How to Achieve Any Goal With Kaizen?
Kaizen is an extremely powerful strategy for achieving your goals based on the principle of continuous improvement.
It is widely used in business circles. But Kaizen can also be used to achieve personal goals. This technique will help you get up at 5 am, exercise on a regular basis, learn a foreign language and become a better version of yourself.
In Japanese, “kaizen” means "improvement". This strategy was introduced by Toyota. The company used it to rebuild after World War II. It proved to be effective and was later transferred to a variety of areas of life, as well as adapted for use in achieving personal goals. According to Dictionary.com, the word “kaizen” has two rather similar meanings:
What’s the Problem With Popular Goal Achievement Methods?
It is much easier to understand what Kaizen is when you look at what the modern self-improvement industry can offer.
Psychology gurus say that the goal should be SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example, if you are unemployed, earning a billion dollars in three years is a Specific, Measureable, Relevant and Time-bound goal, but not Achievable. But earning a million dollars within 10 years, if you are willing to invest $500, is a great SMART goal.
After that, we are told to draw up a step-by-step plan and take action. Of course, this approach works, but only if you have a high level of self-discipline. Kaizen, on the other hand, focuses on achieving short-term micro-goals. It is very easy to understand its advantages.
Let's say your goal is to become an early riser. What would your To-Do list look like? Probably as follows:
Pretty ambitious, isn’t it? So, how do you become an early riser? Through discipline and motivation. For example, you could go to Amazon and order books such as “The 5 AM Club: 11 Tips To Help You Wake Up Early, Energize And Get Things Done” by Michael Lombardi or “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life - Before 8AM” by Hal Elrod.
So, recharged with motivation, you set an alarm for 5am every day of the week, but the miracle does not happen. You hit the snooze button over and over again, and as a result, you just don't have time to exercise for 30 minutes, read 20 pages, run a mile and learn 10 new Spanish words. Failure!
You reproach yourself, you think that you lack discipline, and go through some kind of motivational training. A huge number of people fall into such a trap - both successful entrepreneurs and those who are just beginning to be interested in self-development. At the end of the day, the goals are achieved with great difficulty, and in most cases are not achieved at all.
How Does Kaizen Work and How Is It Different?
Let's take the ambitious plan we have drawn up and transform it a bit:
See how much things have changed and how much easier they have become! If you are used to getting up at 7 am, would it be difficult for you to wake up a minute earlier? How about drinking just one cup of water? You can do that right after waking up - and two goals are accomplished!
Do one squat? This sounds absurd! But you can do it, right? How about reading just one sentence? Just open the book and read one sentence - that's enough!
As for running, run 3 meters - no more, just 3 meters. You have long wanted to start a blog and previously planned to publish a post a day. That's good, but today your task is to write one sentence. Just one sentence!
As for learning Spanish, you need to learn one word. Just one word and that's it.
You will not have any difficulties with the implementation of such a plan. And this is very inspiring: you have completed everything that you planned. You are a winner, you don't just set goals, you actually achieve them!
Why Does Kaizen Work?
You might think that this kind of planning looks absurd and ridiculous. Really, what real benefit will you get if you wake up just one minute earlier? Will your health improve if you do one squat and run only three meters? One cup of water is not enough, because experts recommend drinking two liters a day.
But everything is just beginning. Consider what your plan for the next day will look like and you won't experience any stress:
Notice the difference? Now you wake up 2 minutes earlier, do squats and run 10 meters.
It would seem that the changes are small, but in 30 days you will wake up at 6:30, do 30 squats, run 300 meters, and also make progress in other goals.
Now you get up half an hour earlier than usual. That is, you have half an hour of free time. Yes, it only takes one minute, but everything is just beginning. The main thing is that you have developed habits - not one, but several.
But what is most important is that your body releases dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward. Serotonin - when we reach our goals.
In simple words, your body gets used to the fact that you are a person who not only sets goals but also achieves them. An important side effect, besides achieving the goals, is that you become happier because dopamine and serotonin are hormones of happiness. In addition, if one of your goals is to exercise, your body will release endorphins!
Kaizen is an incredibly powerful tool based on incremental improvement. Your life is unlikely to improve if you wake up one minute earlier today than yesterday. But you will see huge improvements in 30 days - when you learn to wake up just half an hour earlier.
As for learning how to wake up at 5 am using Kaizen, if you add 1 minute every day, it may take 120 days or 4 months. It may seem like much time. But do not forget that many people cannot develop such a habit in their entire lives!
How to Use Kaizen Correctly?
- Give up maximalism. Kaizen is about an incremental improvement. Changes should be small, little, tiny, and you shouldn't be stressed out by overly ambitious goals. Of course, you can wake up every day 10 minutes earlier. So in 12 days, you will wake up at 5 am. But the likelihood of success in this way is extremely small. Simply because you will experience stress and lack of sleep. Kaizen is not only about psychological adaptation, but also about training your body. The main idea of Kaizen is gradualness.
- Work on a small number of goals. If you're impressed by Kaizen, stop even considering using this technology to change your life right away. Of course, you can work on 10 or 20 goals at the same time, but all of us can have unforeseen circumstances. For example, you can get sick or go on a business trip. If you could not fulfill your plans, just skip the day and continue as if nothing had happened.
Tools for Using Kaizen
We live in a digital world and you always have your iPhone with you, don’t you? But when using Kaizen, it is better to use the easiest tool - a paper notebook.
Self-development experts say that when we write something by hand, we put a lot more mental energy into what we write.
After you have achieved some of your goals, then you can use Trello or another application for personal and business planning. Using Trello is very simple: create a new board and three lists - TO DO, DOING, DONE:
Kaizen is great, it does work! Get a little better every day and you will definitely notice significant improvements!