The Secret to Making Change in Just Minutes

A funny thing happened to me on the way to writing this blog. I found myself getting a late start in my day and rushing to my local writing spot in order to get going on my work for the day. My writing spot is walking distance so I was on foot.  As I hit a light at a crosswalk I found myself texting a friend of mine who is also an exercise buddy. He was telling me about the challenge of doing exercise this morning which reminded me that I skipped over this morning and my mind started planning for a time later in the day to get it in.

Part of my exercise routine is doing just 20 pushups. In that moment I realized I was waiting at a crosswalk and thought why couldn’t I just do 20 pushups right then and there. All kinds of reasons came up in my mind, “oh, I’ll just get to it later, the sidewalk is dirty, and even maybe I’ll just skip the pushups today.” 

My mind was in auto-pilot, and as I began to realize that I was reminded that this was an “in-between moment.” A moment in the day where there was a space to make a choice. I chose to do it, got down on the ground and worked out 20 pushups. Wow, it was done (and yes I washed my hands once I arrived at my destination).

In-between moments abound throughout our days. Think of any time that you’re waiting for something, which happens a lot for most of us. We wait for the bathroom, at red lights, at crosswalks, in lines at the post office, the movie theatre, the grocery store, etc… We wait on hold on the phone or during commercials while watching television.  

Waiting doesn’t need to be a source of frustration, it can be seen as an in-between moment to flexibly engage in things you’re interested in doing.

As an example, some parts of exercise don’t require going to a gym or carving out large pockets of time, but can be done in a few minutes. Practicing being present is the same, we can carve out a few minutes or even 30 seconds to practice being here by coming to our breath, or nonjudgmentally investigating the feeling that’s here. Perhaps the feeling is impatience and learning how to be mindful of it, frees us from its control.

Take 30 seconds in this in-between moment and reflect on where your in-between moments are throughout the day. Could you choose to engage in small things to help with stress reduction, exercise, or anything else that is something you’re interested in? There are often many of these moments throughout the workday.

If you need help thinking of those things you may be interested in Jeff Brantley’s book Five Good Minutesor Allan Lokos’ Pocket Peace to give good examples.

Set the intention to do engage with these in-between moments today.

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

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

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