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The Kaizen Way

This afternoon I heard for the first time about how a Japanese business management technique can be usefully adapted to making positive changes in one’s life.

Like lightning, I rushed to Google this new word: kaizen.

The basic idea, as explained in One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, is to make improvements in such tiny increments that resistance doesn’t bother to kick in.

I love this idea. It could explain the ancient puzzle described by Paul in Romans 7:19 “the good I would do, I do not.” I’ve never understood why it was often difficult and sometimes apparently impossible for me to do the “good I would do.”

If I make too large a resolution, fight or flight kicks in and wins. Nothing changes.

Here’s the story of a man who tried this approach and found it gradually and easily quite successful: How to Overcome Hesitation, Fear, and Laziness to Achieve Your Goals.

I have had an idea that the minimal approach works with writing: I’m ever suggesting to clients and workshop participants that they make a commitment of, say, 5 minutes a day. Nobody fights writing for 5 minutes, and once you’ve begun you tend to keep going on a lot of days. And even doing things 5 minutes at a time, they eventually get done.

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Categories: beat procrastination, self-management, setting goals

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