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Keeping Resolutions with Kaizen Changes & Well-Formed Outcomes

Welcome to 2021! It’s that time of year when many people make New Year’s resolutions to bring about changes in their life, only to break them by the end of the early weeks of January. So, here are a couple of ideas that I thought might help you to succeed in keeping resolutions if you have decided on making a change in your life.

Tips for keeping new years resolutions

Kaizen continuous improvement

kaizen continuous improvement

One of the reasons many people fail in their attempts to change or keeping resolutions is that they make the goal too big; not that I’m against having big goals you understand. On our courses, we introduce delegates to the idea of Kaizen, otherwise known as the power of continuous and incremental change.

Small Changes Big Improvements

The brainchild of W. Edwards Deming, Kaizen encourages you to think about numerous small changes that you can make on-going rather than one massive change. If you like, it is the power of evolution rather than revolution; and it really works.

So, what small changes can you make, probably more comfortably, in your life that will ultimately bring about significant change for you?

The Process of Well-formed Outcomes in NLP

The second idea I want to share with you is the idea of making your objectives or outcomes well-formed. By using the following criteria I believe that you make it easier to achieve your goals in any area of your life. Borrowed from NLP, the criteria are:

  • Stated in positive terms:

    focusing on what you want, rather than what you don’t want is often a major shift in thinking. Many people focus on what they don’t want; e.g. I don’t want to be fat; I don’t want to smoke and so on. If you keep telling yourself to stop smoking or eating, your attention is being put on what it is that you don’t want. So, create a more positively framed outcome like “I want to be fit and healthy”. Why would you invest time and energy dwelling on what you don’t want? Instead, create a positive outcome and put your attention on achieving it.

  • Evidence procedure:

    be clear about what will be happening when you achieve your goal. What will you see, hear and feel that will tell you that you have been successful? This makes the outcome ‘real’ for you.

  • Specified/contextualised:

    in what areas of your life do you want to achieve this goal? Are they times when you want to achieve this goal or people you want to achieve this with?

  • Self-initiated & maintained:

    a well-formed outcome should be what you want rather than what other people want for you if it is to be motivating. An outcome that involves pleasing other people is very difficult to maintain. For example, losing weight because someone else in your life wants you to might trigger resistance resulting in internal conflict. Similarly, giving up smoking for someone else’s reasons might also create resistance. Successful change in this way involves things over which you have control and is likely to be meaningful for you. 

  • Ecological: 

    ecology in this context means how the parts relate to the whole system; in this case your life. So, how does achieving a particular outcome affect the other areas in your life? If being more successful at work means that your relationships suffer, it is not ecological and you will probably experience internal conflict. If the outcome is ecological you will probably give more of your energy to making the outcome happen.


So, there we are. It’s not too late to set yourself goals for 2021. To stack the deck in your favour, use the principles of kaizen and well-formed outcomes and you may be surprised to find change becomes easier and more sustainable.

Comments (1)

Fantastic Blog. Kaizen is a great concept and one that works.

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