Habit Changes Small:Rewards Big:Kaizen
We’ve been talking a lot lately about goals and making habit changes. Setting both realistic and Big Hairy Audacious Goals. And then my friend told me to look into Kaizen. And I thought this fit perfectly with our discussions thus far.
What is Kaizen
Kaizen is the Japanese methodology of making small but continuous habit changes. In essence you create new habits by changing or eliminating bad habits slowly over the course of time.
How Doest it Tie In with Goals
This dovetails perfectly into our discussion because we’ve talked about setting the goals and aiming for the stars, but how do you actually do this? Last week we discussed the ability to say no and being willing to say yes to hard things. This week we’ll talk about making bite size changes.
There’s a saying that life is a marathon not a sprint and the same goes for goals and making changes in life. In order for a habit to be truly formed it takes 21 days of consistency. So let’s break down a goal.
What Habit do you Want to Change
Goal: I want to lose 25 pounds over the next year by eating healthier and exercising regularly.
Big Harry Audacious Goal: I want to enter a physique challenge
Kaizen: For the next 21 days I will eliminate soda and instead drink 8-10 cups of water everyday.
By using the Kaizen methodology instead of looking at the big picture and becoming overwhelmed you chose one small thing to focus on and as you master that habit you continue to add on new habits. So as you eliminate soda and as that becomes second nature your next step may be to add a serving of fruit at each meal. Then the next step may be to eliminate processed carbs such as bread.
But the reason to take steps slowly like this is to be able to build on you successes. The more habits you try to change at once the higher the failure rate. So instead of trying to cram a lifetime of change into the first month take your time and enjoy the journey and reap the success along the way.
As many of you know I went raw in the month of January, but before that I had started my journey all the way back in August. I didn’t wake up January first and think I’m going to give up meat and dairy and only eat raw for the month. Had I done that my chances of success would have been significantly reduced. And before I went raw a lot of planning went into prepping for the month.
Back in August I decided to make a change and one of the things I gave up was soda. And I committed to exercising regularly. For me giving up the soda was the harder of the two goals. I love exercising and working out so I was able to add the two goals together because honestly I was only working on truly making one change and that was giving up soda.
As I gave up soda and started drinking more water and I started looking at incorporating other types of food into my life such as eating more fruit. Also in the past I had always felt better when I was dairy free so those were the next two things I started adding to my habit change. But I made sure before I started adding a new habit I had mastered the previous habit. And there isn’t any reason that you can’t add new things together, but your main focus should be mastering one habit at a time.
Then in December I started looking at things in my kitchen. I started stocking up on different nut milks and different nuts I was finding as a stable in many of the recipes I found for going raw. Then I stocked up on my favorite fruits, apples and oranges because I knew that I could add these into my meals without any issues.
Then as January progressed I started venturing out and trying new things. I enjoyed nectarines and kiwi. and tried parsnips which turned out to have an interesting earthy taste that was quite enjoyable.
Of course I wasn’t 100% successful. I am after all only human. But the main point is that on August first I didn’t give up soda, dairy, eating tons of fruit, exercising everyday, drinking tons of water. I had to start with small habits and continue to grow. And every once in awhile I’d have a slip up, but that didn’t mean all was lost. I recognized and acknowledged the slip up for what it was, just that a slip up. And then I continued on with my changes.
Currently my goal is to be able to do an unassisted chin up. So I have a chin up bar and I have I have chin up max that I use to assist me in completing chin ups. And each day I work on increasing the number of assisted chin ups I can do. Then as the number increases I adjust the assistance and the number of chin ups I can do decreases. But then I continue to work on it every day and pretty soon the number with less assistance increases. As I continue with this gradual change my ability to do an unassisted chin up will soon come to fruition.
The same can be true for you. Just sit down and think about what it is you want to accomplish. Write down your goals using the SMART method we talked about previously. Keep in mind your Big Hairy Audacious Goals. And then start breaking down your goals into smart bite size pieces. Let me know in the comments below what your goal is and what the small bite size piece is you’re going to start with.