The last few weeks have delivered self-improvement pressures from every angle. So much so, I was a little nervous about posting our latest blog on Kaizen.
For those of you who have never heard of this before, the Japanese Art of Kaizen is a concept based around small continuous improvement tapping the power of compounding. Therein lays the critical element. Small, manageable changes. Daily.
“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out” – Robert Collier
Procrastination, a lack of desire and a loss of hope, are among the greatest barriers to success and it is common to become so overwhelmed by the size of the goal itself, that anxiety and a lack of discipline prevent us from sticking to the daily changes in behaviour required to achieve it. Eventually, these factors will cause us to revert to old habits. The power of compounding means we can start small and still deliver big results.
Life has been overwhelming enough lately so rather than thinking in terms of the challenges involved in achieving the ultimate goal, you could focus upon small, measurable objectives you can achieve in the near future. Beginning with a small positive change and gradually increasing the length of time spent executing that change until it becomes a habit, is the most sustainable way to approach achieving an objective. Enter Kaizen.
Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy which means ‘change for better’. International companies such as Toyota and Nestle have successfully implemented kaizen philosophy to improve their business model. The kaizen approach provides the key to unlocking your true potential and overcoming the obstacles preventing you from securing a promotion at work, successfully preparing for university examinations, or achieving your financial goals. It promotes the creation of a plan based on things within your control NOW: that is, consistency, time and perseverance. Progress is the sum of these factors and leads to continuous improvement.
Read on to learn how you can start implementing the Kaizen philosophy today.
- Define your goal.
Ask yourself one question right now: what is your goal and why? Keep this at the forefront of your mind.
2. Design a system.
Once you have defined your goal, you will need to establish a system in order to achieve this future objective. Establish your rules of engagement.
- Self-awareness: What are the greatest barriers to your success right now (material, behavioural, or otherwise) and what do you need to do to overcome them?
- Frequency: How often can you commit to the change?
- Deadline: Where applicable, by which date do you plan to achieve the goal?
- Environment: Where can you go to work on your goal without distractions?
- Discipline: What will keep you accountable? Tell close friends.
- Performance review: Try to incorporate a way of reflecting on your progress and measuring the difference between were you were last week and where you are today, into your system. This can be as simple as a list with the smaller goals required to achieve your overarching objective ticked off as you master each one, or reviewing statistics collated by a mobile app.
- Reward: How can you maintain motivation through recognising your achievements?
You don’t need to embody perfection overnight. Simply strive to meet realistic objectives and you will steadily find yourself advancing towards your goal. There is no way that after a period of solid commitment, you won’t notice a change. What you don’t want to do is develop symptoms of burnout because you were too ambitious with your daily objectives. Working out the finer details mentioned above will improve your efficiency and enhance your accountability for your objectives, thereby setting you on the path towards success.
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