Throughout my childhood I wished that I had an identical twin. Oh the shenanigans we would have gotten up to!
Sometimes I think that my wish came through in a sneaky be-careful-what-you-ask-for way.
Because often it feels like I am two equally badass, determined people crammed into one body. Just… pulling in opposite directions.
I get excited and overcommit to all sorts of habits and challenges and change. And then, the equally powerful but more zen part of me resists and questions my motives for all this self improvement.
“What void exactly are we trying to fill?” my doppelgänger seems to ask.
Process journaling has really helped me recognize these patterns and gently shift them. It’s a… process. Ha.
Novelty vs Consistency
I’ve already written a whole other article about how, as a creative at heart, I struggle to balance my lust for newness with my desire to finish shit and build something meaningful, so I won’t belabor that point here.
And I’ve written another article on how to journal when you don’t feel like it (truthfully, sometimes you shouldn’t).
But there are those occasions when you just need a little nudge because you know you’re going to feel better once you start – even if you don’t write a whole lot.
This post is for those times.
This post is also for when you don’t have a lot of time and kinda want to journal but aren’t giving yourself permission to start because you anticipate the burn of stopping before you’re done. Yeah, I see you.
It’s for when your thoughts could use some detangling but you can’t figure out where to start (don’t worry, I have some specific prompts that really help). For when the effort seems to be bigger than you have headspace for.
It’s so simple, you’re going to laugh.
But not so simple that it won’t work.
Introducing the 1 minute rule
Like many of the resistance tamers on this site, this technique isn’t just for journaling and can be applied to any activity where there’s a sort of membrane of opposition at the starting line that often psyches you out.
Things like working out, chopping veg, cleaning the cat litter, tidying up, etc.
Here’s how it works.
1 minute rule: Set a timer, do it for a minute and consider it done.
Yeah, you laughing yet?
It seems to stupid that it couldn’t possibly work, right? That’s the brilliance of it. The 1 minute rule jams your resistance’s radar.
It’s small enough that even your reluctant inner child deems it doable. But set a timer and see – a minute is still enough to write several sentences.
The most important part is that you have to genuinely be okay with stopping after the minute is done – even if it feels like the exercise was pointless.
The goal here isn’t to journal.
It’s to pierce through the membrane of your resistance.
Yes, often once you’ve written for that first minute, you’ll find you have more to say.
But even if you stop when your timer is done every single time, if you bring curiosity and relaxed awareness to the process, you will learn a great deal about yourself and your patterns around the push-pull you feel with the things you want to do.
This is gold.
This is you learning yourself.
This is you being a true friend to yourself – holding yourself accountable and gently exerting positive pressure without creating shame, overwhelm or drama.
There might be days when even the 1 minute rule feels like too much – if you’re dealing with chronic health issues or grief, depression or other neuro-atypicality, read my post about Spoon Theory, and give yourself a break. Habits are morally neutral and you’re worthy of the care you require in whatever moment you’re in.
That said, you’ll probably have many days when all you needed was a tool to help you pop through that film of negativity so you can build momentum with the things you want to take on in your life.
The 1 minute rule is a tool (no, you’re a tool) for that.
If you feel stuck when you start your timer, here are some simple prompts to use:
Right now I feel…
Right now I notice…
Right now I accept…
Some of my most productive and epiphanic journaling has happened on days when I absolutely didn’t feel like it and used the 1 minute rule. It excites me that I’m learning to be a better friend to myself and understand my resistance more.
If you use the 1 minute rule, I’d LOVE for you to share how it goes for you. Find me on social (I’m on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter) or send me an email geeta at geetanadkarni.com. I read every single one personally.