Sometimes in life, you take a look at how you are looking after your health, and you realize one major thing. You are not looking after your health at all.
The great news is that taking care of your health doesn’t mean that you have to become a monk and start living off lentils for the rest of your life.
In this post, I am going to give you some brilliant tips that can transform your life for the better.
And the best thing?
You’ll be able to make these changes in your life really quickly, and immediately! The changes are very minor adjustments that you can cope with, rather than impossible steps that nobody wants to do.
Ready? Let’s get started then…
This One Japanese Word Will Change Your Life
The word is Kaizen.
Kaizen in English means continuous improvement.
Kaizen can be used in so many areas of your life, but for this post, I’ll be covering the field of health improvement.
The ‘continuous improvement’ philosophy means making minimal changes to improve something which is more significant, but you make those small changes very regularly. The idea is that you make tiny adjustments to something (daily or weekly,) and eventually all those small steps that you have taken add up to a much more dramatic change.
How To Dramatically Change Your Life Step-By-Step
Here’s an example not related to health, it’s just to give you the basic idea first.
Suppose a room in your house needs painting, but you hate DIY.
Here’s how you could approach this problem using Kaizen:
- Day 1, you decide that you’ll paint the room (that is your only task on this day! – I told you Kaizen makes things really easy!)
- Day 2, you decide that you’ll give some thought about the color of paint that you’ll buy. Just give it some thought when you have some time that day. No issue if you don’t decide on the exact color, just give it some thought.
- Day 3, you think about what painting tools you’ll need when you paint the room. Perhaps write those items in a list.
- Day 4, today you could buy the items on your list from Day 3. You haven’t decided on the color yet, so just buy the brushes and the other things on your list.
- Day 5, try to decide on the paint color today if you can.
- Day 6, if you have a paint color in mind, then feel free to go an buy the paint.
- Day 7, now you have the paint and the tools, so have a look inside the room that needs painting and give yourself 5 minutes to think about how you’ll paint it.
- Day 8, on this day, you can take the paint and the tools into the room that needs painting.
- Day 9, you could start painting the room today, but perhaps just paint one wall. Paint more of you feel like it.
- Day 10, if you only painted one wall yesterday, then paint the remaining walls today.
See how easy Kaizen makes any task?
The basic idea is to start with an end-goal in mind, and then break it down into tiny, and very easily manageable chunks. Each task is so small that even large projects can be tackled.
My example of painting a room is perhaps impractical, as not many people would want to take ten days to decorate a room.
But for improving your health, Kaizen is perfect because your primary goal is to become healthier, and you understand that this will take some time.
How To Manage Your Health To Feel Healthier And Live Longer
Generally speaking, we all know what areas of our lives are not doing us any favors regarding our health.
Unhealthy habits are obvious such as smoking or drinking excessive alcohol.
But here’s a list that may help you decide which areas of your life may need to work on to improve your health:
- Your General Level of Fitness
- Your Weight
- Drinking Alcohol In Excessive Amounts
- Your General Level of Happiness
- Satisfaction With Your Occupation
- Satisfaction In Your Relationship
- Excessive Anxiety
- Excessive Stress
- Specific Phobias That Hold You Back In Life
- Satisfaction With What You Have Achieved In Your Life
- Dissatisfaction With Mistakes That You Have Made, Or Are Making In Your Life
- Dissatisfaction With Your Financial Status
- Unhappy With Your Level Of Education
The list above contains the main areas in people’s lives that affect their health and happiness.
If you don’t relate to any of the items in the list, then I guess that you won’t have read this far as you are super-human.
But for the rest of us…
The Super-Simple Formula To Manage Your Health & Happiness
This formula will use the Kaizen principles discussed earlier.
Use this formula to change anything in your life that makes you less healthy, or less happy (or both.)
- Make The Decision. In other words (just like in the painting example,) decide that you are going to tackle the issue.
- Break Down The End-Goal Into Multiple, Very Small Steps. The number of steps is entirely up to you. If the end-goal is to quit smoking, then you may need as many as one hundred tiny steps to stop finally. But if your goal is to leave your job and get another job, then perhaps you’ll only need ten to fifteen small steps. It all depends upon the complexity of the problem.
- Follow Your Steps! After you have created the steps in stage 2, it would be rather pointless not to follow them. You have to make the steps as easy, and as small as possible so that no individual step feels difficult. By the time you reach the final step, you have already taken all the preparation steps to reach that stage.
- Be Proud Of Your Success. If you have followed the three steps above, then you will have achieved success in your goal. Succeeding at something shouldn’t be treated as something trivial. So if you have just succeeded at making a significant change in your life, then celebrate it in some way. You have earned it!
Success with this formula relies entirely on Step 2 being done correctly. It is vital to make the steps so small that each one is almost insignificant. Refer back to the painting example and look at the first few steps in that process. Each step is moving towards reaching the end-goal, but each step is so small that it hardly feels like you are doing anything (but you are!)
How To Make Losing Weight A Piece of Cake (bad joke, but possible)
So let’s look at a real-life example using the formula: Let’s try… Losing weight.
If you need to lose some weight, then you know how hard it can be.
You have lots of yummy favorite meals and snacks that you love, and losing those goodies would almost be a crime.
Can you remember Step 1 from the formula?
Step 1: Make The Decision
So ‘making the decision’ to lose weight is your first step. And can you see how easy that step is? You merely have to ‘decide’ that you’ll lose ‘some’ weight. You are not even setting a figure of how much weight to lose; you are just deciding that you’ll lose ‘some’ weight.
So decide to lose ‘some’ weight, and perhaps think about that decision for one week before doing anything else.
It doesn’t get any easier than this does it!
Step 2: Break Down The End-Goal Into Multiple, Very Small Steps
You can choose the steps yourself, but here’s how I would do it for losing ‘some’ weight:
Each of The Following Steps Would Last 1 Week (7 days)
Week 1: Use this first week to merely decide to lose some weight. Give it some thought every day while you are eating something.
Week 2: Write down one thing that would help you lose some weight. I might write down, use the stairs at work rather than taking the lift. Or perhaps do 5 minutes of exercise 4 times per week. Remember that I am not doing these things yet, I am merely writing them down as ideas.
From Week 3 Onwards: If I usually eat two chocolate bars per day, then I’ll eat just one chocolate bar per day. In other words, I’ll halve whatever number of chocolate bars that I was eating before.
From Week 4 Onwards: I will park my car at the far-side of the supermarket car park rather than right outside the entrance. That extra walking should burn a few calories.
By this point, one month has passed, and we’ve hardly done anything! But that’s the whole point!
Something unusual is happening in the subconscious part of your mind that you are unaware of. Your subconscious mind understands your changing thought patterns, and it is understanding that you are trying to lose weight. Without you realizing it, your subconscious mind is going to start to help you to reach your goal!
By gently introducing a problematic change in your life in very small, but persistent intervals, your subconscious mind begins to grasp the idea of your end-goal, and it helps you reach it. It also enables you to create even more small steps to make progress with your plan.
From Week 5 Onwards: I will no longer go food shopping with my credit card. I’ll take cash only, and that way I can just spend the amount of money that I have. This step will save money as well as reducing the amount of food that I buy. I will take less cash than I usually spend when using my credit card.
From Week 6 Onwards: I will have a 30-minute walk three times per week.
Week 7: During Week 2, I wrote down two ideas that I could use to try to lose some weight. One idea was to do 5 minutes of exercise 4 times per week. I’ll start doing that from next week.
From Week 8 Onwards: I’ll be doing the 5 minutes of exercise 4 times per week that I mentioned last week.
Where Have We Got With All This So Far?
We are at Week 8, and we have made all these changes in those 2 months…
- You are eating half the chocolate that you used to eat in the past. You have been doing that for the last 6 weeks.
- For the last 5 weeks, you have been parking your car at the far-side of the supermarket car park to encourage more walking.
- For the last 4 weeks, you have been using cash at the supermarket for food shopping rather than using your credit card. This has already saved you some money and has also helped you lose some weight. You can use some of that extra money to buy yourself a treat soon! – But not food :)
- For the last 3 weeks, you have had a 30-minute walk three times per week.
- For the last week, you have been doing 5 minutes of exercise 4 times per week.
At this point, I would simply continue the new routine set by the steps above, and stay with them without adding any further steps. The result will be that you end up losing ‘some’ weight, and that is the only goal that was set!
The Kaizen Method Is Rather Like Lego Bricks
One Lego brick is pretty insignificant, isn’t it?
But isn’t it utterly amazing what structures you can build when you have lots of Lego bricks!
Self-Improvement using the Kaizen method is precisely like Lego in my opinion. You take lots of tiny parts and then end up with something very successful.
I wish you success in all your ambitions, and remember to convince yourself of this one thing: I Can Manage My Health To Feel Healthier And Live Longer, And All I Need To Do Is Take Small Steps.