Frustrating, isn’t it? You decide to lose some weight and work reallyreallyreally hard for six straight weeks. No extra sugar, no white food, and a committed exercise program every day for at least 30 minutes … and the numbers on the scale refuse to budge. ALL that work, to no avail.
Or maybe you want to bring more peace into your life by deciding to set apart a specific length of time during your day to meditate. Just five minutes would even be good. And as soon as you settle in, the phone rings and somebody needs your help NOW. An hour later, you try again, and then remember that you have nothing to wear to work tomorrow and HAVE to get that load of laundry going. Try again, and little voices from the other room have you catapulting from your quiet place at lightning speed.
All these distractions in our busy lives make it so hard to do what we know we need to do. We need money to live, so we have to work. We have to make enough money, so we have to work long hours. And then it’s important that our family knows we love them (and the kids grow up in one blink of the eye), so we make slots in our days for quality family time. It’s IMPORTANT. And we still have to keep up with the stuff that makes our lives run smooth (ha!), like paying the bills, doing the dishes, and mowing the yard. How about our aging parents? Sometimes they need help too. And we want to be with our kids and grandkids, so we make time on our precious weekends. Everything else can wait a few more days, right??
And before you know it, things feel out of control. It doesn’t seem like there’s any way to change your life because you HAVE to do everything you’re doing. But there’s no time for YOU and the busy-ness is literally driving you crazy. Everybody and everything is chipping time away from your day, and by the time you’re ready for YOU, there’s no more time. Even if you get up earlier or stay up later, unexpected stuff keeps coming up, and once again the day is done, and once again there was no time for you.
And then you get stressed. You’re out of balance physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It gets harder and harder to find your center, and before you know it, you’re circling the drain and don’t have the strength to fight any more.
Sound familiar? It’s the American dream, right? All the successful people are making “it” work, so why can’t you? But no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough. And somebody else always needs something. You just can’t seem to make anybody happy.
The good news is — life doesn’t have to be like this. We are here to encourage you to take control of your life and have time for YOU. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness where everything feels important. But the trick is to know that your time for YOU is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in your life. Does this mean you have to let something else go in order to make time for you? Maybe. Can you take two minutes to get away from catching up on your emails? Can you park a little farther from your office and use the extra 30-second walk to intentionally experience the sounds of singing birds, scent of blossoming trees, and awesomeness (yes, that’s a word) of the clouds floating in the sky?
Here’s the secret that is guaranteed to change your life — KAIZEN. Kaizen is making the teeniest, tiniest change to your day. Kaizen is barely noticeable. In fact, unless you tell them, no one will even know you’re doing it. But YOU will, and it will be enough to help you regain your center.
Here is how kaizen works. Picture yourself standing twenty feet in front of a fence post. You are Point A, and the post is Point B. If you walk straight forward, you will run into the post. Now go back to your starting point, and start walking forward again, but this time, CHANGE YOUR DIRECTION THE WIDTH OF YOUR BIG TOE. It’s only an inch or so, right? And you won’t even notice that anything has changed as you start walking. But by the time you get to the fence post, you’ll have totally missed the post, and you will no longer be fenced in. If only twenty feet can make that much difference, imagine your course in the span of one month. A year. Ten years.
Do you want to lose weight? Drink one less glass of pop a day. Do you want to stop smoking? Smoke one less cigarette a day. Do you want more peaceful time in your life? Stop EVERYTHING and give yourself the gift of thirty seconds to just sit and breathe with intention. When you’re ready and able, drop two glasses of pop, or two cigarettes, or give yourself one full minute.
Some days you won’t be able to do this. You’ll just HAVE to have that extra little boost of caffeine or nicotine. Does that mean you’ve failed? Never. There is no such thing as failure. You just start over and start SUCCEEDING again.
So! What do you wish you had more of for yourself? Money? Set aside a quarter every day. What bugs you the most in your life and seems the most important thing to change? How can you apply some Kaizen to that?
Kaizen is your gift to YOU. Yes, your family and career are important, but your peace of mind is MORE important. You can’t be any good for anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Give yourself the gift of Kaizen. It’s fun to watch how just a little bit of something can be so life changing! And give yourself pats on the back a week, a month, and a year from now because YOU DID IT! Look how far you’ve come just by treating yourself to one little bit of Kaizen in your life! Well done!