For Big Leaps With New Year’s Resolutions, Start With Baby Steps


Thanks to the Lean Enterprise Institute for publishing my article about Kaizen, new habits, and New Year's resolutions:

Take Baby Steps Towards Improvement

“As 2019 begins, don't feel bad if your New Year's resolutions have already gotten off track or if that has happened in the past. Various studies suggest that 80 to 90 percent of resolutions fail. Whether our resolutions are about doing more of something, like reading, or doing less of something, like eating brownies, we often get tripped up because our change is too large — it might be framed as all or nothing. Lessons from psychology and workplace continuous improvement approaches show that “baby steps” is a more effective approach to making our resolutions take hold and stick.”


Listen to me read the post (via the Lean Blog Audio podcast):

Listen to my podcasts with Robert Maurer, Ph.D. on Kaizen, change, and psychology:

Best wishes to you for your 2019 resolutions…


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Mark Graban says

    One story from the book “Unlearn” talks about baby steps at Disney:

    I’ll be interviewing the author, Barry O’Reilly for my podcast series…

  2. Mark Graban says

    Another article along these lines:

    “Why making New Year’s resolutions is a bad way to start the year”
    Chances are your life doesn’t need a major overhaul. Tiny changes to make you slightly new and improved are probably best.

    Likewise, most of the changes in behavior that you make should be of the “new and improved” variety. Small changes that enable you to do what you already do more effectively are likely to succeed…

    An advantage to these tiny changes is that you will still make an improvement to your life, but you’re likely to succeed. You give yourself an emotional boost for improving your life without the frustration that comes along with a wholesale disruption.

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