Small change

Here we are in the first full week of January and I have personally read the phrase “new year, new you” at least a dozen times. Whether you are a fan of making new year’s resolutions or not, I think many would agree, making personal change is no easy task.

As strongly as you may desire to leave grief, loss and uncertainty behind with 2020, the truth is these challenges continue in 2021. If you woke up on January 1, 2021, you awoke to another day of navigating a global pandemic. All this being said, the motivation for making positive changes in our own lives can feel even more daunting.

As tempting as it may seem to make a promise to yourself to drastically change the way you eat, handle stress or generally take care of yourself, my advice is to apply the concept of Kaizen. This is a Japanese term meaning “continuous improvement.”

Kaizen is a business philosophy regarding continuous improvement in all operations. Like me, you may have heard the term applied to other areas of life as well. One of my self-care mentors applies the concept of Kaizen to making personal change. She refers to it as “small, continuous change.”

To apply the concept of Kaizen to changes you may want to make in 2021, break down larger goals into small action steps. What is one thing you can do today (or tomorrow) and continue to do on a regular basis that will help you achieve your goal? If you want to get more sleep, instead of trying to go to bed one whole hour earlier, start with 10-15 minutes. If you want to more plant based foods, start with one meal a day (or week) instead of swearing off meat altogether.

As you accomplish these small goals and experience success, you will be energized to make another small change, and then another. These small changes will eventually lead to you accomplishing your goal. You might even discover a “new” part of yourself.