On a very basic level, self-improvement is a drive we all share as human beings. We see the potential within ourselves and work toward becoming the best self we can.
Though there are countless practices that exist to enlighten and reveal possibilities, some require complex changes in our lifestyle. But don’t worry — we won’t be suggesting anything complex here!
The Kaizen method is a simple philosophy that is built from seeing possibilities in everything and always striving toward betterment. Something that we at ZENB try to live by.
The Kaizen Method
Developed by the manufacturing sector in the years following WWII, the Kaizen method emerged from Japanese quality circles that were responsible for preventing car defects at Toyota. The Kaizen method was the company's answer for the betterment of their product.
Since then, the Kaizen method has been adopted by numerous industries who have implemented the philosophy to great results.
We know what you’re thinking: what in the world does car manufacturing have to do with self-improvement?
The word “kaizen” is a compound word that translates from Japanese to "good change" and "improvement," and, for practitioners, it has come to represent the idea of continuous improvement. It’s making small changes as the building blocks for larger, long-lasting results.
Kaizen, despite its history and usefulness in the business world, has infinite applications to one's personal life, as well.
The 5 core of values of Kaizen include:
- Know Your Customer
- Let It Flow (with a goal of zero waste)
- Go To Gemba (Japanese for “to the place” and referring to where value is created)
- Empower People
- Be Transparent
A tenet of the method tells us that the possibility of improvement is always present. With this mindset, great feats can be achieved, and anything is possible.
Here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm ways that small improvements can make a big difference:
Know Your Customer: Know Yourself
If you want to eat less meat and adopt a plant-based lifestyle, know that this goal doesn't have to be achieved all in one sitting. Instead, know your body and self, and take small steps toward change in a way that your body can adapt comfortably, like cutting out meat one day a week for Meatless Monday.
Let it Flow: Shop and Cook with Sustainability in Mind
Small steps toward sustainability will add up over time, especially once the practice of buying and cooking with the goal of reducing food waste becomes a natural instinct. Plus, you’ll know that you are not just bettering your body, but you’re contributing less to the global problem of food waste.
Go to Gemba: Develop a Movement Practice
Focus on moving in ways that make your body truly happy. Consider yoga, tai chi, or creative dance to lift your spirits as you ground your physical body in its path toward betterment. Even stopping for a good stretch first thing in the morning is a wonderful start.
Empower People: Discover a Healthy Balance
Small improvements can add up to big changes in your healthy lifestyle. While we work on these small changes, we may find that we forget about other areas in our life, which can stunt our personal growth. It may be helpful to keep a habit tracker to remind yourself of your goals and the things you’ve already accomplished. Most of all, enjoy the journey.
Be Transparent: Cooking in Your Own Home
Preparing your own meals at home is a great way to increase awareness as to what exactly is in the foods you eat. Start small with simple and easy meals that allow you to explore the ingredients thoroughly as you develop your healthy cooking habits.
Making these types of small efforts will help more than just yourself. Over time, with gentleness and patience, you’ll discover a new level of growth and wellness. In turn, you will inspire those around you and little by little, those small changes may even help the world around you.