Setting Kaizen S.M.A.R.T. goals & Making new habits
Are you having difficulty reaching your goals?
Do you easily get discouraged?
Do you have a goal of setting up your new website/writing that book/preparing that program, but the mere idea is so daunting you keep putting it off?
Have you ever set your sights on losing 5 pounds or 10kg, and 3 weeks in you’re not seeing the results you want (because they’re UNREALISTIC) and so you give up?
Does everything seem like an uphill struggle?
To the summit
As with many things, maybe you need a strategy. Businesses use them all the time and so why shouldn't we? I don't know about you, but I want to be in charge of 'Myself Ltd.' I am my own CEO and so I'm going to use all the tools necessary to aid me on my journey.
An analogy: You know, if you're going to hike up to 3000m in the snow, you've got to plan for it. If you've never hiked further than 5km before in your life or you've never even hiked in snow, you need to start off gradually and build up your strength. Then you need the right equipment, so you speak to the people who can advise you and then you buy it. YOU PREPARE FOR IT. So why should any other goals be any different?
That's me by the way, snow-shoeing my way up a mountain. :)
KAI = Good ZEN = Change KAIZEN = Making continual change for the better
'Kaizen' is a business strategy, which is also often used in coaching. It is basically the strategy of setting very small, short and REACHABLE goals, one after another, until you reach your ULTIMATE goal. I like to think of them as 'ant goals', as in teeny. :) When you set yourself a really small and achievable goal, the chances are you will do even more than what you initially set out to do!
In the coaching world you will often hear about SMART goals. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. Let's take a look.
What do you want to achieve exactly? Be specific. Example: "I want to lose 10 kg."
How will you know that you are making progress or have reached your goal? "My jeans will feel loser...I'll be able to walk up a flight of stairs easier...it will show on the scales."
Is your goal realistically attainable? Is it something that is DOABLE for you right now? Is this what you really want? An example of a non-attainable goal might be, "I want to change my lifestyle and lose 5 kg over the Christmas holidays..." Or, "I want to get my book published but I haven't finished writing it yet and I've got my website to finish first...."
Is your goal relevant to your needs and abilities? What is the reason behind your goal and if you reach it, will you have obtained the root objective? An example of a relevant goal might be, "I want to lose weight so I'll have more energy, lower my cholesterol/risk of diabetes, feel better about myself." Non-relevant might be, "If I lose this extra weight I'll be more likely to find a partner and then I'll finally be happy." Will losing weight really make you more likely to find a partner and if so, will that really make you happy?
Give yourself a timeline and deadline, preferably one not too far off. Some simple lifestyle goals might be: "This week I'm going to prepare myself a salad every day." "In 2 weeks' time I would like to have lost 3 pounds." (Remember that weight loss is more easily maintained when it happens slowly. 1-2 pounds [0.5-1 kg] per week is good! We're in this for the long haul, not the short one!) "By the end of the month I'll be walking 10,000 steps 6 days a week."
BE LIKE A LITTLE ANT.
I like to take S.M.A.R.T. goals and break them up into 'Kaizen' ones.
Take your big goal and break it up into teeny, digestible ones.
Take them ONE BY ONE.
Look at nothing longer than a couple of weeks. A couple of months is too long for a micro-goal.
Set a prize for yourself for when you reach your goal. It could be that new book you’ve been thinking about getting, or a new top or a bag of almonds to make vegan cheese, just promise yourself SOMETHING and write it down, “I, (fill in the blank), promise to gift myself that new recipe book that I want (but don’t need) when I (fill in the blank).”
Reach your teeny goal. Remember, you’ve chosen something DOABLE. So you WILL reach it. (If you don't, you need to look at why not.)
If it's a lifestyle goal (eating better, losing weight etc., make that teeny goal into a habit. KEEP ON DOING IT. A salad 5 times a week? When the second week comes around you’re not off the hook. Go for a second week. And a third. MAKE IT INTO A HABIT.
Add another small goal.
Make that into a habit too.
So what's your Kaizen goal for next week?
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