Want to Be Happier? It’s as Easy as 2, 5, 11, 15, 20, 43. by Dr. Meg Selig

Mastering the lessons of 6 lucky numbers can benefit your mind and body.

By Meg Selig.

Is it getting harder to fit all your health goals, work tasks, and personal pleasures into one day? When life feels overwhelming, just rely on your lucky numbers! No, I’m not inviting you to play in a “numbers racket.” The following numbers are “lucky” because they help you accomplish a worthwhile goal in minutes. These numbers are based on research findings and expert advice, not chance or a “wheel of fortune.” They work! Here they are:

Lucky Number: 2

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, suggests that if a task you need to complete will take two minutes or less, just do it now! This “Two-Minute Rule” will keep small, onerous tasks from clogging your to-do list.

Lucky Number: 5

When you’re frustrated with a difficult project at work or home, use the “Five-Minute Rule.” To stop procrastinating and get yourself going, tell yourself: “I will just work for five minutes on this project. Then, if I want, I can stop.” To use this rule to cultivate persistence, tell yourself, “I’ll just keep at this project for five minutes more. Then, if I want, I’ll stop.” You may decide to keep going, but even if you don’t, you’ll be five minutes closer to done. This wonderful idea comes from MJ Ryan, author of This Year I Will.

Lucky Number: 11

If you dislike exercise but still want to live longer, what is the least amount of brisk walking or moderate exercise you can do each day and still get a longevity benefit? The answer, based on extensive research by epidemiologist I-Min Lee of Harvard Medical School, is 11 minutes. People who exercised for 11 minutes per day added 1.8 years to their life, compared with non-exercisers. It’s good to know you can reap the benefits of exercise with just a little effort. (How many daily minutes of exercise give you the greatest longevity benefit? See below.)

Meg Selig is the author of Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success (Routledge, 2009), on sale here and here. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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