Applying Kaizen to Habits & Patterns

Why the Little Parts of My Routine Are Most Important

Applying Kaizen principles to habits and patterns we have developed can yield tangible results. For example, when people want to lose weight, they will typically focus on a few “big” things. That means their diet, for instance, and it means the amount they exercise. Most of us will then conclude we need to exercise a little more and eat a little less. Thus, we may end up lifting weights or running a few times a week, and eating bland fat-free meals in the evenings.

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But very often, this doesn’t result in the kind of results that you want to see. And why is that? It comes down to the fact that you will very often miss out on what actually matters more: the details. This is the “Kaizen” approach – making small changes to see massive results.

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Why Workouts Often Don’t Work Out

Too much, too soon! Here’s the problem with going for a run or lifting weights: that is 40 minutes three or four times a week. That’s maybe 160 minutes per week.

There are 10,080 minutes in a week. That is a tiny splash in the ocean!

And if I’m not seeing the weight loss I want to, then there is a good chance that the other aspects of my life aren’t particularly active. 

Maybe I sit in an office at work. Perhaps I drive to and from that office, spending a chunk of time commuting. Are my evenings spent sitting on the couch watching Netflix?

Either way, I’m not really moving much. Meaning I’m not burning many calories, and my metabolism is slow. What if I switched things up and applied Kaizen theory to my habits?

Simply adding a little exercise and eating fewer calories isn’t going to result in a body transformation when my lethargy is endemic! 

This is where Kaizen comes in: the process of focussing on the small details that add up to a LOT. 

For example, maybe I could start walking to and from the bus a stop further? That might only be a 6-minute walk, but when I do it both ways, five times a week, it becomes 60 minutes of extra activity!

Likewise, I could decide to take the stairs instead of the lift, burning extra calories each time I do. As we develop small Kaizen style habits and apply them to create new patterns we begin to gain confidence that we really can change and overcome.

Maybe I decide to take up one physical activity in the week – like a game of ball with the dog. Also, I could choose to get up 5 minutes earlier and stretch.

And it’s these small changes throughout my day and week that add up. And THAT is how I plan to see a body transformation. Mine. Applying Kaizen to habits and patterns is a non-stressful plan for overcoming where we feel stuck.

Moreover, as I am being open and real with my plans and goals, I want to encourage you to embrace the parts that make sense to you.

Here’s a little project you can take with you and start today! Are you ready to Kaizen your habits?

Kaizen for Fitness – A 10 Minute Full Body Workout With One Dumbbell

Kaizen means making small changes that can add up to significant improvements in your life. In fitness, that often means using short workouts that can be just as impactful, but require a whole lot less time and effort. The result? You’re far more likely to do it and to stick to it.

This workout will train your full body, and it only takes ten minutes. All you need is a single dumbbell.

 So if you have a few spare, why not give it a go now? 

And it takes just three movements:  

Exercise One: One-Handed Dumbbell Squats

To start, you’ll be performing 10 squats with a dumbbell hanging in front of you. Keep your arm hanging down the middle between your legs, squat directly downwards, and then push up through your legs.

Exercise Two: Dumbbell Swing

Now, while still squatting, you’re going to start swinging the dumbbell directly upwards. This is essentially the same as a kettlebell swing, with the obvious difference being that you’re using a dumbbell, not a kettlebell. The movement is excellent for your legs, for your core, and for your shoulders, and it’s also brilliant cardio.

Exercise Three: Half Burpee

Now you’re going to put your dumbbell down and perform half burpees. This means you start on all fours and then jump forward with your legs close to your hands and then out into press-up position. In other words, this is a burpee without the jumping part at the end. This is another great one that involves cardio, that trains the abs, and that works the pecs and upper body.

Completing the Workout

To complete this workout, you’re going to perform ten repetitions on each exercise. Once you’ve done that, you’re going to switch immediately to the other side and do another round. Then you’re going to pause for fifteen seconds and go again!

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The astute among you may have noticed that this doesn’t target every muscle group. Sure, there’s no bicep curl in there and nothing for your rear deltoids. However, these are highly compound movements that will have an anabolic effect. 

Meanwhile, the whole body is working in unison through each of the exercises. When you combine these factors, you have a workout that involves the entire body to at least some extent and which encourages growth for that reason.

 Sometimes you don’t need to target a body part precisely to trigger growth – you need to shock the whole system into action.

Lastly, don’t rely on this workout; use this as something a bit different, and as a lesson in creating training with low resources. No excuses! That’s what makes applying Kaizen to habits and patterns a simple transition. We quickly see the ‘thing’ is small and we can just do it instead of making excuses!

How To Apply Kaizen in Your Relationships

As we have discussed, Kaizen is the Japanese concept of incremental improvement. It means making small daily changes that add up over time to represent considerable differences in your life. The idea comes from manufacturing, where making a slight improvement can result in massive changes that can impact profits in a positive way.

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In this post, and other recent post I shared how this post and other same Kaizen strategy is often applied to self-care, weight loss, exercise, productivity, and finance.

But what about relationships? How can we apply this concept to one of the things that matter most in life?

Patterns

One piece of advice that any new couple should heed is this: be cautious of the patterns and habits you fall into.

What many of us don’t realize is that relationships – like people – are very much habitual. The habits we set down early on, in terms of the balance of power, or the roles each of us take on at particular times can last a lifetime.

For example, if you pick your partner up from work on the way home once, this is very likely to become a habit. If your husband goes into another room one evening to work rather than watch Netflix with you, this is very likely to become a habit.

This is all fine as long as they’re things you’re happy with. The problem is breaking patterns and habits that you aren’t satisfied with.

The answer? Kaizen. Small steps add up to a big difference.

These habits can be broken just as they can be learned, but you need to start with a small step.

 For example, you might one night explain that you need a change in a particular pattern that has set in. Start with instituting that change one time that week.

Wait a week and do the same thing again. Then do two nights in a row. Before long, a new habit can be set.

Diagnostics in Applying Kaizen to Habits

Another way to apply Kaizen to relationships is in a diagnostic sense of continual improvement. In other words, you can look at your current relationship and identify critical areas where things could be improved. Then find small ways to do that.

This doesn’t need to mean pointing the finger at someone! It could rather mean deciding you both want to spend more time together and therefore finding small opportunities to do that. 

Likewise, it could mean deciding to do more exciting things, and so maybe making a small change – like banning television just one night of the week.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

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