good habits


Blogger makes 3 tiny changes for Lent and his life got 20% better

Sometimes, the small things make all the difference.

David Cain made three tiny changes that made a big difference.

A Japanese concept known as kaizen is based on making small, continuous improvements daily that eventually result in tremendous growth. The basic idea is that tiny changes can amount to big ones over time.

It’s an interesting concept to put into practice because it’s a lot less overwhelming to make small changes each day than trying to move mountains overnight. Plus, it’s probably easier to stay disciplined.

Blogger David Cain, creator of Raptitude, made three small changes in his life and says they’ve improved his overall sense of well-being by 20%. He admits that it only took about 2% more effort to get results that were 10 times greater.

He started his tiny change routine during Lent, the Christian period of fasting and reflection before Easter. During Lent, Christians are asked to give up something as a form of self-discipline and spiritual reflection, echoing Jesus' 40-day fast in the desert.

“On a whim, I decided to commit to three small changes for the remainder of Lent, not because I’m religious, but because I like the idea of temporarily renouncing things,” Cain joked.

The three tiny changes he implemented for Lent were deleting Twitter and Reddit from his phone, drinking more water and getting to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier.

“I kept the changes small because small is easy, and might still be worthwhile. First, I renounced the scrolling of Twitter and Reddit, because I kind of got into that again over the winter. I just took five minutes to block them on my phone, and I don’t miss them,” Cain wrote.

“I also started drinking more water again,” he continued. “I’m not sure when I got away from actively drinking water, but now that I’m doing it again, I feel more energetic. Lastly, I stopped pushing my bedtime past my old bedtime by 15 or 20 minutes.”

Cain’s experiment wasn’t about becoming a new person or reaching perfection; he just wanted to make a few small changes. He assumed the changes wouldn’t have a huge impact because they were so easy. Boy, was he wrong.

“How I’ve felt since reminds me of how I felt when I was a bit younger,” he wrote. “I’m sharper, more patient, more inclined to do things. The body moves more easily, the mind finds words more easily, intentions form more easily. It’s not quite an amazing change, but it really is significant.”

Cain’s story should inspire all of us who would like to improve our lives but don’t know where to start. If you don’t have a problem with hydration, scrolling through Twitter, or getting to bed on time, he has a list of over 25 more small changes you can make as well.

As the great Taoist sage Lao Tzu famously said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

“It’s not much of a gamble—to test whether life would get immediately better after quitting some small thing you know is bad for you, or committing to some small thing you know is good for you," he wrote. “Give it even a week of really doing it, and see.”