Baby Steps

Baby Steps

February 28, 2024

Looking to Improve Your Personal Life? Embrace the Kaizen Philosophy

Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy centered around continuous improvement. It involves making small, incremental changes to processes, systems and behaviors to enhance efficiency, quality and productivity over time. For example, a healthcare provider may use kaizen to improve patient wait times by analyzing the flow of patients through their facility and identifying ways to reduce delays. Or a manufacturing company may use kaizen to identify and eliminate bottlenecks in its production process, improve product quality and reduce waste.

On an individual level, you can apply the kaizen philosophy to improve various aspects of your personal life. Here are seven tips:

  • Set Clear Goals

    • Identify specific areas you want to improve, whether it's health, learning a new skill, personal relationships or productivity.

  • Start Small

    • Break down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, if you aim to exercise regularly, start with a 10-minute workout each day and gradually increase it.

  • Be Consistent

    • Focus on making consistent, small improvements rather than sudden, drastic changes. For instance, if you want to read more, start by dedicating 15 minutes a day to reading and gradually increase the time.

  • Reflect and Adjust

    • Regularly review your progress. Reflect on what’s working and what’s not and adjust your approach accordingly. If a particular strategy isn’t yielding results, tweak it or try a different approach.

  • Continue Learning

    • Embrace a mindset of continuous learning and improvement. Seek new knowledge, skills and feedback to refine your approach.

  • Develop Habits

    • Transform beneficial actions into habits. Consistently practicing positive habits contributes significantly to long-term improvement.

  • Stay Patient and Persistent

    • Understand that change takes time. Stay patient and persistent, celebrating small victories along the way. For instance, if you want to improve your productivity, start by identifying one area where you can make a small change, like reorganizing your workspace. Then gradually implement other changes, such as blocking time for tasks or minimizing distractions.

    • Remember, kaizen is about progress, not perfection. By consistently making small improvements in various aspects of your life, you can create significant and lasting positive changes over time.

Informational Sources: Kaizen: A Resource Guide (Lean Enterprise Institute); 10 Effective Ways to Use Kaizen to Improve Your Professional and Personal Lives.

We are happy to help provide additional insight, feel free to reach out to me at or 800.307.0376.


Disclosure: This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. Investment Advice and 3(38) Investment Fiduciary services offered through Diversified Financial Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. 3(16) Administrative Fiduciary Services provided by PISTL Service Corporation. Discretionary Trustee services provided by Printing Industries 401k Trustees. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material. 

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