3 Personal Kaizen steps to never stop improving

We have already talked about the Kaizen methodology and how it has been a success for many companies and their production areas. We have seen benefits, doubts and even some cons that the methodology can have when it is applied in large scale in big companies. In summary, we can all agree that the methodology has helped the companies in great ways to improve their products or services and to continuously grow and improve their processes.

Well, David Kiger thought that this could also work for a person, for a sport or even for daily things that happen to anybody anywhere. Yes, Kaizen can be applied to our own lives as a way to continuously improve everything around us and use it as a personal improvement program. But how? Some people may ask. This approach is only used in big companies or companies that need to improve their processes how can it be applied to people´s lives? Here is how.

Let’s understand that Long-term commitment is something that impacts in anybody´s life. All of us need long term commitment for anything we want to do in life. So, since one the main principles of Kaizen is that approach where there is a daily, continuous, steady assessment and activities in order to improve in the long-term, it can also be applied to human beings.  And as some companies will tell you, the Kaizen methodology requires a great amount of commitment and a strong willingness to change. As in your daily life, you need to do little changes to things everyday so you can see results in the long term.

Take for example a diet. The person has to do little changes in his or her eating habits so in 6 months or a year, the overall result is a healthy weight loss.  So, as in Kaizen, the need for big, sudden improvements doesn’t exist. Instead, it is about the small things that add up to great improvements. Kaizen philosophy also states that any long journey begins with a single step and any big change begins with a small one. The idea is to keep moving forward.

Kaizen_index card_Kaizen Institute_David Kiger
Image courtesy of Sacha Chua at Flickr.com

So here are some things that you can do to use Kaizen in your life and make those small changes that will take you to the big improvement in your life:

Keep diary, a scrapbook of ideas

When or where do the best ideas come to your head? I know people that have their best ideas on the bus ride or at the dinner table. Write them down, on napkins, Post-it notes, paper pieces around the house or office. Use your cellphone to record audio ideas, to get reminders on ideas on the near future or to take pictures of anything that can be a potential idea that can help you improve just a bit. Anything goes and if it not possible to write you can keep the flyers or brochures that fit in a folder.  Then, every now and then give the folder a look to the things and content and select what works and what is useless and why. If you are serious about your personal improvement, find a person or a coach or a group of persons that can also share their diary and try to get ideas from there for your life.  

Get out of your comfort zone

This is the one that best resembles the Kaizen philosophy. In Kaizen, the companies do not have to wait until things stop working or until there is a fault in the process. Instead, they are always looking at ways to improve even if things are working very well. It is the same as getting out of the corporate comfort zone. The same works for people. Very often people just stop improving and stay static in their lives because their jobs are good enough or there is nothing new to do. Well, try getting involved in different activities even though you don’t need it, participate in something creative that is just not the normal thing that everybody would do.  There is a saying that says “if you’re always comfortable, you probably are not moving”.

Go for long walks and record your thoughts and insights

Remember at the beginning of this article that I asked you when and where the best ideas come to your mind? Well, long walks are amazing for such a strategy.  It happens a lot with individual sports like running or swimming and it is that you are constantly snapping ideas to your head and your imagination is getting constantly stimulated. In this ways, ideas for new solutions come to your mind and really different approaches to things that you have always done the same way come to your mind. Just record them with your phone and then check them up to see what works and what doesn’t, like in the first tip.

Be sure to also read this post about The Best Examples Of Companies Using Kaizen In The Real World

* Featured Image courtesy of Unsplash at Pexels.com

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