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Queen of Your Own Life

Small Questions, Big Answers | The Battle for You

by Cindy Ratzlaff

Earlier this week, we had a great discussion on Facebook about Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of small changes.  I decided I wanted to know more and found a wonderful book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life; The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.  Dr. Maurer breaks down the philosophy into four easy steps:

  • Ask small questions
  • Think small thoughts
  • Take small actions
  • Solve small problems

The concept is that scientifically backed research shows small changes in human behavior circumvent the brain’s built-in resistance to change.

If you’ve ever started an exercise program or a diet program and gone at it full tilt during the first few days, only to struggle and then fail within a short time, you’ve experienced what Dr. Maurer would call the bodies “fight or flight” reaction to change.  So the idea here is to build up a tolerance to change and reverse the strategy.  He recommends starting exercise with a very small step.  For some people that might even mean scheduling it into their day and then simply walking away from the desk for 10 minutes to stand outside.  Once they develop a tolerance for leaving the office or home to take time for themselves, the next step would be to add a short walk and so on until you gradually, slowly build up to a full exercise routine.

I walked 10,000 steps two days in a row and then never left my office yesterday. Whatever I’ve been doing isn’t working.  As someone who works out of a home office, I sometimes find I don’t even get dressed.  I work from 5:00a.m. until about 7:00PM, eat at my desk and never leave.  If I were my own girlfriend, I’d hold an intervention.  So today, I’m taking Kathy’s advice and hugging my dear friend (me) and asking her to make a change.  Together we got up this morning (at 5:00am) and scheduled 10 minutes away from the desk.  We put it on the calendar every day for the next seven days.  We’re committing to standing outside, rain or shine, for 10 minutes.

Dr. Mauer, I’m counting on you and the Kaizen way.  But most of all I’m counting on the power of asking one small question.  “If not now, when?” The answer is so big that I haven’t even allowed myself to say it out loud until today.  So using the tool we talk about most, I’m off to the mirror this morning.  Feel free to repeat after me.

“I love you and I want you to feel healthy, happy and whole. You deserve to give yourself the gift of feeling good in your own body. I give you permission to slow down and change slowly because I want you to be around for a long, long time.” So sayeth this Queen.

What do you want to give yourself permission to do, think or be?  Let’s see if we can create tiny, small almost imperceptible changes together.  I’d be so honored if you would share your small changes with me.  Let’s encourage one another by committing to do one thing differently today.  What will yours be?  We’re in the Battle for You together.

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7 Responses to “Small Questions, Big Answers | The Battle for You”

  1. Melanie says:

    i love you two ladies! i see you on facebook and think you’re the best! this is a great philosophy! i appreciate your words of encouragement. i need this. i’m not well and need to do what i can to feel better. thank you for everything.

  2. cindy says:

    Queen Melanie, we’re sorry to hear you are not feeling well today, and therefore, we’re especially grateful you took the time to visit and leave a comment. Thank you.

  3. Ann says:

    Thank you for posting this. It helps more than you can imagine. After weeks of hospitalization, I am left with a body that is weak; Simple acts daily living overwhelm me. Even walking is difficult. Yet as much as I want my life back, I am paralyzed.

    And just as I think what’s the use in trying, here you are reminding me that I don’t have to do everything. I don’t have to do it all at once.. Everything is too much anyway. Everything is insurmountable
    Instead of focusing on all the things I cannot do, you have helped me see what I can: Today I can walk just two minutes more. Today I can find just one small task more to do. And today, I can look myself in the mirror and be proud. It may not be marathon, but small steps really can carry me forward. They can carry me to the person I want to be. Again, thank you

  4. cindy says:

    Queen Ann, Thank you for sharing this. You cannot imagine how much your courage can inspire others, too. Bravo to you. We stand in awe and we are so grateful that you’re here.

  5. As always you inspire and encourage. Just got some MORE bad news about my health, and only I can help change it since I can not afford medical care. So need to start taking the small steps to start making the changes that can help. Thank you!!

  6. Alethalou says:

    Wow! This is great and helpful information. Gateway to change. I am taking 10 minutes for myself tomorrow. I so appreciate the posts and information you share. I am relishing your book 1 page at a time.

  7. cindy says:

    Thank you so much Queen Alethalou. We want those 10 minutes you take to fill you with calm, quiet joy (or rowdy, noisy joy; whichever you prefer).

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