Getting Started with a "Millimeter" Life

If you've been reading my blog then you know I advocate small changes for big results. The "millimeter approach" can be applied to all facets of life and business. Most people think of it as something to use in business, but you can remodel your entire personal life one "millimeter" at a time, too. How so? The first step is to look at your life holistically (every facet). Is there any area you're dissatisfied with and want to change? We'll start with areas you feel dissatisfaction although you may want to improve an area, too, and this formula also applies to improvements.
Let's break life down into smaller categories to help you identify which area(s) you might like to start changing.
  • Family
  • Material Interests (buying or upgrading a house, car, possessions)
  • Relationships (divorce or finding one)
  • Lifestyle (health, exercise, recreation, travel)
  • Appearance (weight gain or loss, style, hair, makeup)
These areas are then broken down further -- that is, if you want to change any of them. If you're contented say in your marriage then relationships might not be something you want to address. Determine which of those areas you need to change. Now the key is next to prioritize. Again, in the "millimeter" approach, we don't try and make big changes by taking big steps. So determine which of the ones you checked off you feel merits the most attention. For example, you're unhappily married but you don't necessarily want a divorce (or maybe you do). In either case (repair or divorce), you will next break that down into smaller, do-able steps to make the change. 

Let's use the example of repair your marriage. Ask yourself, what steps might I take to repair my marriage? For example, improve communication. Good. Now how might you break that down even further? What could you do to improve communication?

1. Turn off distractions (TV, Smart Phones, Computers) more often. Break it down. How many hours will you reduce your TV-watching time, use of your Smart Phone, or time on the computer? Give yourself a daily allotment of hours reduced. 

2. Redirect that time toward your marriage. Tell your spouse, we are agree to only watch X hours of TV, etc. Instead we are going to take those hours and redirect them to interpersonal communication time (e.g., dates to dinner where you can actually talk), walks taken together where you can talk, bike rides where you can talk, etc. The idea is to replace distractions with connected time. 

That single step alone in a marriage can completely alter a relationship dissolving from lack of communication. And that's just the first goal you can make to improve communication. It's a daily, small step toward the end result -- an improved relationship with your spouse. It's not that big or scary when you break it into smaller, simpler tasks.
Hint: this formula only works if you commit to keep your daily, weekly or monthly goals. The minute you slip back into old habits and routines the problems will return.