Rooted in Japanese philosophy, Kaizen is a long-term approach to change based on implementing changes in small increments. Used by many businesses, it seeks to improve efficiency and quality by applying small, incremental process changes. By applying continuous incremental improvements, the business will grow and thrive.
The word “Kaizen” is derived from “Kai” meaning change, “Zen” meaning good. The history of Kaizen began after World War II when Toyota applied the concept in its production process. It became very popular in Japan in the 1950s, and it continues today as Kaizen groups.
Although Kaizen was developed for the improvement of business, it can be applied to personal goal setting as well. In a similar fashion, if you apply short-term, incremental achievements toward your goal every day, you will eventually build better habits over the long-term to accomplish the goal you’ve set for yourself.
Good habits are fundamentally linked to effective goal setting. The Kaizen approach helps us to build good habits by teaching us to apply a small step every day toward our goal. Eventually the good habits will replace the bad ones and you will maintain consistent gains.
Start by breaking down your goal into small parts. Each day, accomplish a very small percentage of each part. For example, if you are writing a book, decide on a writing schedule and stick to it every day. Set a realistic number of words you will write each day and write at least that amount every day. These small steps will be more manageable and a lot less intimidating.
If you apply small percentage increments each day, the changes will build on each other until you will eventually notice a major gain. Try it yourself. Set a 3-month goal for yourself. Start by getting just 1% accomplished each day. Yes, it’s a tiny amount but it’s doable. Focus on the practice instead of the performance. Each small percentage will build on the last, and in three months’ time you will notice a 100% improvement from where you started.