How To Make Changes In Your Life
Summary: take the smallest step you can imagine, then tomorrow take the next smallest step further
The art of living well includes the conscious identification of areas in your life that you wish to improve and taking regular steps to improve them, the best approach to this I’ve found is the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement called Kaizen. Kaizen is deceptively simple it calls for you to identify the area of desired improvement and then to identify the smallest step that you can take in the right direction. Regularly, maybe each day, you take the smallest incremental next step.
Lets take a look at three examples:
- Maybe you want to make a difference in the world, for example improve your local environment — in that case a small step might be to pick up one piece of litter each day
- Maybe you want to get fit but can’t face the idea of walking outside, let alone running or swimming, in that case your first step might be to stand up when the adverts come on during TV time
- Maybe you want to manage your stress better, in that case your first step might be to focus on your breathing for 1 minute when you wake up
You can easily imagine how each of these three example might progress from day to day, litter picking might progress to attending a monthly community beach clean, standing during TV time might progress to walking in place during the adverts, the one minute of focused breathing might progress to meditation.
Although whole books have been written about Kaizen, to get started you don’t need much more guidance just identify the area of improvement and take the smallest possible step you can think of in the right direction, and keep identifying subsequent small steps. Don’t try to try to change too many things at once.
In a separate article I will talk about how to combine Kaizen with techniques to build healthy habits.
If you want to know more about the history and philosophy of Kaizen then I suggest reading the Wikipedia article.
If you have a Smartphone then also strongly recommend that you invest in an app to help you track your progress, the one I use is Lift which is very quick, easy and fun, but you can also just track on a wall chart.
The picture today is the view from the car window as I write this post, I’m at Rossall Beach view point waiting for Debbie to come back from the shops after a lovely bunch together.