower with a 3-minute cold rinse. I’m always proud of myself that I’ve done it and it definitely wakes me up.
I hope these 3-minute habits gave you some inspiration for how you can make a positive change in your life by just investing 3 minutes of your time.
I really recommend starting out with only a few habits but staying really consistent with them. This makes it much easier to achieve your goal and this sense of having achieved something will, in turn, will give you that extra drive to implement more habits into your life and keep on improving yourself.
This printable checklist for your daily habits will help you hold yourself accountable. It’s so much fun to tick the boxes and knowing that you’re being productive and living up to your potential.
I’m sending you much love and have a beautiful day,
Q: Which of the 3-minute habits are you going to implement into your life?