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Did you make a New Year Resolution?

If you did, statistically the likelihood of your achieving it is pretty small. Often this is because the change we want to make is just too big for our brain to take on board. Our inbuilt fight-or-flight response is triggered whenever we face a challenge that requires us to step outside our comfort zone. The secret to success is to learn to bypass the trigger.

When I worked for a Japanese bank I learned about Kaizen, the practice of continuous improvement to which many Japanese companies attribute their success. The overriding principle: “big results come from many small changes accumulated over time”.

The key is “small”. So small, that the contemplated change will not trigger our fight-or-flight response.

For example: if your plan is to take more exercise, starting by going to a gym for three hourly workouts a week will be way too much! How much of a couch potato you are presently will dictate your starting point.

How about marching on the spot for 60 seconds in front of the TV? Start with once a day, every day for a week. Next small step is two minutes, then an entire advert break. Eventually, a brisk walk once round the block will be a non-threatening next small step. You get the drift?

Kaizen is the cornerstone the way I teach setting achievable goals for what you want your life to be about. Try it; you might just enjoy making those life changes you’ve always promised yourself.

John Parker

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