Kaizen – Sarah Harvey
Small habits to move towards big change.
The emphasis in Kaizen is always on doing things in small stages and treating the idea of change as an ongoing process rather than a quick-fix ‘to-do list’
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With many little strokes a large tree is felled
Read A Good Book
Just six minutes of reading before bed has been shown to reduce stress levels by two-thirds and promote good sleep. Choose a couple of nights of the week where you read before bed rather than look at a screen and see if it makes a difference.
Wake Up Just Five Minutes Earlier
Try setting your alarm just five minutes earlier and see if it makes a change to how rushed you feel getting out of the door. If this works, try extending this further by five-minute increments each week. Just having a bit more time to get your belongings together can have a huge impact.
Focus your attention on improving just one room and see the effect it has on your mental state and how you feel about your home. It may spur you on to want to tackle more rooms in the house. And if you live with others, don’t take all of the burdens on yourself; involve your partner, your children and your friends. A stress-free home will benefit them as much as you.
Learning To Say No: Setting Boundaries
Part of practising self-compassion is not over-stretching yourself by doing things that you don’t want to do. Do you find that you are overwhelmed with trying to see everybody and fit everything in? Try to designate at least one or two nights per week for vegging out, doing your washing and cooking something healthy.
Having more control over your own schedule and setting boundaries can feel wonderfully liberating.
Sticking To Your Hobby: Start Off Small
Remembering the Kaizen approach and introducing a new activity into your routine with the least amount of disruption will mean you are more likely to stick to it. It can help to peg the activity to something you already do.
Sticking To Your Hobby: Commit Spending Time
Rather than trying to fit in your new activity when you have a small break from all of your other commitments, allocate some set time to your new hobby. Fill out the time in your calendar and set a reminder so that you definitely don’t plan anything else in its place.
Sticking To Your Hobby: A Writing Challenge
Rather than sitting at your computer with a blank page in front of you, trying to magically be blessed with inspiration, try to do a small writing challenge each day instead. This can be the springboard for a bigger writing project and will get you in the habit of putting words down on the page. There are lots of podcasts and blogs dedicated to writing challenges.
Kaizen is a lifelong commitment to change, so there may be times when your motivation wavers or when you fall on hard times (unless you’re the luckiest person in the world).
Nobody is perfect, and the idea isn’t to achieve complete perfection. It’s about approaching life as an exciting journey and an opportunity for improvement.
Change For Good
Kaizen is not one-size-fits-all; one person’s experience of it will be entirely different from another’s. The important thing is to listen to your mind and body, then create good habits that work for you and let go of the ones that aren’t doing you any favours.
The emphasis is on continuous improvement, so you should always be thinking about ways you can tweak your routine or simplify your life. Staying mindful of your feelings and behaviours will mean that you will be more aware of when you need to take a step back or if you need a new challenge to get you out of a rut.