Add & Subtract - Developing New Habits

May 14, 2023

Today's theme is Developing New Habits


ADD KAIZEN

The Japanese word Kaizen means ‘change for better’. Originally a business philosophy, the concepts are intended to assist a company in making continuous improvements across every area. The ideas have now been generalised to many other fields, including personal development.

One brilliant idea coming from Kaizen is adding only one small, easily achievable change at a time. No more than one minute of new activity or behaviour.

By keeping it simple and manageable, we set ourselves up to succeed. Our success encourages us to continue, and over time we make real and permanent change.

Suggestion: Even the busiest person can find one minute to: stretch; breathe deeply; read a paragraph; do a few pushups; research an idea; text a friend, etc.

What is one part of your life that you would like to improve?

Author and speaker James Clear on the power of tiny gains:

“So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. (In other words, it won’t impact you very much today.)

But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.

Here’s the punchline:

If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done”

Source: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

 

SUBTRACT OVERLOADING

Anecdotally, most gym memberships are taken up in January, yet most people stop training by February. That plan to do an hour-long workout (plus the added hour driving, showering) three times a week quickly begins to feel like a mountain too big to climb.

Even our strongest New Year’s resolutions cannot sustain dramatic changes made all at once. It takes too much will power to keep it rolling, and we feel badly about ourselves when we fail to meet such high expectations.

The added guilt makes the mountain even more Everest! We have unintentionally set ourselves up to fail.

By lowering the benchmark initially, we are not failing. We are creating stepping stones for success.

 

Coach and writer Steve M. Beauchamp:

“Psychologically speaking, trying to institute massive change all at once is quite difficult for us to process. But, small changes done in a sustainable way are much more easily absorbed”

Source: Always Improving: Lessons From the Samurai

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