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The Kaizen Approach - The Philosophy of Constant Improvement

Kaizen — Japanese for continuous improvement

It means focusing on consistent improvements in your life, no matter how small the steps you take towards your goals. Becoming even 1% better everyday is a simple, practical way to achieve big goals. 

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The Kaizen Approach - The Philosophy of Constant Improvement

The Kaizen Approach - The Philosophy of Constant Improvement

https://medium.com/the-mission/the-kaizen-approach-to-achieving-your-biggest-goal-the-philosophy-of-constant-improvement-172033f8346

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Key Ideas

Kaizen — Japanese for continuous improvement

It means focusing on consistent improvements in your life, no matter how small the steps you take towards your goals. Becoming even 1% better everyday is a simple, practical way to achieve big goals. 

Quick hacks won't bring faster results

Instead of reading every self-improvement post, focus on doing the actual work that needs to be done. You can inspire yourself to take action. Committing to the hard, long process is the only way though. 

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Continuous improvement
Continuous improvement

Is an ongoing effort to improve all elements of an organization - processes, tools, products, services, etc. 

It rests on the belief that a steady stream of improvements, diligent...

3 Practices for Continuous improvement
  • Performance transparency: it starts with making goals public and cascading those goals  in a way that is tailored to individuals at all levels of the organization.
  • Knowledge sharing: critical to scaling best practices across (and up and down) organizations.
  • Employee involvement: frontline employees are closest to the work and typically have the richest insights on how their work can be done better. Capturing their perspectives is critical.
The problem with big goals

... is that they can be intimidating. They can paralyze you into inaction.

The big picture can be overwhelming, but in little parts, it seems achievable. Every step forward brings you ...

Tom Clancy
Tom Clancy
“An overnight success is ten years in the making.”
There are no “overnight successes”

There are no quick hacks that bring faster results.

Every incredibly successful person you know today has been through the boring, mundane, time-tested process that eventually brings success. 

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John F. Kennedy

"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of co..."

John F. Kennedy
Acting upon your ideas

Results come to those who act upon their plans, not to those that spend most of their time seeking the right way to do it.

When it comes to goals, projects, and other to-do items, it’s easy to get stuck too long in the thinking and planning phase. And unfortunately, most of them will never be done.

Being a Doer

This requires a lot of discipline, commitment and risk-taking, but it's the only way to make progress.

If you are not daring and focused enough, you can never get past the “thinking” stage of getting work done.

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Small wins compound over time

They make big goals seem manageable and achievable. 

They also help you to move closer to where you want to be and a constant source of motivation.

Teresa Amabile
Teresa Amabile
“Track your small wins to motivate big accomplishments.”
Pair big goals with small wins

Do this to ensure daily progress and motivation.

Because big goals can be demotivating: that burst of excitement at the beginning quickly wears off. Small wins keep your eyes on the process, not the result and help you see the progress you're making.

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Turn regret into motivation
  1. Acknowledge how you cope with regret: ignoring it makes it more present;
  2. Stop the regrets spiral, until you are ready to face the situation with more clarity;
  3. Revisit the story...
The disease of "What if"

It’s human nature to linger on feelings of regret. We look back and think that missed opportunities(real or not) could have set us on a different, possibly more rewarding path. Unchecked, these emotions become overwhelming sources of stress and anxiety.

Turn regret into motivation
  • Acknowledge how you cope with regret: ignoring it makes it more present
  • Stop the regrets spiral, until you are ready to face the situation with more clarity
  • Revisit the story and identify practical lessons you can learn from it
  • Treat yourself like your ideal mentor would
  • Ask yourself why you feel regret and work backward to identify the values that are tied up in your feelings
  • The cure for anticipating regret isn’t feeling lousy or overthinking, but pursuing solutions, using the wisdom gained through self-reflection.
Why Set Personal Goals
  • You are in charge. Personal goals force you to take responsibility for the actual efforts and progress.
  • You see the small steps leading to a big picture: big goals c...
“Which? Why? What? How?” Technique

... for choosing personal goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Ask yourself which aspect of your life you would like to change most.
  2. Think about why you want to change this.
  3. How will that change make you feel? Determine what exactly will make you feel this way.
  4. Ask yourself how you can make this happen and then make it your personal goal.
The Life Balance Chart Technique
  • Draw a chart. Write down each of the various areas of your life (family, health, self-development, career, relationships) in a new column or line.
  • Assess your current happiness level in each of these categories by giving it a score from 1 to 10.
  • Think what will make you be fully satisfied with these areas. Write down your ideas – you will be able to transform them into personal plans.

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Goals vs. systems

Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. Achieving a goal only changes your life for the moment. That’s the counterintuitive thing about improvement: We thi...

Goal setting and survivorship bias

We concentrate on the people who end up winning 🥇 —the survivors—and mistakenly assume that ambitious goals led to their success while overlooking all of the people who had the same objective but didn’t succeed.

Goals restrict your happiness

The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone.

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Goal-Setting

Any goal or project will usually have these basic qualities:

  • A general ambition or motivation. (e.g. learn French)
  • A specific target. (e.g.  speak fluently)
Goals To Start In The Middle

When a goal has high uncertainty as to what level is achievable to reach within a particular time-frame, it is better to set specific targets in the middle of the process.

Plan your goals with the variables you do have: overall direction, time-frame, level of effort and strategies.

Reasons To Postpone Goal-Setting
  • Uncertain goals should be set in the middle. This will enable you to set the correct challenge level to maximize effort.
  • Some research shows that for very complex tasks, goal-setting can hinder effectiveness. This is because complex tasks are cognitively demanding in the beginning and can be frustrating because you can't perform adequately. To add on more tasks can impair your performance.

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Personal & Individual OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)
Personal OKRs are for your personal life, individual OKRs are for performance tracking at work.
Why Use Personal OKRs?
We all want things from life, but life wants things from us too.
  • How do you accomplish the things that are important to you, but aren’t urgent? 
  • How do you move forward when life is screaming at you to focus on now?
From Goal setting to Goal achieving.

  • First, Close Out the Last Quarter with Learning. Take the last week of the quarter to grade last quarter’s OKR set. Reflection is the key to accelerated learning.
  • Will you Explore or Exploit Next Quarter?How much time should you spend exploring new possibilities, and how much exploiting ones you have proven work?
  • Focus on Won’t Get Done. OKRs for things you’re worried you’re NOT going to do, not for tracking things you will.

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New Year's resolutions

New Year Resolutions are a disaster for a majority of us.

They feel unpleasant due to the fact that we see them as an event. The time, process, dedication, and commitment we need to them done...

Event Vs Process

All events have a backstory, a history, some amount of risk and sacrifice.

  • If we focus on the event only, we will not be able to do anything with our lives.
  • If we follow the process, daily making ourselves better and stay committed, we end up getting the life we desire.
Losing weight

As we know, exercise in any form makes us better.

Instead of complicating the process and making it a big event, just smoothen the daily process. Make a habit of going out to exercise by getting up early, wearing the right clothes, packing the gym bag at night, so that you remove friction from the activity.

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