The primary method I use in my yoga health coaching course Align and Thrive is called kaizen. Kaizen is a Japanese word that literally means "good change" and refers to the compound effect of small actions taken over time. It's an embodied philosophy of becoming a little better every day.
Small choices + consistency + time = significant results
We've all heard the phrase "baby steps", yet we often discount the impact that 1% gains can have on every aspect of our life. While I'm all about BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goals), I've learned that the most effective and sustainable path to growth comes from incremental change and slow but continuous improvements.
So let's pull this apart to understand how we can make the changes we want to make.
When we want something we often want it yesterday. We're so accustomed to instant gratification that we've become rather impatient.
We also come from a culture that reveres the "go hard or go home" mentality and are often mistaken into thinking that if we can't do something perfectly it's not worth doing at all. But perfectionism is precisely what keeps us stuck. Perfectionism is our ego in disguise. It's the inner brat with crossed arms telling us that we're not good enough so we might as well not even try.
But If we can embrace "good enough" and "slow and steady wins the race", we're able to keep moving forward with a whole lot less resistance.
What daily habit will lead you to your big goal? How can you break down that habit to make it "so easy you can't say no?".
Keep at it
Iyengar's famous quote "practice, practice, practice and all is coming" refers to the yogic concept of abhyasa. Steady repetition of an action over time creates an automated habit. While repetition might feel tedious and dull, "falling in love with boredom" in necessary to attain mastery and achieve our goals.
What system can you put into place to guarantee that you do your baby habit daily? How will you remember to do it? I personally use some form of a daily journal. I've used this one in the past and now I'm using this one.
Change doesn't come easily. The Sanskrit word "tapas" refers to the friction of transformation and literally means "to burn" - a good indication of the discomfort that comes with creating change. Every part of us resists change, even when the current situation is not ideal. So how do we buffer the shock that comes with change? Outsmart the ego! Trick the sucker by sneaking in your tiny habit so that it has time to adapt and adjust to your new way of being.
We all have things we want to change. And most likely you've failed to make the changes you've wanted to make in the past. Chances are you either made changes that were too big, too drastic, you didn't stick with it, or perhaps your desire to change never actually manifested into real action. Try kaizen. Small, incremental changes made consistently over time yield big results.