Tag Archive | Habit(s)

The 5-minute Game

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can you beautifully/artfully fill a 5-minute time-block?

I call this question The 5-minute Game.”

“How do you approach it?”

“That’s part of the game. Playfully finding ways to approach it. It can be by looking at it through different lenses.

For instance, you can look at it through the lens of habits.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear’s identifies four rules of habit creation:

Make it obvious. (Cue)
Make it attractive. (Craving)
Make it easy. (Response)
Make it satisfying. (Reward)

The idea is that, if you want to install a habit, consistency is key. The four rules are basically strategies for ensuring consistency.

One strategy for ensuring consistency is having a contingency system, a ‘minified‘ version of the habit that is too small to fail. Brian Johnson called the minimum amount of time you allocate a habit ‘floor‘, and the maximum ‘ceiling‘. [floor/ceiling model]

For many habits, I like to use 5 minutes as the floor.

Another lens you can look at it through is the mental/metaphoric model of ‘snacking‘.

I love the idea of ‘movement snacks‘ – which I know from Frank Forenchich’s beautiful book Beautiful Practice –, brief, frequent periods of physical activity throughout the day.

Deconstructing it, the mental/metaphoric model is that of ‘snacking’. The model has two components: frequency and brevity. Both are parameters you can play with to create beautiful structures.

In terms of brevity, one such structure is what I call the 5-minute snack.”

“Any tips for creating such snacks?”

Make them fun.

I like to make them thematic. (‘thematic-snacks‘)

For instance:

Improv-snacks: 5-minute improvisation sessions. It can be improvised movement, but not only.

Perception-snacks: 5-minute sessions of playing with perceptual-filters.

Continuous-movement-snacks: 5-minute sessions of continuous movement exploration. I like to focus on the transition between movements.

Tree-climbing-snacks: 5-minute tree-climbing sessions. I like to create little routes in the tree to challenge myself.

Fear-snacks: 5-minute fear-exposure sessions. For instance I like to climb as high as possible in a tree, and stay there for 5 minutes.”

“Fear-snacks don’t sound very fun.”

“It’s a matter of Perception.

A key aspect of the Art of Playful Living is making what is good for you fun.

Beautiful Habits: Appreciating Ideas

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

I love ideas.

“You mean some ideas?”

“I mean ideas as a unit of meaning, as the building-blocks of thought, and as creative fuel. In this general sense, I find ideas beautiful.

It’s true, I am very selective about ideas. I think filtering ideas is an important component of Wisdom. In this particular sense, I find particular ideas beautiful, and among these, some particularly beautiful.”

“You’re much more focused than you used to be.”

“I guess I am. I used to spread myself in so many directions. I’m now interested mostly in ideas that have practical application for the Art of (Playful) Living.

As with so many things in our life, we tend to take ideas for granted. I’ve decided to change that.

I’ve made it a Practice to express gratitude for every beautiful idea in my life.

Every time I read a quote for instance, I express gratitude for the idea, and to the author for the beautiful gift.

On Thoughts and Beauty

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Thoughts are a beautiful thing.”

“Some of them.”

“I mean thoughts in what they are. Their ‘substance‘, so to speak.
In terms of content, yes, some do not seem to be of any use.”

“‘Seem‘?”

“I like to make a distinction between resourceful/creative and unresourceful thoughts. And I like to think of the latter as (part of) the Inner Obstacle.

Obstacles are fundamental to our growth. Every unresourceful thought is a Beautiful Opportunity for PRACTICE.

“What’s the Practice?”

“Thoughts can be thoughts of as ‘micro-stories‘.

Unresourceful ones can greatly impact your state of mind if you believe them. Their usefulness lies in the opportunity to practice Meta-Awareness, and Letting go.

The first step is NOTICING them, which requires that you take a meta-perspective.

Make it a habit to ask yourself often,

Is this thought-story resourceful or unresourceful?

If not, appreciate its (substantive) beauty, and let it go.”

Beautiful Habits: Appreciating Habits

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Appreciate how far you’ve come.”

“What’s the PRACTICE?”

“What do you mean? Isn’t it obvious?”

“I mean what actionable steps are you taking to practicing Appreciation in this specific instance?

Values are a PRACTICE.

I’d go even further.

Values are a DELIBERATE Practice.

Thinking of it in terms of rep(etition)s, what counts as a rep?”

“I’d say actually expressing Appreciation in the moment.”

“Precisely. The more often, the better. Every little rep counts. Every little rep is an investment, which will lead to huge returns for your future-self.

In actionable terms, one way you can appreciate how far you’ve come is by appreciating habits.

Habits are the fundamental building-blocks of your life.

As with most things, we take them for granted, not realizing that, in their compounded effect, they make us who we are, and lead us towards who we want to be.

Make it a habit to NOTICE the good habits you’ve formed, big and small, and, equally important, the bad ones you’ve discarded, and express heartfelt gratitude every time you do.”