US Med Voice

US Med



Vol. 5, No. 1 | January 2013




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Personal Improvement? Try Kaizen
Small Steps to Big Change

US MED Gives Back You have to lose 40 pounds. By tomorrow. You want to write The Great American Novel. But first you have to start writing. Enter Kaizen, the Japanese word (and really concept) of 'improvement', is the idea of taking small, continuous steps toward a larger goal.

Kaizen won't help you lose 40 pounds by tomorrow, but with small, cumulative changes you could actually lose 40 pounds in six months.

You can't really write the Great American Novel unless you put at least one word on paper. Overcoming those blocks are what Kaizen is all about.

Robert Mauer, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life, writes that our amygdala, or middle brain, is responsible for quick responses that can save our life. If we see a car careening out of control, our amygdala shuts down every other thought and system with the exception of: Get out of the way! Mauer writes that every single big change from routine, in fact, triggers some fearful reaction from the amygdala and it gets in our way. Kaizen disarms the brain's fear response by setting tiny goals to achieve big ones. Can't seem to start exercising? Instead of starting with an hour on the treadmill, STAND on it for a minute.

The key to Kaizen is 'continual improvement' (as the word is sometimes translated). Each new small step must become part of your routine, building up to your goal.

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