The Japanese invented this 1-minute trick that stops you from being lazy.

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The Japanese invented this 1-minute trick that stops you from being lazy.

Most of us want to achieve something. Sometimes that ‘something’ is big and ambitious — climbing mountains, curing diseases, traveling to space. Sometimes it’s as simple as saving money, losing weight or speaking more kindly to our spouse, friends or children.

No matter what the goal is, though, we come up against some difficulty or obstacle in achieving it — and usually those obstacles are within ourselves. It’s daunting to change our habits, mindsets, relationships and feelings. Even when we begin with great enthusiasm, we come up against doubt, or we simply run out of steam.

Japanese culture has an approach, however, that allows us to work slowly and steadily towards change, without overwhelming ourselves or setting our expectations too high. The nation known for its design ingenuity and superb productivity came up with the idea of ‘kaizen’ — continuous daily improvement, often done in small steps.

In everyday life, this means spending one minute a day doing something that brings you closer to a goal. Want to climb Mount Everest? Start strength training. Write a novel? Outline a chapter. Strengthen your relationship? Have a conversation focused on your loved ones, not yourself.

If you want to go longer, go ahead. But the minimum is simply one minute a day. Even the laziest person can do one minute.

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but what’s really happening under the surface is the formation of a new habit. Those minutes add up, and once you see results, you might expand that minute into a longer period of time — until finally you achieve your goal.

See an explanation of this technique below — and think about what goal you can apply it towards today…

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