You can get there by making small changes daily. After all, it’s easier to be a saint for fifteen minutes than to be a saint for two hours. Right? Of course!
I’m personally a big fan of small daily changes—which means I’m a big fan of “Kaizen,” which is a Japanese word which pithily summed up means: doing small changes over time which create huge life changes.
With all this in mind, I want you to do a Kaizen Experiment. For the next month, commit to devoting a tiny fifteen minutes a day to a new improved habit and tweak your way to a happier life.
The good news: You can always find an extra fifteen minutes in your day!
More good news: Brain researchers Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang believe if you can train yourself to stay disciplined for a mere fifteen minutes a day doing a specific task, eventually, over time, you will become a more disciplined person in general and be able to do a habit for far longer than fifteen minutes!
The Brain Research Cliff Notes: Aamodt and Wang have discovered that a human brain’s overall willpower capacity increases like a muscle every time a human practices even a little bit of willpower—for even fifteen minutes—because the human is literally strengthening their brain’s neural pathways.
Meaning? If you want a tush of steel, exercise your tush muscles a little daily! If you want a discipline of steel, exercise your discipline muscles a little daily.
On an amusing note: Aamodt and Wang mention in their report how increasing “a human’s overall willpower muscle” can begin with something as simple as disciplining yourself to brush your teeth for two weeks with your non-dominant hand.
Well, instead of having you brush your teeth differently, I want you to brush up on doing “that thing” you know you need to brush up on! For example: Yoga stretches. Jumping rope. Organizing closets. Meditating. Gratitude journaling. Staying in closer loving touch with friends and family. Reading that New York Times bestselling book. Reading that cute picture book to your child at bedtime. Writing that book you want to write. Writing that business plan. Looking into a family vacation. Creating a vision board (then happily staring at your vision board), etc.
Basically, sometimes the idea of doing something new to change your life can feel so overwhelming that you wind up choosing not to do anything at all. However, if you commit to doing a tiny fifteen-minute habit a day—moving one tiny fifteen-minute step forward a day—you will happily discover changing your life is not as overwhelming as you would have thought.
Start today. Right now. Start to do “that thing” you know you gotta do. For just a mere fifteen minutes of doing. No excuses.
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You can find fifteen minutes. I promise you that if you can do this fifteen-minute habit tweak daily for the month, over time, you’ll want to do this habit more and more, and over time, you’ll find yourself smiling more and more because both your discipline and your happiness will increase substantially.
By the way, I believe thereʼs a secondary reason why discipline for changing your life increases when doing small fifteen-minute habit changes over time. Youʼre creating what I call “identity shifting.” Basically, when you start doing a new disciplined life-improving fifteen-minute action, your identity begins to shift to see yourself as a disciplined life-improving person.
Your subconscious starts to say: “The old me did not used to have discipline. But lo and behold, now this new me does! I be da boss of my cerebrum, baby!”
Thereʼs even a famed psychological theory called “Cognitive Dissonance” which explains this identity shift.
The Cliff Notes On “Cognitive Dissonance:” We humans donʼt like to have a disparity between our thoughts and our actions, so when we change our actions, we change our thoughts to match them.
For example: If Human A starts to do a loving action for Human B, through Cognitive Dissonance, Human Aʼs brain will start to tell him, “Geez, I must surely like Human B if Iʼm now doing a loving action for her!” As a result, according to studies on cognitive dissonance, Human A will wind up liking Human B a wee bit more.
Likewise: If you force yourself to do positive, disciplined actions, then your brain—via the perks of Cognitive Dissonance—will start to tell you, “Geez, I must be a positive, disciplined person if I am doing positive, disciplined actions.” Eventually, you will wind up being a wee bit more positive and disciplined!
Wishing you huge change in the year ahead which lasts for many, many, MANY years to come!
Karen Salmansohn (founder of the popular inspirational site www.notsalmon.com) is a bestselling author and award winning designer with over one million books sold. She is known for creating self help for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing self help—like with her bestselling e-book Prince Harming Syndrome, an Oprah.com relationship e-book, with tools to let go of the pain from your past and to stop bad love patterns for good. Prince Harming Syndrome is now 50% OFF for a limited time—only $9.99—in a convenient e-book, so you can read on your computer or anywhere you can read a PDF. Click the link and you’ll see a list of FAQs so you can learn more about Karen’s philosophies (which helped her find her Prince Charming) and finally experience the happy family life she’s always dreamed about!
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