Friday 21 July 2023


 Kaizen the Japanese philosophy of small continuous improvements achieve big results.

Black and white kaizen notebook journal at home

Our brains are wired to resist change so any change, no matter how much it's wanted, can look daunting and be overwhelming.  It's easy to procrastinate and never actually start anything, well that can be me. Something that needs tackling... best have a quick look at my phone first, this scenario, on repeat.  

The Japanese business philosophy of small continuous improvements combined together achieve big results makes everything less daunting.  Doing something small towards your goal is far easier than attempting a big life shift.
And if you journal your improvements, you can see how much you have achieved and it can throw up some pointers on life sticking points.

I have set myself a kaizen challenge.
The two things (of many) I want to improve in my life are, my house, and my life in general.
I've decided to do at least one thing every day to renovate my home and one thing to push my life forward.  It doesn't matter how small they are because.... small continuous improvements combined together achieve big results.
I'm writing these small changes in a journal, using a page for each day and add the days date.  It's a paper notebook, it feels more real with actual ink on paper.

I wont rest until my house looks as perfect as this one... it's a long way off this at the moment.
Photo thanks to Nik Guiney

Recording the small steps lets you look back and see exactly what you have achieved. This is especially useful for DIY as a lot of time, when a problem is fixed, it's forgotten about, and you forget the actual progress that's been made.
Also keeping a diary of these small things can throw up what is stopping you moving forward.  Having started making myself do something, I have noticed what stops me starting things is I hate asking people for things, so constantly put it off.  It's ridiculous!  Even quotes for jobs or things people have already offered to do.  I appear to avoid asking like the plague.
I wanted some things for a project and I know a shop regularly throws them out.  I wanted that stuff and I was happy to pay them for it.  A win for both, I'd get what I wanted for a cheap price, they wouldn't have to pay for it's disposal and would get money for it.
But I really didn't want to ask!
I was in the shop, hadn't done or put anything in the journal to push my life forward, so I made myself ask if it was possible...
They are saving it for me, and I'm going to pick my first lot up tomorrow!  And they couldn't have been nicer about it.

Man winning at life, hanging off a yacht in the sunshine waving a rucksack
Is it a step too far to aim to be the female version of this chap? Photo thanks to Oliver Sjöström

The house improvements, are all small and currently the house hasn't taken a huge leap forward, but the first steps have been put in place that have to happen, for the big things to happen, so things have actually started.
Small niggling things have been done purely because I have had to do something each day, such as painting large numbers on the recycling bins, a very small win but it will save time every fortnight sifting through the piles of recycling boxes to find my own.

Small life changes such as filling holes in my wardrobe, you know the missing items of clothing that your wardrobe needs to function properly, like the outfits (and I use that term very loosely) that looked okay with certain shoes but now need certain trainers. Instead of procrastinating  and having that vague thought circling my head, I went on to Vinted and filled one of these wardrobe holes.
On a side note, how cheap is Vinted, it's incredible the low prices, it's like the early days of eBay.  It doesn't have any fees so people are selling things for as little as a pound!
Jeans that have been waiting to be altered for months, have been altered, because I had to do something to put in my journal.  

When I look back, and I have only been doing this for two weeks, I'm surprised at all the small changes I've made and immediately forgot about, the small things you subconsciously register as needing doing, gone, they have been done.

I was so impressed with how this was working I designed this notebook above for this.
Obviously any notebook can be used as a Kaizen journal but if you want a specific one with a prompt reminder on the cover, (and how cool is that typography). It's £4 or $5 and has 90 lined pages with a space for a date at the top of each, perfect for three months of journaling small kaizen wins. 
Click HERE if you would like to buy one (or four if you want one for each season).


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