Life is full of little choices.
For example, every day is full of situations where you can choose to not act busy; opportunities to be mindful of your breathing body and the present moment.
- You are walking to your car or a public means of transport: Do you pursue redundant trains of thought? You can instead choose to be mindful of your gait.
- You are waiting in a grocery checkout line, at a bus stop, at the doctor’s office, for an event to start, for the coffee water to boil, or for your computer to boot: Do you distract yourself? You can instead choose to be mindful of the sounds around.
- You are hungry and there are no healthy food options available: Do you eat anyway? You can instead choose to be mindful of what is happening in your body (or merely in your head?).
- You are having a conversation with an interesting person: Do you worry about what to say next? You can instead choose to be mindful of what the other person has to say.
- There is uncomfortable silence: Do you break the silence? You can instead choose to be mindful of what it has to teach.
You can make it a habit to use all your little times-in-between to be mindful.
You can decide to not fill them up with distractions like putting in earphones to listen to music or podcasts, checking your phone to scroll through social media feeds, or entertaining pointless junk thoughts.
Your breath is always with you—why not listen to its wisdom? I know your phone is probably always with you, too, but is it as wise?
This little decision-making practice of choosing mindfulness, choosing pure being whenever you think about it, even if just for ten seconds, may be the most powerful habit you can build to radically improve your life, particularly your attentional, emotional, and volitional self-control.
By the way, your regular decision to be mindful will be more effective than any meditation app, because it trains your metacognitive skills rather than outsourcing them.