Usually, we set goals. We want to do more sports, stop smoking… but in the short term, these goals seem unattainable. The Kaizen method can help us.
the Kaizen method, it is a Japanese method of continuous improvement. “Kai” in Japanese means “change” and “zen”, for “better”. The method was originally developed by Toyota in the 1950s. It aims to improve quality by constantly looking for ways to increase performance. With this obsession with permanent quality, the Japanese car giant has become the champion of “zero defects” and succeeded in occupying the first place in the world manufacturers.
However, the Kaizen philosophy can also be applied to personal life to improve oneself or achieve goals. You can’t run a marathon or become a great musician overnight. Likewise, you don’t stop smoking in one day. Behavioral change is not a one-time event. It is the result of a journey with many stages. The Kaizen method consists of proceeding through successive improvements that, end to end, enable us to achieve our goals..
The anti-example of “good resolutions”
In order to improve and make effective changes, you must first analyze yourself, to check your behavior. For example, if you want to walk more, you first estimate your daily step count, then you set a route to walk each day and gradually increase it.
You progress at your own pace, trying to anticipate obstacles: fatigue or bad weather for example. You also need to fix what went wrong. The Kaizen method emphasizes sequential changes. This is the opposite of sudden change.l, for short.
Usually, we want to hurry. A common example is the good resolutions we take at the beginning of the year. It is based on the tacit belief that change is something you can achieve once and for all. However, we must always watch our diet to stay slim, train to stay a good athlete, continue not to smoke daily if we really want to quit smoking. The Kaizen method considers continuous improvement.
With this method, achieving your goals becomes easier?
In general, because we continue in successive stages. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in good shape, but it allows you tostart the change and to fool our brain into not liking big messes.
In fact, when we suddenly change our habits, a part of the brain, the amygdala, perceives it as a danger, which causes stress. On the other hand, if we engage in small actions, if we take small steps, our brain does not feel attacked and stops fighting. Little and often: this, according to the philosophy of Kaizen, is the best way to achieve a goal, especially if it seems scary at first.
And how efficient is it all?
If it works, because it does not require an insurmountable effort but, logically, regularly, the method nevertheless has limitations. It no longer works when you have to deal with major shocks, events beyond your control, such as illness.
If not, Kaizen works well to improve relationships, lifestyle, create new projects. It induces less discouragement and feelings of failure than other methods, because it allows you to progress at your own pace. Kaizen encourages self-indulgence when one does not improve quickly and leaves room for error. In addition, one of its main principles is: “don’t judge, don’t blame”.