Do you struggle with getting things done? Is your to do list so long that you want to crawl into a ball and disappear? How are you at goal setting? Do you set goals and never manage to attain them? If you’ve answered yes to one or more questions, I am right there with you. Well, at least I used to be until I discovered The Kaizen Way, One Small Step that Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.
What is the Kaizen Way?
Kaizen is the Japanese technique of achieving great and lasting success through small, steady steps. It is based on this great quote by Lao Tzu “a journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.”
Here’s the concept behind the kaizen way:
- Ask small questions
- Think small thoughts
- Take small actions
- Solve small problems
Taking small steps will help reprogram your brain by melting away resistance like the flight or flight mode that keeps us fearful and unable to change.
I know it sounds too easy or even too good to be true but it works. I haven’t read this book in a long time but started implementing baby steps soon after I was done. In the past couple of months, I am back living life the kaizen way and it’s a beautiful thing.
What I am about to share with you are baby steps for me but may not be baby steps for others and that’s ok. You’ll get the point and can adjust the size of baby steps to suit your own needs.
I’ve been planning on getting back into a regular work-out schedule. I walk at least thirty minutes each day but I think a workout two to four times per week would do me wonders. I just haven’t been able to get myself to doing it. A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me if I wanted to participate in a 30-day squat challenge. It was right up my alley because it epitomizes the kaizen way with small and clear daily goals. This spoke to me because a) it’s only thirty days b) the amount of time required for it is very short and c) it would move me into the direction of getting back into a regular exercise program. Let me elaborate.
You start with 50 squats and every day (except for rest days), you do 5 more squats than the previous day. What is 5 more squats? I probably would have run the other direction if the challenge was to increase the number of squats by 25 or 40 a day. But I love it, today is rest day but yesterday I did 110 squats, something I never ever considered doing. I love these short duration challenges. They work well for me because they are easy to attain. Thirty days go by so quickly. I’m also getting great results which encourages me to continue.
How you can implement the Kaizen Way with your health
- Eliminate one thing from your diet than none of us should consume like dairy, soda, gluten, processed foods, or sugar from your diet. Don’t even try to eliminate them all at once. Set yourself up for success, just pick one and go from there.
- If you live somewhat of a sedentary life, start by going for a walk around the block. Then, go around the block twice and build up from there.
- If you don’t exercise at all, you can do something so simple like walking in place while watching TV for a minute. Then go to two minutes and increase every day… Before you know it, you’ll be walking 20-30 minutes and you can take that walk outside!
- If you’re like me and don’t like pushups or pull-ups, start with one pushup or pull-up and build from there.
- If you don’t eat vegetables, start by adding or replacing one item that isn’t very healthy with a vegetable. Gradually increase that. Before you know it, you’ll be eating plenty of veggies and can even start juicing. That’s what I do every day and love it.
You can implement the kaizen way in everything you do from your personal to professional life. Just remember to focus on breaking down your goal setting into small actions. I have learned that I get a lot more done when I take small actions. I love the kaizen way and I recommend you grab that book if you’re frustrated with goal setting and getting things done. I hope it will help you as much as it’s helped me.