Think Small for Big Results

New Year’s Day has come and gone.

Did you make resolutions for the new year?  If so are they the same ones you made last year?

The most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, get out of dept/save money, reduce stress, and stop smoking.  I just read a statistic that said only 8% of people who make resolutions are actually successful with keeping them long term.

In other words, the odds are against you unless you are able to make permanent lifestyle changes.  Sometimes just the thought of this kind of change will stop us before we even get started.

No wonder most people can’t keep their New Year’s resolutions!

This is why I usually don’t make them.  However, this year I have decided to make one resolution that will hopefully make all my personal and business goals easier to be successful at.  This year my New Year’s resolution will be to change my mindset.

Does that sound like a huge resolution?

clutter.01Actually I don’t see it that way. Life has been very complicated for me over the pass few years. It’s time to step back and figure out what I can do to change that.

Most of the time all it takes to make a big difference is to learn how to think small. Yes, I said that right. Big results come from many small changes accumulated over time.

It’s call the Kaizen Way. Kaizen means continuous improvement. Although it has been used in business for many years it’s easy to adapt to personal and home settings.

For example, instead of decluttering your whole closet all at one time you would take a few minutes (or less) everyday or several days a week and pull out a couple of items you know you will never wear again. You are thinking small, 1-2 items at a time.  Over a month or two you will have the closet decluttered.  In the process you’ll also be changing your mindset. You will condition your mind to question why you are keeping items you will never wear again.  This new habit will help prevent future clutter from building up.

This can apply to all areas of your life. I’ve been using it to slowing declutter all the papers from my mother’s house. She moved to a nursing home in June and we sold her house in Sept. I had to move all the boxes of papers to my house. There were around 7-8 boxes of financial and other papers to go through. Some dating as far back as 1985. That did not include boxes of photos. I’m now down to 1 & 1/2 boxes left to declutter and organize.

I learned about The Kaizen Way from a book I read called “One Small Step Can Change Your Life” by Robert Maurer, PH.D.  One of the things he talks about is learning to ask ourselves small questions.  Since I want to make my home easier to keep clean I will be asking myself the following question throughout the day.

What small action can I do today to make my home easier to keep clean on a daily basis?

Dr. Maurer says that when we ask ourselves a small question over and over again our brains begin to come up with the answers. By asking the above question daily I will be working on changing the way I think.  I will focus on small actions that can be done in only a few minutes per day but will add up to make a big difference.

Another example is I want to declutter my bookshelves.  I can start with one bookshelf and pull out 1-2 books that can be put in a box for charity.  If I do this daily I won’t be overwhelmed by having to make a lot of decisions on a lot of books all at one time. Again, the idea is to train my brain to question why I’m keeping any books I no longer need.  Here is another question for this specific project.

Why would I want to spend time dusting bookshelves filled with books I don’t read?

By focusing on small actions we can bypass the fears we usually get when looking at the whole, big, overwhelming problem.

If any of you have followed Flylady  you’ll recognize that her babysteps are pretty much the same as The Kaizen Way.  It’s a matter of creating new habits by taking small steps.

If you would like to learn more about The Kaizen Way, I found a few videos with an interview of Dr. Maurer.  Part 1 is below.  The other two parts can be found on the YouTube channel ” TheKaizenWay”.

The book by Dr. Maurer is called “One Small Step Can Change Your Life”.



To a lighter load along the way.