10 Simple Ways to Change Your Life in 2 Minutes a Day

by Henrik Edberg

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography (license).

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Lao Tzu

“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
Madame Marie du Deffand

Making a positive change in your life does not have to be about making a huge leap. But I believe that belief is one of those things that hold people back from improving their life and world.

A simpler way that more often results in actual action being taken and new habits being established – in my life at least – is to take smaller steps but many of them. So here are 10 ways to change your life in just 2 minutes or so a day. Through these small steps you can start to build habits that become stronger and over time can change your life in ways you perhaps can’t imagine now.

To remember to actually do one of the things below each day write down a simple reminder. Put it on your night table so that you see it when you wake up each morning. Or put the note in your workspace so you see it early in your day. If you like and if possible, expand on the small habit after a week or two and do it for just a few more minutes a day.

1. Just start working for 2 minutes on your most important task.

I use this one at least one day every week. On some days I simply don’t feel like getting started with work. I’d much rather stay lazily on the sofa. So on such days I just start to work for 2 minutes on my most important task. That is the deal.

The thing is: getting started is pretty much always the hardest part. After I have started moving and been at work for those 2 minutes it is usually pretty easy or simple to just continue working on that task.

2. Review and appreciate your day at the end of it.

If you do good things during the day and get things done then that can raise your self-esteem. If you reflect upon that you have done so that is.

So take two minutes of the end of your workday. Appreciate what you did and what you thought.

That is what I will do when I am done with this article and workday.

3. Set a low bar for happiness for the day.

Lately I have been telling myself this when I wake up in the morning: “Have a low bar for happiness today.”

As I tell myself this and try to keep it in mind during the day I appreciate things more. The food, my work, the weather, the small events of the day becomes not everyday stuff but something I feel happy to have. The small or what may be something one takes for granted becomes something I now often pause for a moment or two to take in and appreciate.

But if I become happier in my everyday life for the smaller things does that mean that I become unmotivated to keep working towards the bigger things?


This way of looking at my life actually fuels me with more energy and inspiration and fun, life becomes lighter and I feel less inner resistance as I explore and work towards both small and bigger things.

4. Breathe when stressed.

When stress catches up with you, when you start to feel anxious, irritated and or fearful because of it then take 2 minutes. Sit down. Breathe rather deeply with your belly. Focus on just for your breathing for those 2 minutes. This will calm your mind and body down and you can resume your work in a calmer mood after that.

5. Open up your senses to what is here now.

Pull yourself out of the past where you relive an old conflict and drag yourself further down a depressing spiral. Pull yourself out of the the future where you imagine a catastrophe at your next meeting, date or presentation. Place yourself and your attention on where you really are. Here now.

Do so by sitting down for 2 minutes. See what is right in front of you. Listen to the birds and cars outside. Feel the spring sun shining in through the window onto your clothes and skin. Sense the small draft from one of the windows. Smell the flowers and trees that have started to bloom.

Be here fully with all your senses for those 2 minutes. This will calm your mind and body down. Thinking will become easier and an optimistic viewpoint will feel more natural.

6. When you feel the need to judge someone tap into understanding instead.

When you feel the need to judge someone you know or may not know then take 2 minutes. Ask yourself these two questions: What parts of this person can I see in myself? How is he or she like me?

Why do that instead of judging?

Because no one wants to be judged in a negative way and doing so to the people in your life doesn’t help to build good relationships. Plus, the amount you tend to judge others often is a similar amount that you judge yourself. So help yourself to live a more positive life in those two ways by pausing when feeling the need to judge and then choose something better.

7. Think for a minute and give someone a genuine compliment.

Spend one minute coming up with something you really and genuinely appreciate about someone in your life and that is in the same room as you at some point during the day. Spend the other minute or less on telling him or her the compliment.

She or he will be happy. You’ll feel good about yourself and probably get some positive feelings too from the now happy and complimented person. It’s a good and small way to build more positive relationships.

8. Hug.

It’s a small thing but physical intimacy can reduce stress and make us feel good. So spend 2 minutes of your day on hugging. Like compliments it can be a simple way to build warmer and more positive relationships with all kinds of people in your life. Just use your common sense before you start hugging.

9. Be interested instead of interesting.

At the start of a conversation or to break the ice spend two minutes on asking one or a couple of questions about someone you are talking to and his or her life.

Pay attention and don’t just wait for your turn to talk again. The interest you give will most likely be returned and you can start to build not only a good conversation but also a giving and fulfilling relationship for the two of you no matter what kind of relationship it may be.

10. Mix things up.

Try the opposite. Have the vegetarian dish if you always go for the meat. Walk away from a stupid conflict instead of making it worse. Let one thing go if you often cling to things. Say yes to something spontaneous if you often say no and stick within your daily routine.

Take 2 minutes or less in one common or negative situation in your life today, pause for a brief reflection and then make a decision that is uncommon for you.

Make a habit of mixing things up to have more fun. To grow your life in small or bigger ways. To add unexpected experiences. To make it easier and simpler to step out of your comfort zone in general when you really need to.

And to feel alive.

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Bryan Weller June 1, 2012 at 4:40 am

Let’s hug it out! My favorite suggestion is to be interested rather than interesting. There is so much out in the world to see and experience.

Glori S. June 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

We have so much to be thankful for every day. But sometimes, the pain blurs our vision.
Thanks for the wonderful reminders!

Mick June 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I like it! Every month I come here and remind myself that small steps make the difference, no pressure, the “results” come later. And I love the fact that a positivity blog suggests to be negative (no. 3), to me that is essential to being positive.

startliving.org.uk June 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

11. Make yourself the priority for the change. Stop prioritising others ahead of you. Do something, or buy something (I’m thinking cake or coffee, or maybe cake and coffee ((rather than a Macbook Air etc)) that makes you happy!

How-To-Be-Happy-Again June 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm

All good advice! Thanks for the read. =)

Kupihea June 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I’m going to try setting a lower bar for happiness and see how that works out. Its counterintuitive but it actually sounds like a great idea.

thegrrrr8est June 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the advice to be interested instead of interesting. One is interesting as a by product of being interested. You can’t force it. You can’t fake it. You can’t compel it. And nothing is more tedious or boring than someone *trying* to impress. What a brilliant turn of phrase — thank you so much!

Henrik Edberg June 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

Thanks for all the kind words and added insights, I’m glad you found the article helpful! :)

chad June 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

great tips. it’s cliche, but counting your blessings is always
a way to change your life for he better.

Jill Fratianne June 6, 2012 at 5:19 am

You have helped me and many others. Keep the creative juices flowing, my friend. The internet is your canvas.

Vinnie P June 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm

It’s amazing how powerful these 10 simple steps actually are. I have found that setting a low bar for happiness or achievement everyday is tremendously beneficial. Small accomplishments and celebrating the little things leads to an unimaginable increase in confidence, success and joy.

suzan thokar June 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

i do appreciate of all this single words,that means a lot to my depressed intention of slimmer body.i am going to try as far as i can make.i am really inspired.thank you so much for the effective solution.

Kelsey June 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I try to get my worst task out of the way early. It makes me much more productive!

Sir Richard Lindo June 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hi Henrik,
How are you?
How is life in Sweden?
I heard it’s one of the best places in the world to live.

Goinghappier June 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

What a great article, those ten tips are true and work…they are a powerful way to improve your happiness…You can go to my website http://www.goinghappier.com and sahre your comments on my articles

Justin June 14, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Thank you for this. The power of positivity compels you!

Nora June 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Just read the article and it was very informative. I have been getting lazy again in not getting things done. I am now a caregiver for my mom and have completely changed my life to move in with her in upstate N.Y.
I have a business and home in Florida. I feel good that I am doing this for her as it is a time to give back. But life is very different. I have been herre since Oct. 2011. I am doing alot of cleaninng here and taking care of her yard plus I do everything for her personally.

I have gained about 12 lbs.- I think it is comfort food for when I am in the living room with her listening to the oxgen machine everyday. I have done alot here since it has been alot of cleaning to do here- but now the last month- I am watching too much tv and playing games on the computer as it gets a little lonely here. I still have some friends in this area but I need to be here alot. So I know the reasons behind my lack of activity. I do mow 1 acre of land by walking it instead of riding it-so I am not completely lazy. But want to stay focus and reading this article today sounded good and hope to put some of those ideas to work on the things I need to get done that is extra. Thankyou for letting me rant.

Be happy!! June 16, 2012 at 1:22 am

I love this article, I am going through a lot of changes in my life and I feel like this article definitely uplifts me….expecially setting low bar for happiness to appreciate small things….never thought about that but so true!!

Kate June 16, 2012 at 5:55 am

I love everything about this blog post but I think my favorite simple way was #2) Review and appreciate your day at the end of it.

This is something I’ve been doing more and I find that my whole life is really affected by this. I’m not taking things for granted, I’ve had an easier time writing for my own inspirational blog, and I’m just happier in general. Thanks for this post :)

Mar June 17, 2012 at 4:21 am

I practice breathing everyday!

Sundari June 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Inspirational blog. Thanks a lot:)

Kelsey @ Self Storage Investing July 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Just starting to work on a task is usually the hardest part. The pomadoro (sp?) method has worked wonders for me.

nandy July 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

Thank you for you beautiful and very inspiring thoughts shared to us.

Ali July 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

to manage to write all these 10 issues in one article is a great. even if we take the chance to do only one like breathing when we are experiencing stress will make our day, imagine doing all the ten. great points, thanks a lot. pranaworld.net

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