Day 2: Happiness is a Practice, Not a Destination

Think Small

Very often when we consider our goals, starting something new, or making changes we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed about where, when or how to start. This can lead to procrastination, and for many of us that can generate negative self-talk, which may only cause more procrastination!  Did you know that when we talk harshly to ourselves we only make change more difficult? It is neither a motivating or sustainable strategy for living a happy and satisfying life.

Passions and desires (thinking big) are an important part of our human experience; they bring meaning and purpose into our lives; and can liberate us so that every fork in the road isn't another source of anxiety or indecision. But for our well being we also need to cultivate continual, small and sustainable steps along the path.

Both yoga psychology and positive psychology have practical tools to help us!  Positive psychology has embraced the kaizen concept. Kaizen is a Japanese art of small consistent improvements. It was first implemented in Japan after the Second World War to build back up their collapsed economy. It is now being used for both business and personal growth.  Yoga psychology offers us vinyasa krama, which simply means taking a step in a special way; and that special way is small and sustainable effort or by refining our actions rather than obsessing or worrying about only the results.

Leading the LA Lakers to the championship, Coach Pat Riley, inspired every team member to individually improve their game by only 1% in the off-season. With each player making small improvement the entire team improved by 10% and in 1985 became champions.

Small improvements can be as simple as walking for just five minutes as exercise, sending one email to promote your business, writing three sentences of the book you want to finish, eating one apple to bring healthier food into your diet...

Seriously, think small! Every little choice we make adds up to big changes. Make a start. You might find yourself further along the path and enjoying the journey!

Here are some questions that can help you get started. Write 6 or so answers to each sentence stem below. Then decide on one small action you can take today!

  • What one small action can I do today toward my goal...?
  • If I take 5% more responsibility for my dreams and goals...?
  • To be 1% happier I would...?
  • If I take more responsibility for my choices and actions today...?