The strategic, slow, step by step method of Kaizen (small incremental steps towards improvement) is one of the most effective ways to create deep and lasting change… and it can also be the most maddening. When we find ourselves fed up, the desperation for change building in our chests, we want to explode. We promise ourselves… this time, this time it WILL be different and I’ll be able to overcome all odds and change (insert unwanted habit here). We want there to be a drastic shift in our existence (preferably in the next 24 hours please!). Hoping that in our desperate need for change a similarly drastic shift in our daily experiences will happen. This unfortunately isn’t usually the case (think back to your last New Year’s resolution). Though our efforts are heroic, they are not sustainable.
This. This, is where my life lesson begins and continues. It is through years of trial and error, of desperation and (short lived) elation, I have learned the deep value of this simple concept of Kaizen. How creating small actionable steps, underwhelming goals for myself, along with a healthy dose of self-compassion has helped me to create habits of true and lasting change. It has guided my daily habits (eating, exercise, self-care) as well as my yoga practice. Learning to listen to my body when it comes to its need to move and be nourished, honoring my need for quiet and stillness and setting compassionate goals for myself is a lifelong practice. When anxiousness sets in and old patterns take over, I come back again and again to the concept of Kaizen. Assessing honestly where I am (body, mind &spirit) and what steps I can truly commit to in order to move towards a more joyful, connected and grounded life. These small steps are what allow me to return again and again to a place of peace and acceptance. Allowing myself to celebrate with each step forward I take, rather than beating myself up for not reaching a goal that was truly unobtainable in the first place.
Finding balance as we navigate our complex lives may feel elusive at times. Allowing ourselves to honestly assess where we are in the moment and create realistic goals for ourselves (create underwhelming goals, for example: going to bed 5 min earlier, stretching for 2 min every morning (lacing up shoes can count as long as there’s intention behind it!), eating a warm breakfast once a week.) will help to create a positive feedback loop. As we take one step closer towards balance, we step deeper into integrity and not only embrace but honor who we are truly meant to be. This slow and steady progress will create deep and lasting changes and a method to the madness of finding our center over and over again.
Let’s support each other as we navigate the messiness of life. Coming “home” again and again, one step at a time!