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Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

Kai… what? Small change for big results

 

I’ve recently been taking a course about Ayurveda, which is a sister-science to Yoga. Check it out here: Align and Thrive. I thought it was going to be about food and health, and it is, but what I discovered was something far more valuable: Kaizen: a Japanese term for slow, continuous improvement. It’s frequently used in business terms in Japan, meaning making small tweaks continually over time to improve.

 

Often we try to make big changes all at once, and there is no end of programs and people promising overnight success. While spontaneous exponential change is possible, more often than not lasting change happens in small, incremental steps over time. 

 

If someone had told you 25 years ago to put $1.00 in the bank every single day, today, you would have $9,125.00 plus all the interest. For basically doing very, very little. So easy it’s hard not to.

 

The reason people fail at their goals is they often give up. By the end of February most New Year’s resolutions are tossed out with the Christmas wrapping. This is a whole new way to look at goals: adding small, continuous changes. The best thing about it is that you won’t be beating yourself up for not sticking to your goals, and you will feel successful on the very first day.

 

  • Can’t drink that 64oz of water every day? Try one big glass of lemon water every morning like clockwork.
  • Sleep deprived and want to go to bed earlier and get up earlier? Try 10 minutes earlier tonight.
  • Not up for meditating like everyone says you should? Try a one minute breathing practice every morning. 
  • Exercise not happening? Walk once around the block on your lunch hour every work day or do 10 minutes of yoga every morning
  • Want to give up sugar? Cut out that afternoon sweet snack every day.
  • Trying to slow down and eat leisurely? Take one deep breath and look at your food before you begin.

 

I have found some key elements to make this happen:

You have to start from where you are now and reverse-engineer it. For example, if you want to get up earlier to have more time and less stress and right now you get up at 7am, make it 6:50am. 

It has to be easy enough to do over time. Really, what’s the excuse for not doing a one-minute meditation if that is a goal, or drinking one big glass of water?

Evaluate if this is something you really want to do… does it make you feel good to do? Sometimes we take on goals we think we should. For example I thought I should give up coffee at one point, but I found I truly enjoy a good cup mid-morning and for the time being, that’s my treat!

 

The beauty is that once you get going, it’s hard to stop. Make it so easy you can’t NOT do it. Imagine how you want to feel 10 years from now after doing these small things continuously.

 

Think of ONE thing you would like to change/add or take away. I’d love to know what Kaizen practice you can begin today. Let me know in the comments below or visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/peacebeginshere/

 

Have a great week,

Madeleine

 

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