The art of steady progress (part 4)

The art of steady progress (part 4)

So far in the "Art of Steady Progress" series, we've talked about...

  1. 1
    Creating a realistic plan each day (part 2).
  2. 2
    Assessing how we did on the plan with kindness and curiosity, and no judgment. Making sure we start with the positives (part 3). 

Today, we're going to focus on how to make this process work for us to reach our goals quickly and with the least amount of effort.

We do this by combining 3 things.

  1. 1
  2. 2
    The Pareto principle
  3. 3
    What we're willing and able to do


Let's start with Kaizen. 

Kaizen is the idea of continuous improvement. While it has been mostly used in business, we can use the concept to reach any goal.

We can use Kaizen to make tiny consistent steady progress on a goal every day. Tiny improvements. Not big gigantic leaps every once in a while. Small steady progress. 

Kaizen by itself will do wonders to help you reach your goals (and help your clients do the same).

But, we're going to combine it with the Pareto principle to make it extra powerful.

The Pareto principle

You may have heard of the Pareto principle as the 80/20 rule. 

The idea behind it is that 20% of your effort will get you 80% of the results. So you want to make sure that the improvements you choose are the ones that will make the most difference.

So Kaizen will help us make our 1% improvements every day and the Pareto principle will help us decide which improvements to make.

What We're Willing and Able to Do

Finally, because we want to make sure this works for us, we'll add on what we're actually willing and able to do.

In part 2, of this series, I gave the example of losing weight and shared an average day:

  • Breakfast: Cereal & toast
  • Lunch: Double Cheeseburger, Large Fries, Large Soda
  • Dinner: Spaghetti & Meatballs, 2 glasses of wine
  • Dessert: Big Bowl of Ice Cream
  • Water: 32 ounces
  • Exercise: None

and the various improvements you could make...

  • Increase water intake to 64 ounces
  • Go for a 10 minute walk
  • Replace cereal with two eggs
  • Drop the double cheeseburger to a single
  • Have a medium soda instead of a large
  • Have a medium fry instead of a large
  • Add steamed broccoli to dinner
  • Have one glass of wine instead of two
  • Have a small bowl of ice cream instead of a big one

These are all small improvements that fit Kaizen.

Using the Pareto principle, you can then figure out which improvements will give you the most bang for your buck.

For example, you might choose to increase your water intake because you know that drinking more water can help you have more energy, feel fuller, and help your body do what it needs to do more efficiently.

And it sets you up nicely for the improvements you'll want to make later on.

But here's the thing. You have to take into account what you're willing and able to do.

If you're like me, drinking plain water throughout the day is not exactly easy.

I've tried various times throughout the years to drink the 96 - 128 ounces we're supposed to drink. I’ve never been able to do it consistently.

So adding more water might not be the most realistic plan.

Unless you ask yourself...

"How could I turn this into something I'm willing and able to do?" 

Drinking 96 - 128 ounces of plain water was never going to be something I was willing and able to do, but I knew it would benefit me. It was that 20% that would make a significant difference.

So by asking myself the question...

What am I willing and able to do? 

I came up with two things that made this a realistic plan for me.

  1. 1
    Buying this: Pogo Tritan (It's pretty much the adult version of a sippy cup.)
  2. 2
    Adding this to my water: Ultima Replenesher (Healthy Koolaid for grownups. Orange is my favorite).

The combination of these two things made drinking 96-128 ounces of water per day a realistic plan. Something I'm more than willing and able to do. Every. Single. Day.

Ok, so to sum this up so far...

for any given goal...

  1. 1
    Create a realistic plan that will take you a tiny step closer to that goal.
  2. 2
    That evening or the next morning, assess how you did with kindness and curiosity, and no judgment. Start with the positives. 
  3. 3
    Use Kaizen, the Pareto principle, and what you’re willing and able to do to make small progress towards your goal(s) every day.

That wraps up part four of the "Art of Steady Progress" series.

In the next blog article (and the final one in this series), I’ll share what can get in the way of all of this and how to overcome it.

With love & joy,

P.S. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share this with them?

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