“A Journey of A Thousand Miles Must Begin With the First Step” –Lao Tzu
Have you been struggling to make certain habits stick…and you keep slipping? I'm not going to lie…I do…I have lots of little things that I'm not great at sticking to. How 'bout you?
Can you own up to those things you know you should do on a regular basis, will improve the quality of your life in many ways, but you just can't seem to make them stick?
It could be anything really — your diet, work, writing, exercising, monitoring your finances.
Come on … really, don't be shy.
We all have so much you want to do but really you just want to be dramatically happier and healthier. So you try to take dramatic steps towards achieving those goals. You think of the big splash you’ll make when you are MORE responsible, healthy and creative. But how well is that working? Are you sticking with those big starts and fits of action?
If not, consider taking a look at your goal at the micro-level.
If losing 5 pounds is what you want, think about all the things that you would have to be actively doing to achieve that goal. I mean everything.
List even the “smallest” things — eat meals slower, drink 8 glasses of water every day, add flax to my smoothies, get heart rate up every single day, eat 5 servings of vegetables, stop working at 6:30pm every night, go to bed by 10pm, stop eating after 6pm, reduce sugar in my diet…
The list could get overwhelming if you look at it all together.
So, this week, I'm going ask (beg) you to join me in practicing a more effective way to reach your goals.
A concept of change called Kaizen, which means small steps for continual improvement. You might even want to pick up the book I'm reading again for the 2nd or 3rd time called: One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way.
Pick ONE SMALL STEP you can take starting today, maybe even right now. Keep it so small you almost think it can’t possibly make a dent in your habit. Now do that every single day for a week.
Here are a few examples of Kaizen in practice:
1. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier so you can get up and write.
2. Switch to Non-Fat Milk
3. Drink 1 less sip of coffee (I know…crazy)
4. Add 1 tbs of flax to your morning Green Smoothie.
5. Spend 2-3 minutes stretching in the evening while watching television or before you log onto your computer.
6. Each night record your expenses for the day.
Here’s mine for this week: Go through 1 area of my house each day and purge the paperwork that I don't need to keep – spending 5-10 minutes on 1 spot each day.
Now it's your turn. What small step can you take starting today? If you're feeling brave, leave a comment below sharing your first step!
I did do one small step the past weekend…deep cleaned my fridge. It was scary but I did it 🙂
My next one is to paint our dining room table.
The bigger picture is to get my house better organized. I’m clearing out and making SPACE for all the good things to come in 2012!
Bonnie Jean says
I plan to do something like this in the new year. Once, after a neck injury I had to rehabilitate myself because I couldn’t afford rehab. I got the exercises from a physical therapist (went once) and did them as follows: Day 1 – 5 head raises (imagine lying flat on the floor and pretending to hold an orange when you lift up your head). Then next day I added one low pelvic lift. I built up to 50 one day at a time. Then I added a higher pelvic lift, and one day at a time till I did 50. So I am doing 5 head raises and 100 pelvic lifts (50 of each) in 101 days. Then I add a sit up where your legs are bent comfortably and you just lift your head off the floor and raise your arms a bit and look just above the tops of your knees for five times. I add one a day of those until I am doing 50… and still the other exercises and so on…By the end of the year I am working out for an hour, have a stronger neck, and amazing abs. My lower back pain was lessened as well. After about 18 months I was doing 150 sit ups of five different types. Along with several other exercises… then I added weights and dance exercises over time. One thing… no more than five reps at a time. With the weights I started with one pound. I am 5’6″ tall and have no trouble staying at or below my high school weight of 115 (after two kids in my thirties). I can eat whatever I want but not always as much as I want, there is discipline involved… but I learned the discipline with the slow changes… I am 54 and have a better body than most girls in their 20’s. And am stronger and more flexible. And I can ballroom dance… after the neck injury which was permanent… I do still have pain but the exercise done slowly has enabled me to do things I never thought I could do… the year after that I was beated and stabbed and left for dead… I had to start almost from scratch after that… but I did it. God is good. “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Omg funny thing…my fridge needs the deep clean – we have Christmas as our deadline!
I say keep your steps very specific projects – the whole house better organized is too vague AND is one of those things that is easy to keep talking about but not taking action.
I want to see some Maui home decor pics – like beach bungalow chic!
Sarah – I love that you dove right into your physical space and started cleaning it out. It’s going to make a big difference.
My plan is to take some time for me….I love reading but I haven’t really done much of it in years. I always take showers because I don’t think I have time for a bath. I never do my nails because I’m too impatient to let them finish drying, and since I started my business last year I’ve been thinking it non-stop. I need to chill a little and take some time to make sure I don’t burn myself out before I’ve even really begun.
I do the same thing…and vow to take at least a little time each week for myself – showers are great – I just use luxurious products and pretend I’m at the spa.
Also – I am so guilty of not spending the 30 minutes it takes to get a manicure every few weeks! Don’t ya feel so good after you do that?
Burnout is really common…and I find that the only way I avoid is to be strict about when I’m working and when I’m not. I try not to be 1/2 working or 1/2 not working. I go off the grid big time.
Thanks so much for leaving a comment Amanda!
Bonnie Wow. I love how you are living proof that Kaizen works. I’ve had many pilates clients over the years who’ve only been able to add 1 or 2 reps each time they worked with me and they also experienced the same repair in their bodies.
So you had to put yourself through this process more than once it seems. I’m astounded at your will and and your commitment to yourself. Slow and steady does win the race.
Side note: you should share your story – even if you created a blog – not sure how anonymous you’d want to be – but it sounds like you have some wisdom for people trying to rush everything.