Since I read the book, I find myself eyeballing a zillion items that yesterday would have gone unnoticed and worse, untouched. I figured if I was not going 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 to finish what you start. With Kaizen, you eventually do complete the task, but not instantaneously.)
Kaizen also works when it comes to eating healthy. 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 what I want you to do. Order the fries. Then before you begin eating, throw one of them away. Just one. The next time, throw two fries away before eating. Get the idea? Little steps. Big difference.
But what about exercise? Same thing. You are not about to jog for 60 minutes on the treadmill coming out of the couch in your new exercise program. I want you to stand on the treadmill for one minute. Day two, stand for two minutes. Day three, stand for 60 seconds and walk for 60 seconds. This, as you can agree is non-intimidating no matter who you are. 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 can not 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 thousandths 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. It is a beautiful, non-intimidating mind-set. And it works. Because it is easy.
But where can Kaizen behavior help you? Let me count the ways:
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 be yesterdays 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.