Change is hard! How many people do you know who failed to adopt a new habit? How many companies fail to implement the changes they desperately need? How many people do you know that struggle to quit drinking, smoking or eating junk food?
Most people fail to adopt new habits or make a change in their companies and in their own lives because they want change to happen overnight. However, most of the big changes usually start with small changes, something that you can do here and now.
The Kaizen method has its roots in the TAO tradition and aims to facilitate revolutionary change and reduce resistance to small and gradual progress. It is a philosophy inspired by a powerful idea from the book Tao Te Ching – The book of the way and its virtue.
According to the book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, by PhD Robert Maurer, the Kaizen has two definitions:
- Apply very small steps to improve a habit, a process, or a product.
- Apply very small actions to inspire new products and new inventions.
In his book, Maurer also explains six strategies to apply the Kaizen in your personal situations. Those are:
- Ask small questions to reduce your fear and inspire your creativity.
- Have small thoughts to develop new skills and new habits without having to move a single muscle.
- Take small actions with guaranteed success – something that is impossible to fail.
- Solve a small problem even if you are facing a big crisis.
- Give small rewards to yourself or to others to generate better results.
- Recognize small but crucial events that most people tend to ignore.
One of my friends suggested to me a very simple but effective strategy for initiating an exercise plan. I was very busy during this time, as I was finishing school and starting my professional career. His strategy consisted of doing push-ups every day starting with one repetition on the first day, two on the second day, three on the third day, and so forth. If I missed a day, I could start all over again with one pushup. This made me push myself since I wanted to reach my goal, and within a few weeks, I started to care once again about my physical health and became motivated by the initial results; which made me push even further.
Now it is your turn. What small step can take today to improve your life? What are you waiting for? Just do it!!!
Maurer, Robert. One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way. New York: Workman Publishing, 2004.