Since I read the book titled Kaizen, I find myself eyeballing a zillion items that yesterday would have gone unnoticed. And, worse yet, I would not have done anything about them.
I figured if I were not in position to complete the task in one sitting, I would wait until I could find the time to do so. This has proven over time to be a wasteful decision. (Kaizen goes against the popular teaching of finishing what you start. With Kaizen, you eventually do complete the task, but not instantaneously.)
Kaizen comes into play in virtually every aspect of our lives. As an example, let’s focus on less-than-attractive current eating habits. French fried potatoes are as good as any place to begin. 6Say you want to stop eating French fried potatoes. You do not have to give up French fries cold turkey once you endorse the Kaizen philosophy. Not all at once. Your brain will fight you, and you will lose every time.
Here is your new strategy. Order the fries. Then, before you begin eating, throw one of them away. Just one. Then eat what is left. The next time you order these tasty health bombs, throw two sticks away before eating. Get the idea? Little steps. Big difference. Soon, you will be refusing to pay $1.25 for two slices of potato.
What about exercise? Same thing. You are not about to jog for 60 minutes on the treadmill coming off the couch in your new exercise program. I want you to stand on the treadmill for one minute. Just stand there looking stupid. Day two, stand there for two minutes. Day three, stand for 60 seconds and walk for 60 seconds. This, as you can agree, is non-intimidating no matter what shape you are in.
Day by day, step-by-step, you will soon be working up a sweat while enjoying the process. My wife and I are doing this exact thing after walking past our workout room in our home for nearly six months.
I cannot remember being this excited about sharing my thoughts on any one particular topic in a long time. Your life could be on the verge of changing for the good. Fast, easy, and soon. It all started for me at my kitchen table while reading the morning paper. My wife showed me a book review of One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, written by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.
Since I often remind seminar attendees that Olympic Gold is usually won by hundreds of a second, the concept of taking small steps to achieve goals was not new to me.
The Japanese might have given it its name Kaizen, but what it involves is simply continuous improvement. Taking small steps toward a desired goal is the key. All one needs to do is identify little things and make small improvements to each one every day. It is a beautiful, non-intimidating mind-set. And it works –because it is easy.
Where can Kaizen behavior help you?
Whether you want to clean the attic, garage, closet or the trunk of your car, just the thought of it probably gives you a little stomach acid. As a result, these cleaning chores are postponed indefinitely.
This behavior can become yesterday’s news if you subscribe to the Kaizen approach. Stop worrying about cleaning anything. All you have to do is pick up one book that is lying on the floor and put it back in its place. The next time you pass the closet, pick up or rearrange one garment. When in the garage put a screwdriver back in its holster. Take small non-intimidating steps. You will soon be amazed with your progress.
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.