Changing things, especially behavior, is not just one big step, but many small steps during a long period of time.
Lose weight? People want it to be a liposuction, but it’s just picking the same few meals and sticking to them for a year, or two, or more, depending on where you’re at.
Save money? People want it to be a jackpot, a winning lottery ticket, but it’s just choosing not to eat out over, and over again. Saying no: to restaurants, to expensive clothing, to anything that’s not crucial.
By no means does this mean that we should not set ambitious goals for ourselves. Dream big, but understand how it is you’re going to get there. You won’t just hop on top of a mountain – you’ll climb it little by little.
All this is contained in the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen. Kaizen is, in essence, choosing to think about self-improvement as an everyday choice, where you consistently do things that improve something just a little bit, but given enough days, this accumulates and you have giant improvements over time. Self-improvement for patient people.
Now, one common mistake that people make is to act like everything always takes time and hard work. Sometimes, the answer truly is in working smarter, not harder. Climb a mountain? If you just want to get there as fast as possible, just rent a helicopter. Sometimes there actually are solutions right before us, but we say to ourselves: “Kaizen!” and just continue stupidly on our way. The key to wisdom is knowing when you have a helicopter available, and when you actually have to walk the mountain.
The enemy: being short-sighted. It is easy to forget that the small improvements that you make today are a significant part of a wider image, so remember that wider image. Every small thing counts.