Kaizen method: how to smoothly change your habits?

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Kaizen means "change" or "improvement" in Japanese. The Kaizen method helps to identify bad habits and correct them little by little with very small actions. Smooth and progressive, it allows you to modify physical habits before moving on to more emotional aspects of life.

The expression "Kaizen" is the contraction of the Japanese terms Kai (change) and Zen (better). It is a continuous evolutionary process that is based on small improvements that are repeated every day. What are the fundamental principles of the Kaizen method? Sarah Harvey, author of "Kaizen, the Japanese method of small steps to change all your habits" enlightens us.

1. Analyze your habits

Kaizen Step One: Take a step back, analyze your current behavior. Habits are not inherently bad, they are even essential to our daily functioning. The flip side is that sometimes we tend to take refuge in them without thinking about their effects and consequences.

In practice

Take stock of their habits by drawing a diagram or columns on a sheet of paper. If you do not feel like tackling every area of your life, just pick one, two, or three to get started. For each area, take an inventory, take an inventory, possibly with the help of keeping a journal.

Ask yourself the right questions: for example, what triggers my bad habit (rushing through chocolate at the slightest discomfort), what reward do I get for this behavior (appeasement thanks to increased serotonin)?

2. Decide to change

It is about questioning behavior and deciding what changes to make. They are often related to a way of life that you want to change or improve: lack of exercise, lack of sleep, poor diet.

Take a new sheet and, for each area, ask yourself if you are satisfied and if not, if you are doing your best to change this. Think about what you can do to change the situation.

If, for example, you decide to take a walk, set a route on your commute or another daily commute during which you will walk more; Next, establish a specific route to walk and gradually lengthen it.

"Do not forget to add a new projects area (learn new skills) in order to set yourself some encouraging and exciting challenges."

3. Establish a roadmap

It is about planning small, incremental steps - gradual, continuous change is more effective than sudden upheaval.

In practice

Once the project is determined, think about the small steps that need to be implemented to make this change, the time frame, but also the goal of ultimate success. Do not hesitate to discuss this project with a third person, who can encourage and motivate you if necessary, or even support you in your project.

4. Follow your own pace

Periods of doubt and decreased motivation, or even failure in your goals, are normal. So you have to formulate your own goals and follow your own pace.

In practice

Be kind to yourself and your progress. Follow this progress using apps and post it on a board with lots of colorful post-it notes.

To guarantee the continuity of the practice:

Anticipating obstacles (for example, do not try to limit your alcohol consumption just before going on vacation with friends),

Celebrate your success by tracking your progress, start small on your goals,

Stay modest: if after a difficult day you do not feel the courage to run the planned 5 km, just walk, the goal will be repeated a little later.

The effectiveness and limitations of the method.

Kaizen and its principle of gradual and continuous improvement works well in the areas of health (food, sleep, etc.), work (workspace, studies, etc.), money (control of expenses, maintaining a budget), home ( classification, cleaning), relationships (social, friendly, romantic), new projects.

Limits are the ups and downs of life, stressful situations or major disorders (moving, changing jobs), and things we cannot control (illness of a loved one).

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