Health & Fitness

By Leslie Rice Hart

Every year we make New Year Resolutions and we set ourselves up for failure. Why make the same resolutions every year when we know we are going to break them. This year try something new, make small realistic goals that you will be able to reach and build upon to achieve success.

My wonderful Aunt Janey gave me a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life-The Kaizen Way, by Dr. Robert Maurer. Kaizen is the Japanese technique of achieving great and lasting success through small, steady steps. The Kaizen philosophy really cuts out the overwhelming feeling we get when we take on such an enormous project or goal. Dr. Maurer explains that when we make big changes the mechanism in our brain triggers the fear modes, making us shut down and therefore fail. When we make small changes, we bypass the fear and succeed at our goal.

Start with, “I am going to walk around the block,” you then increase it each week by a little bit. I am going to eat one less potato chip everyday. I am going to volunteer once a week. I am going to give myself quiet time everyday for 5 minutes. Make sure you track the progression of your goals. A way to do this is to write your achievements down, recording your success. It is also helpful to write down problems or to do lists that might be cluttering your mind, getting in the way of achieving your ultimate goal(s).

A good way to both record your progress and clear your mind is to keep a journal. Writing is very cathartic. Writing will help you see things clearer. I tend to write it all down to get it out; it frees my mind and helps me see solutions. Julia Cameron, author of the very popular book The Artist’s Way, introduced me to morning pages. When you wake up, the first thing you do is write three pages without stopping. Write anything that comes into your mind from the grocery list to a dream you had, to what you are going to eat for breakfast, to how you feel about your boss. Don’t think to much, just write, write, write. It clears your mind and prepares you for the day, the day to attain a goal you’ve set for yourself.

I am telling you all this because reaching your ultimate goals is not about how fast you do it. It is a lifestyle change. If you try to change things too much, too fast you’ll end up failing, feeling guilty and hopeless.

Gain peace of mind for life, not for the moment, but start with a moment and you’ll get it for life.

Originally published January 2006
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