Easy Kaizen Life Hacks
I don’t do New years Resolutions, I think they are pretty meaningless and considering only 7% of the population manage to stick at them anyway, what is the point?
I do however pick one or two things that I want t0 improve on, this are not big fat ass goals, I do my goals setting in a very different and specific ways. These tweaks fall in line with the kaizen philosophy that I have fallen in love with. Hence, my 17for17!
Kaizen (改善) means improvement, sometimes it is translated as continuous improvement but that’s not really accurate, but let’s not split hairs! So, this is my list of things that I want to improve over 2017, some are things that I have done before with great success, others I started and slipped but want to start with again. I’m hoping this post will help you come up with your own list of #17for17 and if you do, share with me, I’d love to know what you are doing!
=== ONE ===
Eat only Posh Chocolate!
I have to admit, I’m a bit of a chocaholic but these days more of a chocolate snob. The truth is though, good quality chocolate tastes better and is better for you. I am happy to savour one or two squares of expensive, good quality chocolate but give me a cheapo bar and I basically inhale it!
Cheap chocolate has a high sugar and fat content too so for 2017, I’m sticking to the posh stuff. Luckily my friends seem to know about my posh choc habit and I have quite a bit stashed away from Christmas to tide me over for a couple of months. I’ll also add that the posh choc idea also works for cakes and biscuits, only eat the posh stuff, it’s more enjoyable and much better in the long run.
=== TWO ===
Don’t Spend ¥500 Coins
This habit harks back to my college days when I had to save all my 50p coins for the electricity meter. Even after I left college and no longer needed to 50p coins, I still saved them and now, although I haven’t lived in the UK for 20 years, when I go back I always seem to have a pile of 50ps in my purse at the end of the trip.
When I came to Japan I started doing it with ¥500 coins, the great thing is that it’s easy to do, the rule is simple, you are not allowed to spend a ¥500 coin (or whatever you choose) and instead add them to a pot to stop you accidentally spending them. It is amazing how quickly the money adds up. I like to do it for the whole year then teat the family to something at the end. A couple of years ago we went to Laos and Cambodia and I used my ¥500 collection to pay for a 3 day stay in the elephant sanctuary.
=== THREE ===
10 Minutes For Tea
If you have joined any of my self care challenges you will know that I love to take time to make a cuppa and sit and enjoy it without distractions.
Easier said that done when you are a mom right?
But even the process of making a cuppa can be calming and therapeutic, concentrate on what you are doing, the smells, the sounds, the colours and the textures. The Japanese art of Tea Ceremony encompasses all this, although I’d rather have a cup of English Breakfast tea to be honest!
Then just sitting and enjoying the drink, if the weather is good, I’ll sit in the yard, watching the insects busy at work, if the weather isn’t suitable then I will sit inside and just do that, sit, no phone, no books, no distractions. It’s amazing how 10 minutes can help clear the mind and recharge you for the day.
I know those with little ones are probably laughing at this notion, but the time will come (promise!) or you can get your little ones in on it. Have a ‘tea time’, set the table, have a biscuit or a slice of cake and talk about the day. No, it’s not quite the same but the bonding time is precious too.
=== FOUR ===
Write A Letter A Week
I used to write a lot of letters, to friends and family and sometimes to random people that I admired. Slowly Facebook and social media took over, all the old relatives I wrote to have passed away so I don’t really have an excuse anymore.
I miss it and I also miss getting letters in the mailbox, the Visa statement once a month doesn’t really get me excited about a letter from an old friend. So, I am challenging myself to write a letter a week for 2017, it might be a postcard, it might be a 5 page epic length letter, it might be to a dear friend or to someone I want to thank for their words of wisdom. I have some nice paper and all set to get started!
=== FIVE ===
Make Time To Create Everyday
I’m a creative being and I know that when I’m not using my creativity one way or the other I end up in a slump. So to counter that I want to take time to do something creative everyday, whether it be taking photos when I go out on a walk, or doodling as I watch TV at the end of the day. A little pinch of creativity goes a long way!
=== SIX ===
Celebrate The Wins
I am either really good at this or really rubbish! I tend to be better when In With A Boom is running because I am keeping everyone else accountable, I remember to do it myself but when it’s not in session I tend to forget. I do think celebrating the wins however big or small is important, it is so easy to go down the rabbit hole of loserville when nothing is going to plan and forgetting about the important wins that sometimes get overlooked. So… more celebrating, maybe it should become a regular Friday night event!
=== SEVEN ===
Step Out Of The Comfort Zone
This is one I started a few years ago. I decided that for the duration of the year, whatever came up, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel, I would jump in, feet first.
Admittedly this was a scary thing to do but that year I got featured in several magazines and asked to submit articles for a book, did my first webinar and podcast interview! It turned out to be quite the game changer. Ever since I started I have kept this little gem with me and often whip it out, it’s not the best ‘feel good’ item on the list but it certainly helps me move forward.
=== EIGHT ===
Take Social Media Holidays
After touring around Europe in the summer with my boy and only having limited internet access, I have to say I quite enjoyed being disconnected from the world of social media!
I can’t cut myself off completely because my income depends on it but cutting down on the mindless scrolling and having complete days off are certainly doable. Facebook is such a time suck, I’m debating whether to delete the app off my phone and go back to using the groups app only. I buckled mainly because I was missing out on what friends were up to, I probably will keep the app just be more mindful of how much I use it. But definitely have social media free days.
=== NINE ===
Read More Books (for pleasure)
I read. A LOT. But much of what I read is work related, books about productivity, entrepreneurship, motivation, education, child raising philosophies, organizing etc. etc. Plus everything I read online but I have noticed that my reading for pleasure time has drastically taken a nose dive.
I get credit for affiliate marketing with Amazon so I use that to buy a lot of books but as they are on kindle they are often work related, I think every other book should be pleasure reading this year! I Had Miss Peregrine’s School For Peculiar Children at Christmas and ploughed through that then read Girl On The Train over New Years, so I am starting out well with this one.
=== TEN ===
Get Outside Everyday
This is one I have to work at, and the weather plays a big part in the success of it. Often I’ll go for a 5km walk or a long bike ride but the weather has to be good, I don’t mind going out in the cold so much, wet I’m not a fan of but worst is the humid summer.
Even if it is just a lap around the block I want to at least get some fresh air into my lungs each day. This was actually much easier to do when Ebi-kun was little, he would be bouncing off the walls if I didn’t get him outside every day but now he takes himself out to play, I have been made redundant *sob* So I will just have to take myself out!
=== ELEVEN ===
Keep A Hit List Of Happy
We all have shit days and don’t be under any illusion that it’s all unicorns and rainbows here everyday, it isn’t. I live in the real world just like you. So sometimes, when the shit hits the fan, I need a pick me up, something to turn that frown upside down!
One of the best ways I find is to watch those stupid viral videos, like the ones with kids doing daft things. Ellen and James Corden always get a smile out of me too. But sometimes it will be something someone said or even a badly printed t-shirt (we have plenty of those here!). I haven’t decided the best way to organize these yet but it’s on my list for the month.
=== TWELVE ===
Try New Recipes
I enjoy cooking maybe 50% of the time, sometimes I love it, sometimes it’s an evil necessity.
I soon get bored of the same old meals every week so I try and add in something new once a week or so. I have upped the ante this year though…
I used to be subscribed to the Jamie Magazine, which means I have a massive pile of them now. Each one has something like 90 recipes in it, I have been working my way through and bookmarking all the recipes I fancy but haven’t yet tried. I think I’ll have enough to last me the year! And it will be making use of a resource that would otherwise be collecting dust on the shelf. We also try to eat clean for 80% of the time, I mostly cook from scratch so this is a good way to extend my recipe knowledge base.
=== THIRTEEN ===
Thanks to Clear The Clutter the house is pretty clutter free these days but that doesn’t mean we don’t have stuff sneak in or things break, the boy grows out of stuff, you know, everyday clutter that soon adds up if you don’t keep a beady eye on it.
Now I’m in the habit of chucking the junk out straight away and still open the Clear The Clutter challenges so the whole thing is easy for me now. Took a while to get here but it was so worth it!
Digital clutter is something I want to thin down this year, on Fridays I do my finances and tracking so I’ll add 15 mins of digi-decluttering into the mix too.
=== FOURTEEN ===
OK, I cheated somewhat here, I’m an explorer by nature, I’m the kind of person who goes down an unknown road just to see what’s at the other end! There is still more to discover, there are parts of Tokyo I have never been to and cafe’s in town I have not tried out yet. So this one is a little reminder for me not to get stuck in the same routine or rut, change things up and try out new places. I want to add more world exploring into the mix too!
=== FIFTEEN ===
Learn A New Skill
Working online makes this one pretty easy, there is ALWAYS something new to learn, new tricks and hacks to add to the toolkit. New ways to streamline the processes. And I am a bit of an ecourse junkie, I don’t have a clear vision of the new skills to learn for this year but I’m sure they will come about when the time is needed.
=== SIXTEEN ===
Spend More Time With Friends
I miss my friends back home dearly and I usually get to catch up when we go back over the summer but I also need to make more effort into catching up using Skype or Facetime too, always seems more difficult once kids arrive on the scene!
I also want to get out and see friends here more often, as an introvert I can become a bit of a hermit so a bit more effort on my part is needed (that and a babysitter!). Plus I have made so many amazing friends over the internet, it would be amazing to meet more of them in real life, maybe this year will be the year for new and deeper friendships!
=== SEVENTEEN ===
Play More Games
We have a cupboard full of games, board games and card games and we always enjoy getting them out but you know what it’s like, life gets in the way and it can go for weeks before we get something to play with. So this is more of a family challenge because let’s face it, I’m hardly going to get Monopoly out and start playing my myself!
I suppose I could have titled this one as family connection time or something but I think having the theme as something fun we are more likely to do it. Occasionally Daddy gets home early-ish, so we could sneak a round or two of Sushi Go or Exploding Kittens before bath and bedtime!
So that is it, my 17for17 ! It might look like a lot but some of these are on-going habits that I want to increase or do more of, some of them don’t take too much effort and most of them are fun!
Let me know what is on your list? Are you going for 17for17 or keeping it simple with just one or two? Let me know!