This time of year we get bombarded with articles like "10 Tips to Keep Your New Year's Resolution". Or, "5 Ways to Stay on Track to Meet your Goals". Why are these articles so popular? Because CHANGING our thinking and behavior is HARD. And we need help. But, a few years ago, a book came out that made it a whole lot easier.
The book titled The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller, provides an extremely insightful way to achieve goals. It's a simple as this:
“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be EASIER or UNNECESSARY?”
This surprisingly simple question, which the author calls the "focus question," really strikes a chord. Doesn't it seem like we always have more goals, more ideas, and more things to do than we can possibly manage? When we try to do them all, it's easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed. That's where the focus question comes in.
According to Statista, the top 3 New Years resolutions are 1) Eat healthier, 2) Get more exercise, and 3) Save money. And while these are all worthy goals, it's very likely that each of us has even more significant goals that we don't even want to think about, much less tackle head on. It may be that we know we're in the wrong job. We may have a strained relationship with a family member or friend. Or, we are tired and lacking energy and don't know why. It's easy to latch on to a fad diet or a self-improvement kick, which actually just distracts us away from the big ONE THING that could really improve our lives.
It may be that the ONE thing we need is to cut off a relationship that's taking up too much of our emotional energy. It might be committing to finish the training to get the job we want. Our ONE thing may be to get rid of clutter that diverts us away from focusing on our work. It might be finding a place to live that better suits our lifestyle. Or, it could be getting a handle on our finances so we can keep on top of our monthly bills without late fees.
It pays to really stop and think about the second part of the focus question..."that will make everything EASIER, or NO LONGER NECESSARY". Take a few moments and figure out what is distracting you on a daily basis. What do you obsess about? What's sucking up, your physical, emotional, or mental energy and time? The first thing that comes to mind first is probably your ONE thing.
Once you identify your ONE thing, then dedicate time to it daily (or at least regularly) until it's done. Here are some pointers that the author suggests for taking on your ONE thing.
Do it when you have the most willpower. Usually this is in the morning. Block off time and focus on your ONE thing. Don't allow distractions.
Remember that discipline is just a habit. Contrary to popular belief, it takes an average of 66 days to change a habit (not 21). Be patient with yourself. You won't solve your biggest problems in a day. Just keep remembering your ONE thing.
Learn to be OK with chaos. Some ONE things require that you dedicate a lot of extra time. So, if your one thing is to increase sales for your business, you will likely fall behind on other tasks, like accounting, or keeping your files organized. So be it.
Be like a "postage" stamp. Stick to it until you reach your destination.
When you have achieved your ONE thing, pat yourself on the back and then pick your next ONE thing!
This blog post just touches the surface of The ONE Thing concept. The book is definitely a good read. It's available from Amazon and other booksellers and also as an audio book. If you've already "fallen off the horse" with this year's New Years resolution, maybe switch gears and READ The ONE Thing as your "new" New Year's resolution!