Have You Heard Of Kaizen? A One Minute Principle

Have you heard of this one-minute principle founded by Masaaki Imai? Kaizen is a beautiful Japanese method used to improve your life in all ways. Be it your personal life, home life, social life, or work life - whichever you choose to create change in.

Kaizen means a change for the better. The centre of this concept is the idea that anything can be done if it takes only one minute.

We have goals and dreams that should take priority in our lives, but for a person like me, a mom with a never-ending to-do list, my dreams and goals tend to fall behind. Sometimes you just don’t know if you can commit to a task, or you don’t know where to start, or maybe you’ve started but don’t have the will power to continue. This is where the concept of Kaizen comes to play.

The simple method behind Kaizen is to carry out the task you’ve been meaning to do, or an activity that’s been on your mind, and do it every day for just sixty seconds, at around the same time.

Say you’ve been wanting to workout for the past couple of months but had not found the time to do so, try working out for just one minute. Set the timer to 60 seconds and do consecutive burpees or jumping jacks (for example). And then do it every other day after that.

Because one minute is so short, almost anyone would be up for it. If someone were to approach me right now and asked me to do something that will only take sixty seconds, I honestly will not be able to find an excuse for it - compared to if the task takes up 30 minutes or more.

With this, you are more likely to complete the task, and maybe do them for more than one minute once you’ve gotten yourself going (and feel like you’ve over accomplished it). Your efficiency and interest in the previously dreaded task will also increase as you go along.

Once you have built the habit of doing that same thing every day, you’ll be more open to ramp up your task for 5 minutes or more. There’s just so much joy and satisfaction achieved when you’ve completed a particular task that you used to procrastinate over and over.

This allows you to achieve what you want to achieve, even when you "don’t have the time for it" - and allowing you to gain small victories every day. If you don’t know how to start, you can start by making a list of small activities you’ve always wanted to do but have been putting it off for some time.

This is mine (I have been delaying them because I always feel like they take up a lot of my time):

  1. Practice Mandarin for one minute

  2. Paint for one minute

  3. Clean the pantry for one minute

There’s a proverb in Malay that I love, sedikit-sedikit lama-lama jadi bukit, which means that if you do something small consistently, at the end of the day you'll achieve something big. In other words, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - you’ll need to start somewhere to get somewhere.

Have you practised Kaizen? What have you achieved so far? P.S. Taking Things A Day At A Time


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