One of the most interesting things that happens as I coach and work with patients to help them achieve their health goals is that I often notice patterns of behavior between people who are not in any way connected to each other. I have always been fascinated by the fact that there are “trends” that pop up at certain times where a half-dozen people will all have the same physical symptom start or they will have the same lifestyle challenge. This past week has been interesting in that multiple people that I am working with have said that they were feeling amazing while they were following my recommendations 100% but then they had something come up that disrupted their routine and they got off track. Each one of them then confided that they couldn’t figure out how to get back to that 100% commitment level they had before.
Kaizen is the Answer
Although their situation was the same the advice that I gave each one of them was uniquely tailored to each person but it got me thinking about a word that I had heard some years ago. The word is “Kaizen”. It is a Japanese word that has come to mean “continuous and constant improvement.” This concept was originally brought to popular culture through a business philosophy but it can easily be applied to all aspects of life.
Kaizen is simply a dedication to the process of small, incremental positive change. We often think that we need to do big, heroic actions to make a difference but instead, the principle of Kaizen would teach us that small efforts, applied consistently will help us to arrive at our goals as well.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we need to take massive action. But the downside to massive action is that it takes massive energy and effort. Once we’ve done it once, even if we get good results, it is difficult to summon the motivation to take that action again. I think that we may just throw up our own mental roadblocks that keep us from doing what we did the first time.
Maybe there is a better way the second time around. I’m suggesting that once we know that we’ll feel better when we get things in order, we might have better luck keeping them in order if we can determine which small actions create the biggest impact on the results. Then just try to do them 1% or 2% better each day.
Take an Inventory Today
What area of your health have you been putting off working on because you thought it would be too much effort?
Is there some small action that you could take today that will be a step in the right direction?
Could you break the big action into several steps that you could apply a little at a time?