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How to change your life? Give this a try
February 22, 2012
Tips, news, and resources on sounder sleep, natural health, and financial success.
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Today's Quote“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” Mark Twain
How to change your lifeWhen it gets right down to the bottom line, my Sleep Passport website is not about sleep or health. Rather, it's about how to change our lives and improve our lives mentally, physically, and financially.
So why is it most of us find it so difficult to make a lasting change for life and the habits we cling to?
I've thought about this for years. And I've often had the inkling that it's because we try to do too much. We have too much stuff on our to do lists. We set ourselves up for failure.
Here's an example. I noticed for myself on the days I skipped my exercise workouts that it was because I would say, “I just don't feel like riding that exercise bike for 60 minutes today.” So I wouldn't and always felt a twinge of guilt.
To overcome this, on the days I was lazy I started to say to myself, “I'll just do 15 minutes and quit.”
Invariably what would happen is I would almost always ride the whole 60 minutes once I got started.
The gentle technique of kaizenSo I was fascinated when I bought a book last week called One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way.
There is a psychology behind change that people around the world are using to stick with exercise programs...to quit bad habits...to overcome fears...to improve whatever areas of their lives they wish to change.
It's called kaizen. You'll have to get the book to fully understand it but here's the gist: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.” (Lao Tzu)
Instead of making big sweeping changes in our lives...
Think small thoughts. Take small actions. Get big results...Our brains play a cruel trick on us when we set big goals. The brain produces fear which shuts us down.
Using kaizen to think and act in small steps, we overcome the natural instincts of our brains to create fear.
Here are two examples from the book:
1) If your office or a room at home is a cluttered mess, instead of thinking that you'll have to spend hours cleaning it up, do one small thing. Pick up one paper clip and put it in a drawer. That's it.
2) A discouraged patient needed to lose a lot of weight. But rather than tell her to do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, the author of One Small Step—a faculty member of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine—told her to march in front of her television for one minute a day.
This worked, the lady's attitude changed, and she started to exercise regularly.
When it comes to how to change your life, this sounds simplistic, and you may be inclined to scoff. But this way to change for life is scientifically based on the way our brains operate.
The philosophy is to make small improvements every day, which will over time lead to big gains in your life.
Here's another perfect example from the great author John Steinbeck:
"When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's work is all that I can permit myself to contemplate."
One Small Step also mentions the technique of Mind Sculpture. I had never heard of this. It's a powerful way to use your imagination to train yourself to accomplish difficult tasks.
There's so much more to this little book than I've mentioned here. If you're a coach, a consultant, a teacher, or someone who finds it difficult to make changes, you may find this book useful.
Try to get it from your local library.
It's also available at Amazon, including the Kindle version. Click here for
One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way
Life is a journey. Keep exploring.
We'll chat soon.
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