Kaizen is a Japanese term that translates into continuous improvement.
The philosophy behind Kaizen is to establish momentum towards anything you desire as a goal or outcome by making steady, incremental forward progress each and everyday. It is the tiniest of decisions and actions, stacked up over the days, weeks & months that create a snowball effect through the power of compounding factors.
Say that it’s a new year and you decide to take a single penny and double it each and every day of this new year.
By the end of January your efforts (through the power of compounding) would accumulate to a whopping $21,474,836.47.
You can imagine the absurd numbers that you would achieve as you progress.
Of course this is an imagined scenario as there is no known way to increase a monetary investment like this, but the lesson holds great value.
In relation to health & fitness, the Kaizen approach fits like a glove.
Every new year, commercial gyms, health food stores and vitamin/supplement companies see a spike in business. People generally see this new year as a renewal and fresh start to finally get on track with their physical goals.
Losing weight or building muscle and strength can seem like tremendously daunting tasks. You may plot out your diet or training program, planning exactly what you will eat, all the exercises, sets and reps you will be doing and depending upon your frame of reference you may feel inspired, overwhelmed, or maybe a little of both.
Unfortunately oftentimes a few weeks later a huge portion of these new years revolutionist’s fall back into old habits.
Why is that?
It could be because they attempted to change habits whole-sale, completely altering their diets, or possibly they went from virtually no exercise to training like a ti-athlete virtually overnight.
Maybe they just weren’t seeing the results they expected fast enough.
Inspired, lasting change needs to be built and sustained. It takes some time to see results, but not as much time as you think.
Momentum is slow to build, but quick to proliferate.
Tragically, people often quit when the are on the cusp of a breakthrough. If they would just keep pushing a little further, just doing the basics, just improving in tiny fractions (as simple as one less potato chip, a walk down the street, adding a little distance each day) these seemingly insignificant actions magnify and strengthen to eventual huge breakthroughs.
Next time we will look at some other examples of how to establish your own individual Kaizen habits.