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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

3 Days to Prime a Habit

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 15th 2013

Many of us are so busy (often in our own heads) that we don’t engage in activities we know are healthy are restorative to us because “we don’t have time.” But I believe this belief of not having time is actually a delusion in our consciousness. In other words, because we believe it, it’s actually the way we see it, but it’s not a fact. What would it be like to consider where you have 5 Good Minutes to do the things you want to do?

What is it you want have more of in your life? 

Maybe you’d like to exercise more, play the guitar, meditate, spend time with your partner, shop online, read a book, listen to music, or just relax. 

But of course, the thought comes up, “I don’t have time for any of this, life is just so busy.” 

What if it was acceptable to just do any of this for 5 minutes? Or how about even 1 good minute? 

All of these things could be done in that time and eventually it really adds up. 

Here’s an experiment to play with to prime a habit:

First, choose one thing that you’ve really wanted to do more of in your life, you can use the thoughts above to inspire you. 

Day 1: Look for places in your day where you might have 1 to 5 minutes to engage in this. Don’t do it yet, just look for the spaces. 

Day 2: Set the intention to insert whatever your practice is in these spaces. It’s likely at this point that you’re brain will help you identify them automatically since you primed it the day before. 

Day 3: Notice how you start naturally falling into practice a bit more than before. 

If the practiced wanes, which may happen, repeat the process again. 

Try this out as an experiment and see what you learn. 

A habit may not be born from just 3 days, but this is a strategic way, or a “baby-step” way to prime the brain for success.  

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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