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Goals: The Kaizen Effect

We all have goals. Some could be for today in particular and some are for the distant future. There are goals that we believe are achievable and then there are those goals that one may consider to be quite far-fetched.

At some level, we are all searching for something bigger than what we are at our core being. When people ask us,” Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?” we may not always have an answer but somewhere deep down within there is something, some idea/ vision that is steering us to that particular harbour.

Abiding by our so called “New Year’s Resolution” is also a goal we set for ourselves but how successful have we been? How many of us have genuinely fulfilled our resolutions for the year? Chances are, most of us haven’t. I have realised that I set quite unrealistic goals for myself, not that they were not achievable but I realised that there were smaller goals that I needed to achieve that would act as stepping stones to the ultimate goal.

It’s when I read about the Kaizen concept that I understood where I was going wrong. Kaizen is a Japanese concept and it talks about ‘continual improvement’- it is about taking small measures/steps consistently in the direction of our goal and that would eventually contribute to our success

Here are a few instances where the understanding of Kaizen could come into action:

1) Wanting to wake up at 5am- I find getting up early such a tedious task but I am trying to start my days in a more productive manner with an early morning meditation session. Waking up 15 minutes earlier than I usually do and increasing it by another 15 minutes every week is gradually changing my body clock and I seem to be getting acclimatised to this change.

2) Running a marathon- For instance if someone wants to run a 5-kilometres marathon, to prepare for it he or she should start small. Consistently run for about 2 to 3 kilometres for a while and keep increasing your end point by ½ a kilometre every week.

3) Cultivating a habit of reading- There are so many ways in which books enrich our lives. If someone is not quite a reader but wants to cultivate that habit, he or she could start with small 100-200-word articles on topics that interest them. Eventually, after continual reading of articles they could shift to short stories and finally to reading voraciously as books begin to pique their interests.

Continual improvement can work wonders and the joy of finally achieving your goal after consistent efforts brings about a unique feeling of satisfaction! In addition to all this, we may face setbacks when trying to achieve a certain goal head on. Instead, making use of the concept of Kaizen would not only boost our self-confidence but would further urge and keep us determined to achieve our goals and convert our visions into reality :)

Kaizen really resonated with me and I hope that this article inspired you in some way!


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