Self-Improvement: The Kaizen Method 101
It’s easy to focus on the things about your spouse that drive you crazy. If only they’d change their ways! Even if they need to make some changes, the only real way to improve your marriage is to work on yourself, not your spouse. With 2021 right around the corner, the Kaizen method might be just what the doctor ordered to become a better person and, therefore, have a better relationship with your partner.
It Doesn’t Have To Be So Hard
What if becoming the better version of yourself didn’t have to be so hard? What if it didn’t have to involve so many setbacks and disappointments? What if it could be rewarding every step (well, almost every step) of the way instead of being filled with so much self-doubt?
The Kaizen method
Let me introduce you to the Kaizen method. Let’s be honest: personal growth is a marathon; results take time. The Kaizen method is perfect for this kind of process because of its slow and steady approach, not quick results or instant gratification.
Some people are wired to make radical, massive change; there’s nothing wrong with that approach at all. But other people are wired differently and respond better to the Kaizen method, which focuses on consistent, bite-sized chunks of improvement that add up to long-term change.
The One Percent Rule
Kaizen is referred to by many as the one percent rule because instead of trying to make changes in HUGE leaps and bounds, you take one small action daily that eventually transforms your life or situation.
The method was developed as a business model to promote lean manufacturing. Perhaps you’ve heard it referred to as the “The Toyota Way.” Toyota adopted and applied the principles of Kaizen to ensure quality control and to achieve transformation within the auto industry in Japan.
Massive Action versus Kaizen
Whereas Kaizen focuses on slow and steady transformation, the opposite approach, which often fails, attempts to make drastic changes quickly. Severe calorie restriction would be an example, versus eating healthier and reducing calorie consumption by 200-300 calories a day to lose weight gradually over time, which is easier to manage and maintain. Making drastic, radical changes can make transformation harder to achieve.
Focusing on getting just a little bit better today than you were the day before is an approach that yields massive results in the end because of its compounding effect.
Kaizen and Personal Growth
Although initially developed as a business model, the Kaizen method applies to personal growth and development. It isn’t uncommon for people to get lost in a state of excitement when making goals and resolutions. Being excited is good! Biting off more than you can chew isn’t. Kaizen eliminates the ups and down of that overzealous approach by identifying and focusing on one small thing you can improve today or this week.
Instead of taking too much on all at once where you risk getting overwhelmed and burned out, the Kaizen method helps you focus instead on taking small but consistent actions right now.
Reality vs. Fantasy
There is no “secret” that will suddenly change your life or make everything better. Life change, becoming a better partner for your spouse, is a simple process that begins with choosing an area of your life you want to improve and then taking small steps to improve it every day. Constant and never-ending improvement wins the race; overnight transformation is a fantasy.
The Kaizen method is a process, not a goal; it’s taking action every day in some small way to become a better version of yourself. So it’s not as much about achieving something as it is about becoming something. As you improve, so will your relationship with your romantic partner.