I bet you can guess what constitutes a micro goal. It’s the tiniest win you can imagine when you’re building sustainable weight loss habits. Whether it’s new habits of thought or behavior, small wins compound to create big results over time.
It’s like climbing a staircase one step at a time until you reach the top.
But Kaizen? The Kaizen way? I bet you’ve probably never heard of that idea.
Kaizen is the Japanese word that can be interpreted as continuous improvement or change for the better. Using the staircase analogy again, you can think of it as a philosophical approach to the old adage of “taking it one step at a time.”
While in Japan Kaizen is typically applied to business practices, the principles can work like a charm for sustainable weight loss too.
Here are some key Kaizen principles to consider as you choose your micro goals:
- Keep your mind open to change.
- Question everything, especially things that you’ve “always done that way.”
- See problems as opportunities.
- Gain wisdom by facing hardships and trying different solutions.
- Maintain a positive attitude so you can see solutions and opportunities, even in the unlikeliest of places.
- There’s always a next move you can make toward improvement. Even a 1% improvement is worth the effort.
- Think of how you can do “it”, not how you can’t.
- Change starts from within. Cultivate motivation, persistence, resilience, consistency and discipline.
- Decisions must be data driven. Measure and track to assess assumptions. You can only improve things you can measure.
- Learn by taking action. You can’t create change by theoretical knowledge alone.
- Take the first step toward your goal. Aim at the 50%. Adjust based on feedback.
- Mistakes and failures are feedback, not to be feared. Make corrections as soon as possible.
- Implementing change begins with mindset.
- 1% better = improvement.
The most important concept for you to remember is that big results come from making small changes over time with an open mind.
Your ability to make small changes over time starts in your brain.
Since creation, your brain has been programmed to keep you alive and healthy enough to procreate and pass on your DNA to future generations. It functions according to the principles of the motivational triad:
- Seek pleasure
- Avoid pain
- Conserve energy
It prefers the status quo. The fewer disruptions to what’s working the better.
Your brain resists changes because they are perceived as threats to your well-being and safety.
Remember the brain’s negativity bias, it’s predisposition to perceive trouble in order to protect you from danger.
When you initiate a change, you’re interrupting the “normal” routine your brain has come to expect and rely upon.
Your brain uses your routines and habits to run on auto-pilot.
It’s humming along without a care in the world as long as long as you’re following the tried and true. Think about it for a minute, how do those routines and habits feel? Familiar. Comfortable. Cozy. SAFE.
When we attempt to make changes, particularly dramatic ones, your brain engages that ‘fight or flight’ response. Governed by the amygdala, that primitive part of your brain lurches into gear to protect you from any impending catastrophes.
Choose small steps for the win when you shift your thinking and behaviors.
To support your weight loss efforts, avoid making any dramatic ‘lifestyle changes’ immediately.
Focus instead on changing one small thing at a time.
Let’s think about how we can keep your brain from freaking out by keeping change at the micro level.
Here are ten micro changes that won’t send your brain into an automatic anxiety spiral.
Consider choosing one or more of these options to support your weight loss efforts.
- Open your frig and pantry. Toss away any expired or spoiled items.
- Reorganize your frig and pantry.
- Put items you want to use front and center, at eye level.
- Put items you keep to satisfy the tastes of others in your household higher or lower and behind your preferred foods.
- Group like items. Consider creating a quick dinner food shelf/zone or a lunch shelf/zone in the frig or pantry.
- Clean up your spice rack. Put front and center your most often used items. Sniff older ones. If the fragrance is gone, it’s time to go.
- Plan your meals in advance.
- Make a grocery list of healthy staples you’ll need for the week and save it on your phone.
- Schedule shopping after you eat so you’re not shopping hangry.
- Try batch cooking. Prep enough for two or three meals. Carve out time to batch cook.
- Add another serving of fruits or vegetables to your daily meal.
- Remove sweets from your desk or work area.
- Cut back on regular or diet soda consumption. By the day or by the week.
Ask yourself what next step could you take to make your next result 1% better than before.
Let’s work together to apply Kaizen to your weight loss efforts.
Reach out to me right here to schedule your free Strategy Call.
We’ll talk about all the micro changes you can make starting today to work toward your weight loss goal.
One step at a time, 1% at a time, you will be on your way toward success.
Please share this post with people you know who might appreciate applying Kaizen principles to weight loss.
P.S. Just for fun, check out Whole 30 founder Melissa Urban’s frig tour. She shares some inspiration and easy meal prep ideas. Discover some ways you can improve meal planning by at least 1%!