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Even the most productive and successful people among us will, at one time or another, battle with feelings of laziness. How do they overcome this setback? The answer may lie in a popular Japanese technique.

A recent Stanford University study found that the United States is one of the world’s laziest countries, a statistic that many likely don’t find to be shocking. It’s a bad habit that holds us back from reaching our goals and dreams, while also contributing to the growing obesity epidemic in our country. The only way to overcome this challenge and set yourself apart from the rest of the population is to stand up and make a difference in your own life starting today!

The New Year is almost upon us, the perfect time to make some big changes. Rather than setting a New Year’s Resolution just for the sake of following tradition, why not set yourself up to make a real, meaningful change? After all, no one likes hitting February and realizing that they have already failed in their efforts.

Kaizen is a technique that has been widely used and accepted for generations, based on a philosophy of continuous self-improvement. Introduced to the Western World by Masaaki Imai in his book ‘Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success’ over 30 years ago, it has attracted the attention of many of the world’s most successful men and women.

While many businesses have adopted the practice, it’s equally beneficial in all areas of our lives including our home and through our relationships. The idea is that we will be more successful if we focus on making the small, simple changes each and every day rather than jumping immediately to the bigger and more elaborate goals right away. Why? These smaller goals are far less overwhelming, and the feeling of achievement that will come from accomplishing them will then provide additional motivation to keep making changes moving forward.

For example, if you are looking to set a weight loss goal for your resolution, you are likely looking at your target weight. You may want to lose 20lbs or even 50lbs. However, to sit and consider all the work that it would take to lose 50lbs, many will fail to even get started, paralyzed by the task ahead of them. Instead, try focusing your attention on the work it will take right now just to lose 1lb, or take weight out of the equation entirely and focus just on starting to go to the gym or adding a walk to your lunch break.

Focusing on a smaller, easier to swallow goal doesn’t mean you are restricted to only accomplishing that small step. Each of these small steps or mini -victories will add up. When this technique is applied to all areas of our life – building our self-esteem, reaching career goals, improving our health, etc. – it will empower you to reach new levels of personal success.

Take a step back and look at your life. What areas could use a little extra attention? What opportunities for growth exist? Once you have identified these goals, start taking those little steps forward. One day, you’ll lack back at this moment shocked at how far you have come.

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