Sharing my learnings from the book, Kaizen by Sarah Harvey
Kaizen by Sarah Harvey
This beautifully colour illustrated and photographed book offers a way to build good habits and remove bad ones, without being too hard on yourself along the way. The focus is on having patience, shaping solutions for yourself rather than following others and not giving up when things aren’t working. Rather than being critical of your faults, the emphasis is on mindful, positive change. Well-known in the business and sports worlds as a method for mapping incremental goals, Kaizen is also a wonderful tool for slowly improving aspects of your life, without feeling daunted or overwhelmed by the challenge.
Kaizen by Sarah Harvey brings you a personalized and flexible approach to change that you can apply to any area of your life (whether it is health, relationships, money, career, habits, new hobbies or general wellbeing). You can adapt it to suit working style, preferences and personality. Every person’s experience of Kaizen will be different, which is what makes it such an effective tool for positive change.
- Making a leap into the dark can be scary when it comes to changing habits. To conquer this natural fear, the kaizen approach focuses on taking slow and steady steps forward. Originally a Japanese management theory, it’s now a widely-applied philosophy that values continuous improvement toward lasting change.
- We live in a culture that expects instant results, so it’s no surprise that many health and self-help trends promise overnight success. But a much more effective way to transform habits is to take one small action at a time, repeating it until you get results. This underpins the Japanese philosophy of kaizen.
- Ironically, by the 1980s, Japanese companies were doing so well that it gave American businesses reason to fret. So kaizen returned to the US, as an organizational theory, in a book titled Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success by Masaaki Imai.
- Imai encourages managers to set short-, medium-, and long-term goals around four criteria: business growth, product quality, customer service, and staff motivation.
- Additionally, every employee – from the receptionist to the CEO – is invited to contribute suggestions for ways to improve. The emphasis is always on long-term goals and continuous improvement through small changes.
- kaizen has wider applications far beyond the business world. Whether you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle, get better at saving money, or rethink your career, kaizen can set you on the path to success.
- According to Ben Gardner, senior lecturer in psychology at King’s College London, our brains “lock in” repeated behaviors to preserve mental resources necessary for bigger, more important tasks
- The downside of locking in behaviors becomes obvious when we want to change them. Gardner elaborates that we learn habits through rewarding cues that are repeated over time.
- Analyzing your existing behavior can help you identify the habits you want to make or break. So the first step of kaizen is to interrogate your habits, by making an inventory of your life.
- Instead of aiming for perfection from the start, aim for small gains that would add up. Kaizen techniques are an effective way of transforming those habits precisely because they involve minimal disruption while promoting progress.
- the first small step to achieving your goal serves to encourage you to take the next step and the one after that.
- once you have a long-term goal, the next kaizen step is to break it down into smaller shorter- and medium-term goals. Not only will breaking your goal down into chunks make it seem more manageable, it’ll also help you plan your actions around a clear time frame.
- If you want to incorporate continuous habits into your life, such as eating more healthily or picking up a hobby, it’s especially important to have a way of measuring progress.
- The kaizen philosophy advocates adjusting your time frame as you go, according to your natural pace. So if you find you’re feeling overspent along the way, then instead of increasing the duration of your practice, make it even smaller.
- in kaizen the focus is not to cross off activities from a to-do list. Rather, it’s to aim for ongoing improvement through baby steps.
- one of the most important parts of the kaizen process is tracking progress. Not only is it motivating to look back over previous weeks and months to see how your behaviors have changed, it also brings into focus things where you need to improve.
- The beauty of kaizen is that it’s a flexible and personalized approach to lifelong change – so be mindful of what works for you. Staying aware of your feelings and behaviors will help you identify when it’s time to step back.
- Most importantly, remember not to get caught up in end goals. The kaizen approach is to focus your attention toward continuous improvement.