You’ve come across one of the best techniques for how to change your relationship.
You start to feel the excitement building. You imagine leaving behind all the hurt, frustration and arguments. You start to envision you and your partner looking at each other with complete understanding, love and trust. You have a feeling of certainty that if you do this technique all the problems in your relationship will melt away. By now your head is buzzing with thoughts of happiness, love and adrenaline is coursing throughout your whole body. Right now you feel like you could DO ANYTHING… ACHIEVE ANYTHING….
Changes in Relationships
When we want to make changes in our relationships, we usually go through a similar process as the one above. We come across something that we believe is the answer and we jump feet first into making drastic changes.
Remember when you tried to get in shape by exercising seven straight days and eating only lettuce, only to burn out, quit and vow never to look at another treadmill?
We usually attempt to make changes in the fastest, largest and most dramatic ways possible. This method of change is called innovation.
Making changes through innovation can be done. Sometimes we are able to make drastic changes after a life and death situation, a trauma or when the pain of what we are doing gets too unbearable. Despite dramatic examples of successful change through innovation, it rarely works in day to day life.
Often you will see short term results with innovation, but will burn yourself out and fall back into your hold habits. The affects of attempting drastic change can be disastrous, eliminating your motivation to change, wiping out your energy, and getting you to believe that you don’t have what it takes to do it.
Your Brain Naturally Fights Innovation
Anytime you try to change from what you normally do, a part of your brain called the amygdala, which controls your fight or flight responses, sends warning signs throughout your whole body that something is out of the norm. For your protection and survival, these warning signs cause you to feel fear. Once your amygdala is triggered, it often shuts down a part of your brain called the cortex and you lose the ability to think rationally and make good decisions.
Your cortex is the part of your brain that helps you think rationally, focus on what’s important and make good sound decisions.
Have you ever done something that you knew was bad for your relationship or went against your goals, but unexplainably you did it anyway? Most likely your cortex was shut down due to your emotional state. With drastic change, once fear and overwhelm takeover, your mind automatically starts to think of excuses why you can’t or shouldn’t change.
If innovation works for you that’s great, but we often get stuck because we believe that innovation or doing something flashy and drastic is the only way to change.
How to Change Your Relationship the Kaizen Way
The alternative to drastic, flashy, difficult change is Kaizen. The Kaizen way is small, comfortable change aimed at continuing improvement. With Kaizen, changes that seem laughably and embarrassingly easy often lead to massive change that can be maintained in the long run.
Here are some examples of Relationship change the Kaizen way
- Think about one small step you could take to improve your relationship each day for two minutes
- Ask yourself what’s one good thing about your partner each day
- Use a positive, upbeat tone of voice when speaking to your partner
- Set aside what your doing when your family members come home and greet them like they’re coming home from war (you’re excited to see them)
- Get curious about the smallest details of your partners day
- Vocally appreciate one of your partner’s small positive gestures or actions each day
- Do one small act for you partner this week
- Mentally rehearse talking to your partner with a positive outcome for one minute each day
Small, comfortable change helps your brain bypass the fear and sense of overwhelm that often accompanies change. This allows your cortex to continue working and helps you think rationally, flexibly and maintain momentum towards what you want in your relationship.
When you make small changes, your brain creates new neural connections eventually leading to new pathways in your brain making it much easier to maintain, and even enjoy, the process of change.
Can doing something for one minute each day actually make a difference?
Yes! Small change does not lead to small results. What starts as something small, easy and maybe even silly can set the stage for you seeing massive results and drastic long term change.
How to Change Your Relationship in Only 2 Minutes Each Day
- Focus on changing YOURSELF because that’s all you can control in your relationship.
- Identify what you want, what you want to change or what your goal is for your relationship
- Look to change your viewing or doing surrounding your relationship problems. You can either change your thinking (viewing) or what your doing.
- Try to think of the smallest step you can take TODAY to move you in the direction of what you want in your relationship.
- A common reaction to small Kaizen steps is “Ya anyone can do that that’s so easy”
- If any step seems too uncomfortable or even slightly too hard, scale it back and think of something smaller you can comfortably do.
- Continue to slowly increase your steps toward what you want in your relationship and maintain your momentum through tiny improvements.
Say Yes to Love,