Jackie Hartley Yoga & Fitness CrossFit Level 1 Trainer & Certified Yoga Instructor

Kaizen - the idea of on-going or continuous improvement

Have you ever sat back and wondered how you got to where you are when things have gone completely off track? What was the one decision or action that derailed you?

Small - Jackie Hartley Kaizen

Chances are, it wasn’t just one decision, it was a series of small actions. Some of them so small, that at the time they seemed inconsequential. Surely, they don’t count. Guess what? They matter! We have all been there when the climb out seems insurmountable. When we feel like there is no way we can change something about ourselves. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel, we find ourselves in? I’ll let you in on a little secret. That light that we keep looking for, that way out that we can’t seem to find, it’s closer than you think.

The Japanese have a business philosophy called kaizen. Put simply, kaizen is the idea of on-going or continuous improvement. Kaizen encourages a mindset where small incremental changes create an impact over time. Too often we believe that to improve ourselves or the situation we are in, we need to make big changes all at once usually starting on a Monday. How did that work for you? It didn’t work for me. It would last for a few days, at best. I would end up right where I started, adding in an unhealthy dose of self-deprecation. It’s exhausting and quite frankly, all that negative self-talk compounds and that tunnel you were in is just a little darker.

Stop looking for an instant fix, there isn’t one. If you want to change or fix something, start with the very next decision you make. It’s all about living your life with intention and mindfully. Take yourself off automatic and be fully present with yourself and your environment. Be aware that your actions have consequences. If you make a poor decision, grant yourself some grace. Reflect on why you made that decision. Understanding the underlying reason can help you make a different choice next time. If you find yourself struggling with a choice, take a 3 second pause. Clear your mind with some deep breaths and approach the choice through the lens of whether the decision you make will support the path you are walking. Your decisions light the way.

Live your life with intention. Be true and honest to yourself. If something isn’t working, don’t make excuses for it. We already know excuses don’t work. Make small adjustments every day. Remember, you are your own light.