Every year almost all of us sets ourselves a new fitness goal or challenge and just as often in the end fails to achieve them. We end up telling ourselves that we’re just not ready yet, that we’ll do it next week, next month…next year.
Do you know why does it always turn out to be failure? The answer’s obvious: Because we try to achieve too much, too fast; because we get sick of the new responsibility; because it’s difficult to change old habits and try something new.
In Japanese culture there exists the practice of Kaizen, which includes the idea of the “one-minute principle” for self-improvement. At the heart of this method is the idea that a person should practice doing something for a single minute, every day at the same time. Clearly, it shouldn’t be any trouble for absolutely anyone even the laziest person to carry out a given task for such a small amount of time, let it be any fitness activity which brings you joy and satisfaction.
When you’re inspired by such feelings, you will gradually begin to increase the amount of time you spend doing the task which you have set yourself maybe at first just for five minutes more, but then this will soon turn into half an hour, and then even longer after that. In this way, the one-minute principle lets you see the progress you’re making right before your eyes.
Kaizen originated in Japan. The word itself contains two roots — ‘kai’ (change) and ‘zen’ (wisdom).
At first glance, Kaizen seems so simple, doubtful and ineffective. In fact, at first glance, I thought “there is no way this can work.” Kaizen is built on the idea of accomplishing a task through a series of very small steps. We’ve all come to believe that accomplishing big goals requires big changes and hard work, when in reality, it requires a series of very small changes to accomplish one big goal.
Author (Dr Abhishek katakwar) is a bariatric & metabolic surgeon based at Asian institute of gastroenterology, Hyderabad.