Small actions help us overcome resistance to change.
The actions should be so small that they seem odd and bizarre. Most people think that small actions lead to slow results but kaizen steps may be slow but they often lead to rapid change.
People struggle with kaizen steps because they are too easy. We have that cultural training that change must be instant, painful and require steely discipline. Kaizen requires that we be patient and trust that every step we take breaks resistance and leads us to the next step, which will lead to our desired goal.
Small steps build up to a steady program which is often the opposite of the usual pattern in which a person starts with a burst of activity for a few weeks and then returns to the starting point. According to the author, surveys suggest that typical new year resolutions are repeated ten years in a row, with a quarter being abandoned within 15 weeks to be picked up again the next year.
Using kaizen steps may seem slow but the progress is steady and it builds up till you reach the point of mastery.
I have struggled with this aspect of Kaizen the most, but I also have come to embrace it. Things take time.
We humans like to do things fast, get our results instantly and “blow”. But life shows us how unrealistic that plan is. No matter how hurried a woman is she has to wait 36 – 40 weeks to birth a full-term baby. The farmer must wait the appropriate time to harvest crops. As much as we love hacks, boot camps and shortcuts, we can’t apply them to many things in life.
My advice then to myself and anyone listening is to give things time. Embrace the journey, enjoy the person you are becoming on your way to achieving that goal.