Every December for the last 5 years I have made it a point to read the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
The book revolves around a question. The question is, “what is one thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
Throughout the book they teach you how you can apply that question to pretty much every facet of your life. Work, Relationships, Health, Personal Finances, etc.
In order to achieve amazing results we need to focus on One Thing.
I read this book in December, because every January I set a new One Thing. I guess you can call it a “new year’s resolution”, but I don’t know too many people that have a track record of success with new year’s resolutions.
One the other hand, I personally know a few people including myself who have accomplished pretty significant goals by using the One Thing principle.
Again, the question is ““what is one thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
Extraordinary results don’t happen overnight. They are built sequentially, one step or “one thing” at a time. You can use the one thing question to survey and narrow down your options, line up your priorities and do what matters most, thus setting yourself up for success.
When it comes to goal setting and achievement, if we don’t have a narrow focus we’re set up for failure.
Let’s use weight loss as an example, if you have a goal to lose 30 pounds in a year, there are a ton of components that will contribute to that goal.
Just to name a few.
Every month, week, and day you’ll constantly be juggling all of these things. Doing your best to make the best decisions for each category. Over time, decision fatigue may get the best of you. One week you drop the ball on one or two things, and just like that you become overwhelmed. And rightfully so, that’s a ton to balance.
What if we tried to narrow that same goal (losing 30lbs )down using the one thing focusing question…
“What is one thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
Diet: Meal prep breakfasts and lunch 5/7 days a week. If you have a prepared meal that fits your nutrition plan that you can grab and go for two meals a day, five days a week sticking to your nutrition plan becomes a heck of a lot easier!
Exercise: 150 workouts this year. 3 workouts pretty much every week for a calendar year. You think that one thing would go a heck of a long way in helping you lose 30lbs??
Sleep: Keep a sleep journal. Write down when you go to bed and wake up every day. Similar to meal tracking, simply tracking your sleep has been shown to increase sleeping patterns, and consistent sleep and wake times. Do you think getting better sleep would help you lose weight? You’d likely have more energy to workout, have less cravings for sweets and carb heavy foods. Sounds like a pretty good recipe for weight loss
Stress Management: Do you have 5-10 minutes a day to work on your mental well being? If you wrote in a gratitude journal and did 5 minutes of meditation everyday, do you think that would help you manage your stress. With less stress, you’d likely eat better, sleep better, have more time in your day to day to go to the gym, etc…again sounds like those things might help contribute to a weight loss goal, right?
Instead of being perfect in all categories, you just pick one! One thing to solely focus on, only one thing to commit to, and suddenly, all the other things just fall in place.
I don’t want to make this all sound too easy, because it’s not. It requires work and commitment. But, it’s only one thing.
Each of the past 4 years I have set a “One Thing’ for the year, and each and every year I’ve succeeded.
2018: Pay off student loans. Result…. Combined, my wife and I saved enough money to pay off our student loans ~$52,000. Without that focus, and a little help from Dave Ramsey we’d likely be making payments on those loans into our 40’s
2019: Exercise 90% of the days in the year: Yea I know, I work at a gym. Why would I set a goal like that? I don’t really have a problem consistently working out. Result: I trained 93% of the days. I wanted to make myself feel uncomfortable. Train when I felt lazy, train when I was on vacation, train on holidays, train on weekends, train at 4am before a morning flight, train at 10pm after going out to dinner with friends. All times I would have traditionally taken off from training, I made myself do it anyway, The takeaway, since then I have consistently trained 5-6 days a week without falling off track.
2020: Personal/Professional Development: Read 2 books and listen to 2 audio books per month. I was never a big reader growing up. In one year I almost read/listened to as many books as in my previous 28 years of life combined. Recently, I recommended a book to my sister in law, and her and her husband started laughing and said “I swear you have a book for everything.” I’m a book guy now.
2021 Personal Finance: Generate $12,000 of extra personal revenue. Between buying a fixer upper and needing a new car, I figured having some extra cash would be very helpful. I said yes to every opportunity that came across my plate in 2020. Coaching for various schools, sports organizations, camps, etc. The result = I more than doubled my goal.
I’m not sharing this to say brag, I’m merely sharing what can be possible when you narrow down a goal and set your sights on one thing.
Yesterday I finished the One Thing for the 5th time, and next week I’ll be setting my One Thing for 2022. Who’s going to join me?