Joyous Joy 50: How I’ve Embraced Kaizen in 2012

Nothing feels better than making progress

Nothing feels better than making progress

While strolling home after a bagel date with my good friend David, he asked me to explain my New Year’s mantra of Kaizen.

– noun: originating in Japanese business practice, it means continuous incremental improvement.

Proud that I had adopted such an out-of-the-box mantra for the year I delivered this definition with great enthusiasm. He asked me to give an example of how I’ve put this into practice. I really struggled with my answer, which not only surprised me, but led to me doubting my success at this endeavor. Continue reading

Joyous Joy 35: Who Needs New Year’s Resolutions Anyway?

A former boss shared the theory of Kaizen with me – it was by far his best nugget of knowledge.

Unlike most people, I avoid typical New Year’s resolutions. Instead I adopt yearly mantras to help me stay focused on a larger goal. These mantras become all encompassing of much smaller goals I set throughout the year.

I started this whole mantra thing in 2009. Since then I have never once felt the sense of disappointment and failure I used to when I didn’t follow through on resolutions.

  • Instead of beating myself up for not losing those 15 pounds I vowed to shed by bathing suit season, I felt proud of myself for eating better and dragging myself to the gym whenever possible.
  • Instead of feeling like a failure for not saving enough money for a Thailand adventure, I felt proud that I had savings to use in an emergency.

Each year, I write my mantra in bold letters at the top of my dry erase board and look at it each morning before I roll out of bed.

Here are some previous mantras and a few examples of how they enriched my life: Continue reading