By Fattima Mahdi
We are nearing the end of January and many of us are already deflated. We’ve stopped getting up early. We’ve stopped exercising. We’ve started smoking again. Creating a new habit can be a struggle and even if the motivation is there to get started, it tends to fade away before you have achieved any substantial results. Do you want to make any habit stick without the initial struggles and even without motivation? Well, according to the Japanese approach – Kaizen, you will be equipped to do just that.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming was an American engineer who went to Japan after World War II. He taught statistical processes to leaders in prominent Japanese businesses such as Toyota and Honda. He introduced key principles that detailed how to improve the quality process and despite popular belief, he was convinced that big changes are not necessary. “Don’t change too much at once, instead focus on the extremely small things that can be improved upon every single day.” Deming’s core belief was simple: “A constant, never-ending commitment to consistently increase the quality of their business every single day.” In essence, many small changes over time led to huge progress.
So, how can you apply this Kaizen approach to your own life? You can start by making small insignificant changes that are easy to implement and help to create a new habit. If the thought of exercising regularly or eating healthier foods is too much to ask for, start by putting on your gym shoes and standing still on the treadmill for 30 seconds. Or, put one less sugar cube in your coffee or tea in the morning. By employing these simple changes, you will trick the brain into overcoming a mental barrier – the fear of failure.