We all want to improve something in our lives. Whether it be about ourselves, our health, our relationships, our career, our business – life is a never ending quest to becoming a little bit better.
There are special dates on which we are especially reminded that we should help ourselves by improving our lives one way or another. For example, the famous New Year’s Resolutions. How many people on New Year’s try to do a Life Makeover by making a list of all the things they will do better in this new calendar year. Gyms know this. In the first few weeks of every year the gyms are more packed than at any other time of year. Each year it’s the same thing. Let’s just point out that this annual ritual is funny. There are 365 days in a year, we could decide at any point to improve ourselves, but no, we need the timing to be significant. The mistake most of us make is in trying to make too many changes at once. It changes our lives too much in one go, requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline and depletes a lot of our willpower. So, after a few weeks, things go back to normal and we say to ourselves “eh… my life is ok as is” as we drink the third drink of the night for the third time in the week, while eating ice-cream from the tub in our sweatpants in front of the TV watching a show we don’t even like.
So what do we do if we want to make lasting changes?
Work on our habits.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
But again, we can’t change too much at once, otherwise we deplete ourselves and go back to the starting point. One of my favorite philosophies for this is Kaizen. Kaizen is the idea of improving something 1% at a time. Many of you will do as I did in the beginning and scoff at the idea of improving something just 1% since it is so small. As many people like to say “Go big or go home”. One percent change is not worth the effort – supposedly. What most people fail to recognize is how one percent again and again and again adds up over time. Take the story of Milo of Croton. Every day he lifted his baby calf and walked around with it. As the calf grew into a cow, he continued. Why? Because his body and mind were able to easily adjust to the small weight change every day so that he didn’t feel it. But as time went on, there he was walking around carrying a cow.
As we reach the end of the year, specifically the last 100 days of the year, take this opportunity to build yourself a strong foundation by making the tiniest of change in one of your habits.