Usually applied within organisations, bringing exceptional results to companies that incorporate it into their culture and strategy, the KAIZEN™ philosophy can also be adopted in one's own personal life and can be the key to success during the current uncertain period.
The very first step when implementing continuous improvement in your personal life is to define your goals. Historically, human nature leads to overly ambitious goal setting, both in quantity and quality. In other words, too many goals are set and unrealistic results are established. For example, if one of the goals is to exercise and you currently do not exercise at all, it may be too ambitious to want to do a daily 60-minute workout on your own.
Therefore, it is crucial to set small goals as opposed to trying to change everything in a short period of time. The key is to focus on what is truly important. The unconscious mind is the so-called “goal getter” and so it is crucial to be able to count the milestones on your fingers and know them by heart. Similarly, for companies, personal goals should be structured in a SMART format, i.e.:
Measurable, with meaning
Attainable, as if now (written in the present)
Realistic, responsible (aligned with the person's values)
Monitoring and Analysis
Then there is the difficulty of creating new routines. Habits are developed by action and not by planning and learning. Besides this need for action and repetition, the creation of new habits is usually difficult as it takes people out of their comfort zone and initially presents more difficulties than benefits. The reason for this is that, at the beginning, getting up earlier to exercise, choosing to read a book instead of watching a series or limiting time on social networks, will be painful and will force you to develop resilience. The lack of monitoring of intermediate results accentuates this difficulty, which can result in frustration and consequently the abandonment of the goals.
Therefore it is essential to measure progress over time. To do so, one must start by defining the success indicators for the decisions made and how to transform these into quantifiable and objective indicators. Next, it is necessary to set aside time, for example every week, to measure the indicator, to see whether it is within reach and, if it is not, to think of actions to correct it.
Setting SMART goals and ensuring good monitoring and analysis of progress is the principle for using KAIZEN™ for personal development. This is a continuous process that goes on year-after-year, and so it is essential that it is implemented critically but without self-criticism.