Improving Your Life One Step At A Time

7 min readJun 8, 2021

During my teenage years and into my early 20s, I was a bit of a self-help junkie in that I would regularly be scouring the personal development sections of my local bookshops (mainly Waterstones and W.H Smiths) on any new self-help books I could get my hands on. Ultimately I guess I was trying to find a book with some advice that I could easily apply and would drastically improve my life for the better.

While many men at that age were more interested in impressing their mates and pulling girls, my motivation for reading these books was in part due to my Dyspraxia; in that I struggled with certain everyday situations which my peers had no difficulties achieving. For instance, dating, speaking with clarity, projecting confidence and issues with concentration. Essentially issues that many individuals with Dyspraxia face.

As such, I wanted to find some advice that I could apply that would change my life and allow me to do all the things I wanted to do; from thriving at school/work to being Mr Popular amongst all my peers.

Now without making this article sound like a cheesy info-commercial, I can say that I did sort of find the answer I was looking for. I say sort of for whilst it wasn’t the type of advice which I could instantly apply and get instant success in all areas of my life. Rather it was more a framework that I could apply to my life; one that if done correctly would rapidly increase the chances that I’d achieve whatever goals I set myself, big or small.

And this Japanese philosophy is known as Kaizen!

Kaizen And Dyspraxia

Whilst Kaizen can be of benefit to anyone, I do believe that when it comes to those of us with issues like Dyspraxia, ADHD, etc. it can be of specific usage. Essentially the idea of Kaizen can be summed up as ‘Continuous and Never-Ending Improvement.’ And the way that this is done is by;

breaking down big, boring or overwhelming tasks into a series of small steps, and to focus only on each step until the work is done or goal is achieved. And at the same time, seeing if you can make marginal improvements along the way!

I won’t bog you down with the boring manufacturing details with which Kaizen originally came from but since its inception into Japan after the Second World War, it managed to turn a war torn country (with two nuked cities) into a global, industrial powerhouse within just 50 years! And during the Second World War, it was the Americans who initially used the manufacturing principles of Kaizen (though it wasn’t called that back then) to turn itself from a country in the midst of a Depression into a country ready for war with the growing threat of fascism.

Yet since those days, the principles behind Kaizen have transferred over from a manufacturing method to a general philosophy on how one can approach work and life in a way which is far more likely to lead to success. And the teachings are actually backed by science as well.

Essentially the idea of Kaizen when applied to your life is to chunk down whatever you have got to do into smaller steps, where each step is something that you know without a doubt you can accomplish. For instance suppose you were given an assignment to write a 5000 word report on a subject which you find particularly boring. Well using Kaizen, instead of trying to complete this boring task in one go, you would break it down, so maybe each step would be to write 100 words.

Then you write out 100 words, followed by taking a break if you so wish. Then come back later and do another 100 words. Keep doing this until such time that you have completed the 5000 word article. From previous experience, I will add that often when you merely start, you may quickly exceed your step without realising it and find that (in the case of the 5000 word assignment) you have written 300–500 words before you realise!

Yet Kaizen applies to more than just writing essays. Any big task or boring task can be broken down into small, bite sized steps which are at such a size that you know without fail that you can achieve them. As you can guess, this basic principle is one of the best kept secrets to motivation.

Though this principle would be of benefit to everyone, I believe that for those of us it can be of greater importance for a few reasons. One such reason is that, like me, you are probably more prone to overwhelm than the average person. Unfortunately this is a symptom of Dyspraxia and can lead one to not take any action as once you are in the state of overwhelm, it is very hard to get yourself moving in any direction.

Fortunately with Kaizen, you can decide to take a very small step in a direction (even if it is to just force yourself to stand up and take 5 walking steps). Then another 5 walking steps. As you are doing this, make sure you concentrate on the steps and try to push out of your mind everything that is making you feel overwhelmed.

I have done this mini Kaizen exercise before when feeling overwhelmed and it is amazing how merely taking your attention on what is causing you to feel this way and onto some small immediate actionable step can shift your mind. I can guarantee you that just doing this alone for a few minutes will help shift you out of your state of overwhelm. And when you are out of that state, you can then decide which small activity of all the things that make you feel overwhelmed that you are going to tackle first.

Remember when you do decide to tackle the first tasks, do remember to chunk that task down into small steps (and all the subsequent tasks) or else you may quickly find yourself falling back into a state of overwhelm once more!

Another benefit that Kaizen can give us Dyspraxics is the ability to circumnavigate the issues with concentration that many of us suffer with. The inability to concentrate on something for a long period of time can certainly be a hindrance to many of us Dyspraxics; and can cause others around us to think we are just lazy or not bothered. Yet oftentimes nothing can be further from the truth.

So using the principle of chunking down big tasks into small steps, even if all your work or school colleagues can concentrate for up to half an hour without seeming to lose concentration whilst you can barely do 2 minutes at a time, no problemo. Simply chunk down whatever needs to be done into 2 minute (or shorter) bursts of concentration; followed by a minute break, etc. Sure it may take you longer than the average person to complete X or Y but you will get it done nonetheless!

Finally with regards to Dyspraxia, another benefit is that Kaizen can increase the odds that we will be able to ACHIEVE OUR MOST AMBITIOUS GOALS! One of the curses that I in the past (and many Dyspraxics) suffer with is the fact that we are big picture thinkers; often coming up with massive ideas that can be life changing. Yet due to issues with concentration, organisation, etc we struggle to get these ideas out of our heads and into reality.

Fortunately this is where Kaizen can be of help. For it enables one to break down just one of several large steps that would need to be taken into manageable small steps. And if we can just follow through the process of completing one step, then taking a break, followed by focusing only on the next step, etc. we will ultimately achieve some of these ambitious goals.

Whilst I will admit that Kaizen doesn’t necessarily help us directly achieve everything we want in life, it can provide us with a healthy framework which I believe even the most severely Dyspraxic of us can work towards (if the steps are small enough of course).

Changing Your Life One Step At A Time

So if you were to take the time to chunk down your goals and any mundane task into small, bite sized steps, in theory you would be able to achieve a lot more than you currently think possible. Further still, despite having Dyspraxia, you will not be letting it hold you back as you would be achieving the things that you want to do.

If you would like to know more on this subject, than I would recommend reading the book ‘The Kaizen Way; One Small Step Can Change Your Life’ by Dr Robert Maurer. In this book, Dr Maurer explores all the ways in which one can apply the principles of Kaizen to gain better results in their lives; whether it be chunking down their actions or asking themselves smaller questions.

Anyhow, I would like to conclude this article now by saying that I hope this article is of benefit to yourself and that you are able to put into action in your life some of the things that we have learnt!

Anyhow if you like to know more about Dyspraxia, including the strengths of having Dyspraxia, I recommend you read my book ‘Dyspraxia: How To Thrive As An Adult’ by Alex Gadd. You can find that by clicking here.

Else if you would like to be in a group of fellow Dyspraxics and find more information on this disability, then why not join the Dyspraxia Support Group on Facebook.




I am a Dyspraxic who likes to help others with Dyspraxia with improving their lives and learning more about Dyspraxia.