By Linda Prejean
It’s true the best things often come in small packages and this idea can also work when it’s time for a change. However, most people resist change while seeking transformation. Lasting change occurs when you take small continuous steps over time, increasing confidence and self-esteem. You can improve your health, relationships, career, or virtually any challenge you face.
An ancient philosophy of taking small steps is found in the Japanese word, Kaizen, meaning Kai (change) and Zen (good). Clinical Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Robert Maurer, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life believes the process works because you build new neuron connections in your brain.
Here is how it can work for you:
1. Just get started by replacing the need for perfection. If you are preparing a speech or presentation, feel the joy of sharing something you are passionate about. It’s no different than telling others about a great movie you saw. Use that same enthusiasm for your product or service.
2. Avoid the fight or flight response with a nonthreatening action. One woman marched in front of the TV set for one minute each day. Soon she was looking for other things she could do for one minute. This grew to a fully fledged aerobic program and a thirty pound weight loss. Continuous change builds momentum.
3. Your brain loves small questions. Bestselling author of War of Art, Steven Pressfeld, doesn’t ask himself to write brilliantly or even reach a deadline. He only asks himself daily to overcome resistance. When you take one step through resistance it falls away like a cloud passing overhead.
4. Compliment yourself with small rewards, which increase motivation. French Psychologist, Emilie Coue, started an entire movement with the simple phrase, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.” Improve your health by taking one less bite of your daily habit of sweet treats. Increase your sense of security by saving 50 cents a day and teaching yourself what it feels like to have more than you need. You will have an overall sense of abundance.
5. Solve small problems by noticing and identifying small annoyances which build up over time. Consider if you really need to change your career or your location or do you need to have a deeper conversation with someone to overcome your fear of intimacy.
6. Take small actions by staying in the present moment. It is easier to love what you’re doing when you are fully available to the person you’re with or the actions you take. Hidden joy and gratitude swell up when you aren’t diluting this moment with distractions, or with past regrets or future concerns. Mother Theresa said, “It is not how much we do but how much love we put into the doing.”
7. Think small thoughts: Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the time it takes to get a Masters Degree, or write a bestseller, take incremental steps instead. Take an online course, or write for five minutes on a time when you overcame fear.
Everything in life is a series of small moments, and you know when change is overdue. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The steps can be tiny, seemingly insignificant but when they advance toward continual change they will transform your life.
Linda Prejean is a Counselor and Life Coach with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with a private practice in Temecula and San Diego. 1-800/491-0830. www.mysecretdreamslifecoaching.com