The One Minute Rule: A Method to Fight Laziness

· October 20, 2017
Many people set out to make changes. To exercise every day, to get some reading in at night or simply to make some type of adjustment in their lifestyles. The one minute rule is one of those methods which will help you fight laziness and keep your purposes alive instead of letting them die of starvation.

Here in the West, we have the terrible practice of trying to accomplish great changes in short periods of time. We think it is a matter of willpower. And that is how we put tasks upon our shoulders that we will later be unable to complete.

“Only a habit can subdue another habit.”
Og Mandino

We want to change overnight, from one day to the next. And when we don’t achieve it, we feel guilty and frustrated. The thing is that we might have enough willpower to achieve what we want, but we might be using the wrong method. At this point, the use of some little tricks are valid. For example, the one minute rule. It is free, simple and very effective according to those who have made use of it.

What is the one minute rule?

The one minute rule is a method based on a very small unit of time, as its name makes reference to. Originally from Japan, it has been used both in matters of work as well as in situations of personal nature.


fight laziness panda

Eastern cultures have the advantage of understanding that everything is a process. They also understand that great achievements are born from prolonged and continuous efforts, in which different stages must be completed. Their biggest virtue is understanding that velocity leads nowhere in most cases.

The one minute rule says we must introduce changes into our lives within periods of only a minute.  If what we want is to maintain an exercise routine, we must dedicate a minute per day to it. It works the same way for any other habit we want to introduce or to eradicate from our lives. But it is important to consider that we can’t ever skip a single day.

Is the one minute rule effective?

Those who have put it into practice assure that the one minute rule is highly effective in getting elusive changes to happen. Laziness is the main enemy of action; this includes mental, physical and emotional laziness. This laziness appears when we have to do something that implies a big effort which overcomes our investment capacity.

We feel that something is very difficult to do, because our brains will always resist change. We already have preset patterns and ways to act and behave. Repeating them every day is a practical way of dealing with the routine. All of this without wearing ourselves out too much by having to rationalize what we are about to do.

That is why the one minute rule is so effective. It allows you to establish a mark in your brain in order for you to introduce the change. And it does so without us feeling we have to make a huge effort to adapt. A minute passes quickly, but the footprint remains. This way, the modification in our lifestyle becomes deeply rooted, without us hardly realizing it.

fight laziness clock

From a minute to a lifetime

Ideally, the one minute rule should be put into practice for at least 60 consecutive days. This is enough time to transform an activity which was previously completely alien to our routine into something familiar. And if we manage to experience that action as “normal”, our resistance to do it will eventually disappear.

The Eastern cultures know that everything has its time, and great changes take place gradually. The one minute rule is just an initial aid, which allows you to prepare both the body and the mind for new situations. But, of course, these new situations cannot simply stay limited to a minute. It is necessary for the time invested into the new activity to be gradually extended. From one to five minutes, from five to ten minutes, and so on.

The cycle can last 60 days, but this will always depend on each particular case. Some people are more open to changes and can move from one stage to the next one more quickly. Others, however, will need more days to increase the time of practice of the new activity. This way, it is important that we know ourselves enough to determine what our times are.

fight laziness

The one minute rule is ideal for tasks which don’t motivate us too much or activities which make us feel great laziness. Exercise routines are an example, but the rule can also be applied to any type of habit we wish to acquire. Let’s ask ourselves: with such a simple method at our disposition, why not give it a try?