Kaizen: The Japanese Way To Better Fitness Results
Today I wanted to write about something super trendy a few years ago, and I think it's time to reclaim it from the waste-land of the forgotten.
It's called Kaizen (pronounced KI-zen). Originally a philosophy that emerged from the Japanese business community. However, it's a concept that can have a far-reaching impact when applied to your fitness and wellness goals, too!
Don't let the aspirational and intense sounding name intimidate you … It's one of the most systematically simple ways to create and continually build healthy habits into your life!
If you've heard of it before, then good for you for being observant! Hopefully, you're a master at it by now. If not, that's alright because I'm devoting this month toward driving a reboot of our healthy habits. That's because there are a ton of us trying to get back on track after this Coronavirus pandemic.
Anyway, Kaizen is a proven principle that, if followed, helps one build new habits. It's so successfully reliable and it doesn't take a tremendous amount of willpower or discipline to get started or maintain.
You begin out with small, easy-to-make changes … Then you reinforce those changes by remaining consistent and tweaking your plan just a little more every day or every week.
Those small, repetitive steps don't just start you on your path; they also help you build a strong foundation for designing a healthy lifestyle you can sustain over time!
By now, I'm sure the entire concept sounds useful to you, but you may be wondering, "what does Kaizen mean on a practical level?"
Well, let me offer a few examples.
Let's assume that you want to restart a workout routine you let drop by the wayside, but picking it up right where you left off feels a bit overwhelming to you.
That's nothing to be ashamed of, especially now. There has been so much change, uncertainty, and upheaval over these past few months. So much, that many of us are feeling overwhelmed. However, what if you committed to starting with a 10-minute walk? Then tomorrow, you could do 11 minutes, then the next, perhaps day 12?
See where I am going with this?
You could continue on this trajectory until you reached 30 minutes, or whatever number of minutes you expended on exercise. Before you know it, BAM! You've returned to your previous form and function. Who knows? Maybe you even decide to layer in some jogging intervals.
Or let's say you're more into strength training. What's to stop you from starting with just one set of exercises instead of the usual three?
You could even apply the Kaizen philosophy toward your goal of eating a healthier diet. An easy way to start here is to focus on boosting the overall nutritional content of a specific meal or snack … From there, you focus on another meal or snack, and another. In theory, you could get your breakfast under control, or your afternoon snack, and then move on from there.
What I'm suggesting is that you start with something that doesn't require a massive amount of effort or time, and devote yourself to slowly and systematically building up your "habit muscles" from there. This simple process is the basics of Kaizen!
Does that all make sense?
It doesn't have to be ALL OR NOTHING. Give the stoic "I'm a loser," brooding a break and start small. But, start "something" now! Don't wait any longer.
There's never going to be a "perfect" time to work on your health and fitness. And, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I don't think we will be returning to our old routines of "normalcy" any time soon.
So, with all respect, I say — Suck it up, buttercup. And keep moving toward a better you. Always.
Let me know what you think about this idea of Kaizen in the comments below! I use Kaizen all of the time in my life. And, as always, If you're looking for help getting back on track toward your healthy lifestyle, I'm here for you.
Now, get out there and make it a fantastic day!