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Kaizen is Japanese for “change for the better” or “continuous improvement,” and the author explains this business philosophy that has expanded into the personal growth arena to give a clear pathway to reaching your goals through consistent incremental changes.

Kaizen

Kaizen

by Sarah Harvey

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The Three Key Takeaways From Kaizen

Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy centered around incremental growth, and it begins with evaluating your habits.

The best way to reach your big goals is to start with such a small step that the difference is barely noticeable.

Track your progress with your habits by reviewing them regul...

Kaizen Is Incremental Growth

In Japanese, the word Kaizen translates to many things, but the main idea is simply “change.” To take advantage of the power of change, you need to start with your habits. Which means you’ll have to look hard at the habits yo...

Make An Inventory Of Life

Start by interrogating your habits to make an inventory of your life. Get a piece of paper, divide it into the major sections of your life. Then, go through all areas of life and ask yourself if you’re doing all you can to be happy in that area. 

Dig deep to find out what you really seek. W...

Make The First Step Extremely Small

Small changes like these aren’t usually easy to make because we don’t see the rewards immediately. In contrast, it’s easier to give in to a bad habit because they involve things that do reward us instantly. 

Kaizen fixes this problem by focusing on changing things in such a tiny way that yo...

The Eating Better Habit

If you want to eat healthier, for instance, maybe you just add one vegetable to your plate each week to start. Once that habit has stuck, you can add more.

Experts recommend this because it keeps you going in the normally difficult early stages. You’re also more likely to stick with your go...

Review Your Habits And Track Your Progress

Kaizen works best when you use a tracking system.

Doing so helps you see the barely noticeable gradual changes. Your progress can then motivate you to keep going and show you additional areas where you can do better.

Create your own journaling method to track your goals. Bullet journa...

SARAH HARVEY

The emphasis in Kaizen is always on doing things in small stages and treating the idea of change as an ongoing process rather than a quick-fix ‘to-do list’

JAPANESE PROVERB

With many little strokes a large tree is felled

Continuous Improvement

Kaizen is useful for anybody wishing to change their routine. Rather than making any scary leaps into the dark, it is about stepping back and analysing your current habits, deciding what you could improve in your existing life, or thinking of new challenges you could start, then putting into plac...

Change is infectious and when success is achieved in one area, you are encouraged to apply the same techniques to another area of your life. This is referred to as yokoten or ‘horizontal deployment’, i.e. copying what works in one area to see if it works in another.

The philosophy ...

If your brain is still whirring, another idea is to get a piece of paper and write out a ‘brain dump’ of everything that is on your mind from that day. It doesn’t have to be anything coherent or fully formed – just write out everything that is troubling you. This can also be a really useful exerc...

Read A Good Book

Just six minutes of reading before bed has been shown to reduce stress levels by two-thirds and promote good sleep. Choose a couple of nights of the week where you read before bed rather than look at a screen and see if it makes a difference.

Wake Up Just Five Minutes Earlier

Try setting your alarm just five minutes earlier and see if it makes a change to how rushed you feel getting out of the door. If this works, try extending this further by five-minute increments each week. Just having a bit more time to get your belongings together can have a huge impact.

Your Home

Focus your attention on improving just one room and see the effect it has on your mental state and how you feel about your home. It may spur you on to want to tackle more rooms in the house. And if you live with others, don’t take all of the burden on yourself; involve your partner, your children...

Part of practising self-compassion is not over-stretching yourself by doing things that you don’t want to do. Do you find that you are overwhelmed with trying to see everybody and fit everything in? Try to designate at least one or two nights per week for vegging out, doing your washing and cooki...

Remembering the Kaizen approach and introducing a new activity into your routine with the least amount of disruption will mean you are more likely to stick to it. It can help to peg the activity to something you already do.

Start knitting while you watch the evening news every day, or use t...

Sticking To Your Hobby: Commit Spending Time

Rather than trying to fit in your new activity when you have a small break from all of your other commitments, allocate some set time to your new hobby. Fill out the time in your calendar and set a reminder so that you definitely don’t plan anything else in its place.

Sticking To Your Hobby: A Writing Challenge

Rather than sitting at your computer with a blank page in front of you, trying to magically be blessed with inspiration, try to do a small writing challenge each day instead. This can be the springboard for a bigger writing project and will get you in the habit of putting words down on the page. ...

Stumbling Blocks

Kaizen is a lifelong commitment to change, so there may be times when your motivation waivers or when you fall on hard times (unless you’re the luckiest person in the world).

Nobody is perfect, and the idea isn’t to achieve complete perfection. It’s about approaching life as an exciting jo...

First Kaizen step: if you’re having a tough time, keep a record of one small thing that you have achieved each day, then look back on this when things are feeling better and congratulate yourself on your resilience and for getting through.

Kaizen is not one-size-fits-all; one person’s experience of it will be entirely different from another’s. The important thing is to listen to your mind and body, then create good habits that work for you and let go of the ones that aren’t doing you any favours.  

The emphasis is on continuo...

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created 7 ideas

Kaizen is a Japanese management theory that encourages taking incremental steps to transform habits. First inventory your habits. Define your long-term goals and make a plan to start working toward them gradually. Once you start, track your progress and make adjustments according to your pace to keep momentum and compound improvements.

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created 11 ideas

The book brings out the purpose or how to continue even without purpose with doing the mundane tasks like walking, doing dishes, cleaning house and many more things that will keep us busy and helps us enjoy life, whilst we search for our purpose. Because those who discover their ikigai have everything they need for a long and joyful journey through life.

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