Recently I’ve had a lot on my plate. Between going to several work locations as a travel physician, building my online wellness platform; working on marketing and publicity; preparing for the release of my upcoming book, plus training for a fall marathon, it’s little wonder I’m beginning to experience some overwhelm.
In an earlier article I wrote about a strategy to get past overwhelm and get back into action.
But when we try to get back into action, we tend to set big goals and we get overwhelmed again.
Let’s say your goal at the beginning of the year was to be a svelte size 6 by the start of the summer season. But somewhere around February, you stopped exercising, stopped watching your diet. Now you are 10 lbs heavier than you were at the beginning of the year!
You’re wondering if it’s worth even trying to lose all that weight. Perhaps you’re feeling so defeated that you’ve decided you’ll wait until 2018 to set another new year resolution.
In my upcoming book, I write about ‘the stages of change’. Too often we go straight into action without too much preparation. And when we do get into action we tend to go all out. You know the slogan ‘Go BIG or go home!’ Then we find we’re having a hard time keeping up the momentum. Next we become overwhelmed!
What if there was a way to tiptoe past overwhelm so that we stay in action and on the road to producing the results we desire?
Well, there is a way, I’ve learned about. It is called the Kaizen method. It teaches how to take simple small steps. When starting out with the kaizen method, the steps are so ridiculously small, that it may seem impossible they could create longlasting change. That’s the beauty of the kaizen method. The steps seem so small initially that we may not even feel we are making any change. The key is to success in the kaizen method is to consistently build on these small steps.
You see when we set BIG goals, we trigger an alarm in an area of our brain called the amygdala.
The amygdala is part of our primitive brain and was developed in pre-historic times to protect us from harm. So if the primitive man ventured into unfamiliar surroundings, it was the amygdala that fired off alarm signals warning him to retreat back to familiar surroundings.
The amygdala fires off the same way when we venture into the unfamiliar territory of making changes. Even when we know those changes could make us healthier and happier.
No wonder we never quite seem able to sustain a weight loss goal, exercise regimen, better diabetes numbers etc. because to our brains these all represent change. And our amygdala thinks change could be bad.
By learning to take simple small steps, consistently, we can make the needed change and not alarm our amygdala!
So what could this look like?
Let’s go back to the weight loss goal example and see how we can apply the kaizen method.
Rather than focus on the short-term goal of weight loss, focus on the long-term benefits losing weight will give you.
If you are living with type 2 diabetes or borderline diabetes, perhaps you may focus on the fact that in the long-term, losing weight has been proven to help with better blood sugar control and in the case of borderline diabetes can possibly reverse it.
Think of something really small that you can start with. This is the time to get really creative. Then commit to taking a simple small step.
For instance if you want to start a walking program, don’t rush to the fitness store and spend hundreds of dollars getting geared up in the ‘latest and the greatest gadgetry’. Rather, start with something as small as walking in place at home or at work for 1 minute a day. Or maybe you want to cut down on your food intake. Rather than look for ways to immediately cut out 500 calories per day, as most nutritionists may recommend, start with simply leaving a spoonful of food on your plate.
As these simple actions become easy, add on to with more small steps. For instance walk in place for 2 minutes a day. Leave two spoonfuls on your plate.
Be consistent. Make it a habit. Celebrate your wins.
Using the kaizen method can create a snowball effect. You will notice yourself wanting to take on more as your newfound habit becomes fun.
Can you think of other aspects of your life that could benefit from using the kaizen method?
Too often we tend to focus on what needs to be fixed. This is a very narrow way of looking at our lives. Every aspect of our lives are interconnected. You spiritual health affects your emotional health as well as your physical health. How you eat, sense and feel, relate to others as well as your perception of the world affects your whole person, and ultimately your health.
Whether you are living with a chronic illness or just looking to be healthier, it is always best to take a whole person approach to wellness. The kaizen method is just one way that allows us to focus on the small things that ultimately affect the whole.
In my upcoming coaching programs, I’ll be sharing several strategies that help to focus on the whole person when it comes to improving our overall health and wellbeing.
I’m also excited that the second edition of my book “Dr. Eno’s Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes’ will soon be released. If you would like to download a free copy of the ebook that highlights the first three chapters of my upcoming book, click here.
To your health and wellbeing,