Pick any minor, routine activity that you do every day, for example washing your hands or flipping a light switch. Make this activity a mindfulness trigger: every time you do the activity, try to remember to do it mindfully by paying non-judgmental attention to the experience through your senses.

For example, when you turn on the sink, remember, “Aha! This is my trigger to be mindful.” Then, as you wash, tune your attention into the raw sensory experience of washing: the sensations of coldness, wetness, and contact as the water hits your hands, the sound and sight of the water, and so on. Be more interested in the sensory experience than in evaluating the experience (e.g., “This feels good!” “Ugh, this water is too cold!”) or telling stories about it (e.g., “I’d better wash fast, I’m late for work…”). 

Not only does this exercise sharpen your mindfulness skills and help bring mindfulness to the fore throughout your day, but it turns routine activities into surprisingly rich and enjoyable experiences.

Unless you are the Dalai Lama, you will sometimes forget about your trigger and carry out the activity obliviously. For example, you may wash your hands and not remember until a half-hour later that you were supposed to do so mindfully. That’s okay! This is a practice, and proficiency takes time.

Eventually, remembering this trigger activity will become a habit. Then, when you feel ready, you can add a second activity. Over time, you’ll add more and more mindful moments to your day.