About this time of year with only a few days before you replace your 2014 calendar with one for 2015, you may be among the many who are contemplating “What will my New Year’s resolution be?” Out of the estimated 40% of people who set a resolution, only about 8% will actually keep it going long-term. Consider a new approach to reaching your goal.
Kaizen is the Japanese word, which means kai- “change” and zen-“good.” Although many Japanese corporations have been using this beautiful concept that small changes lead to continual improvement for financial success for years, more and more individuals are making it a gentle lifestyle to help them achieve their own personal desires as well.
Consider these 5 key ideas to help you make a good change today:
1. Be Specific– One of the biggest reasons why people don’t reach their New Year’s resolutions is that they choose very broad goals like “I will lose weight” or “I will be more organized”. There is an “all or nothing” attitude that keeps you from long-term success without clear direction. When you take a mindful moment, you can clearly see there are many small possible goals in between. For example, if you decide to lose weight, be specific. How much will you lose? 5 pounds? 10 pounds? What are the kaizen steps to do that? Will you eat one more bite of broccoli at each meal? Or will you begin by walking 30 seconds on the treadmill? If you choose to be more organized? How will you do that? Will you focus on your purse, your electric bill, or your car? By being specific, your goal is clear.
2. Small goals will make it impossible not to achieve– Breaking down your goals to the smallest possible measure will build your self-confidence. And I mean small! If the goal is too much, make it smaller until it is doable.
One of my clients had a goal of losing weight by not eating potatoes and bread. It has been a lifetime of roller coaster dieting for her, but once I suggested approaching it from the opposite side of the spectrum, it opened a new perspective. Instead of forcing self-will to avoid these foods completely, only to break down and eat them a few days later, she was able to set small goals and build herself up. Instead of her usual pattern of eating a whole order of French fries, she committed to leaving one on her plate. Does that sound crazy? It might, but with that one piece, came success.
With each successful step, no matter how tiny, she was eager to challenge herself further because she felt good about herself instead of staying in self depriving energy. She then left more until she didn’t want them at all.
3. Focus on one change at a time- It’s overwhelming to focus on many small goals at once, no matter how small they are so choose one and stick with that until you have success. Then add another while keeping the first and so on. For example, if you want to be organized, be mindful of one thing that is disorganized and choose to keep that in its place each day until it becomes routine. Perhaps the pens on your desk need to make it into a holder, or keeping your checkbook balanced after every transaction. Then move on to another small goal while keeping up with the pens or your checkbook, and then add another. You may find the enthusiasm to do more, but try to stay focused on one at a time so this new habit sticks for good.
4. Living in GRATITUDE for small change will assure positive energy – When you show yourself you CAN achieve small goals, you will feel great about it! No matter how small, it will keep you in positive energy and feed your progress.
5. January 1st is only a date – The pressure of keeping a New Year’s resolution starts long before the first of the year. How many times have you seen yourself or others continue their vice with vigor to “get it out of their system” before January 1st because that’s D- day? This kind of stress and anxiety is working against you from the get-go, so let’s get rid of that concept altogether.
When you have decided to make a small change, you can make that small change today. You don’t have to wait. After all, this is a lifelong change and that goal of the smallest measure isn’t so daunting any more.
Trust that you are more than capable of small steps that will lead to big change. You will continue to have positive thoughts and feelings about yourself and these new changes will become part of your daily routine. Keep a journal of your change and look back at all your incredible achievement! Before you know it, all your small positive changes will turn into bigger results and more importantly, a positive attitude that will keep you connected to your self-love and inner calm. So don’t fall prey to New Year’s resolutions and be open to New Day’s Good Changes.
Thought for the Day: Today, I set myself up for success by setting incredibly small goals that I will achieve. I will stay in the moment and celebrate my successes.
Almost 30 years ago, Jo came out to study Psychology at UCLA and fell in love with the excitement of all that Westwood and Los Angeles had to offer: its arts, spiritual communities, shops, restaurants and most of all, its colorful array of amazing people. She has never left. Today, as a mother of two beautiful children, she was inspired to bring calm and thoughtfulness to their busy lives through meditation and visualization. This journey turned into a lifelong calling. Through her private practice, a thoughtful way, as a Hypnotherapist, Therapeutic Guided Imagery Facilitator, educator and speaker, she helps many adults, teens and children maneuver their journeys with peaceful, life changing self-explorations. In addition, as a hypnotherapist at weSPARK, an amazing cancer support center in Sherman Oaks, she gives her nurturing guidance to those touched by cancer. In an attempt to do her part for Tikkun Olam, making the world a better place, Jo’s heart is always open to give her time and expertise helping others to connect with their inner calm, their strength and their beauty.