Focus on Your One Thing
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We all have things we’d like to change and improve, right? Sometimes we set resolutions to try to fix those things, and often, they fail.
They say it only takes three weeks to form a habit, but I question that research based on my experience. However, I’ve found that by committing to one thing, I’m able to make a change and follow through on a resolution.
The One Thing Case Study
Over the past three years I’ve set many a resolution. Inevitably, most of them fall to the wayside a couple days, weeks, or months into the new year. I’m nowhere near perfect, but that’s okay.
Instead of giving up on all my resolutions, that one thing, that I truly cared about (or that was the easiest to achieve) came out ahead and led to a true lifestyle change. My typical resolutions:
- Lose Weight
- Exercise More
- Spend Less Money, or at Least Only Spend it on Our Values
- Consume Less – Protect the Environment More
- Volunteer More / Give More
- Embrace Minimalism
Those are pretty common resolutions that many of you may set too!
But life gets in the way, and I’ve found that I can actually make one big change every year. More than one is just tough to swing.
- 2015: Get my finances in order: I learned how to invest, basics of tax optimization, and set real financial goals that I understood! (#Adulting)
In 2015 we signed up for Personal Capital and started tracking all of our spending. You can’t get your finances sorted out until you know where your money is going! I found the personal finance blog world, and discovered a few voices that I enjoyed.
- 2016: Spend less money, this is the year I figured out our values and we made some big changes that allowed us to spend money on our values
We became debt free (other than our mortgage) just last year, which really showed us the power of paying off debt, not buying cars through loans, and how much money we had coming in each month.
We started questioning everything, and started saying no more.
This meant we started spending more time riding our bikes, staying home on the weekends, and we slowed down on our home renovations.
- 2017: Protect the environment more: We committed to going fully plant based at home (eating mostly plants) and succeeded. I thought this would be harder than it actually was, and people always tell me I could never do that. And if you don’t want to, that’s fine, but trust me you can do it. You have to learn the foods you like to eat and cook those (for us that means lots of Indian dishes). And hey, our household carbon footprint has shrunk majorly by committing to this one thing.
Our jobs have shown us the negative impacts people are making on the environment, but also the great strides we can take to turn things around. We wanted to do more and get healthier, so going plant based pretty quickly rose to the top.
If you are curious, I really enjoyed this article in the Atlantic that shows that the US could meet the Paris climate agreement if people swapped their beef eating for beans.
You may not want to do that, that’s totally fine! But when we started 2017 we thought the goal would last a month or two (veganuary is what we originally committed to), and we enjoyed it so much we’re keeping it going.
But, you don’t have to take it from me. If you are interested in learning other stories who committed to one thing check out these great books:
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kinsolver
- Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth by Vicki Robin
Finding Your Dream Job:
A Whole Book Focused on Focusing on Your One Thing:
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
But Wait, Am I Really Limited to One Thing?
No, you don’t have to limit yourself to one resolution or one thing to improve! But I have the greatest success when I narrow that resolution list to one thing for each part of my life:
Now, I still don’t follow this advice and set multiple goals for each year, but I try to limit those goals to ones that really mean a lot to me. It’s hard to sift through the noise of social media or well intended friends, but your goals are your own, so it’s okay if minimalism isn’t for you. Set the resolution or goal that really matters to you!
Take Action – What’s Your One Thing?
Shrinking that resolution list to those things you most want to achieve will lead to a greater likelihood of the one you truly care about rising to the top.
If you’ve set a few resolutions for the year, take the time to look at your list and focus in on the ones that speak loudest to you.
If you have already failed on your resolution, don’t stress, and keep on going for it!
Deciding on Your Focus
If you are still looking for that one thing to resolve to achieve, give yourself the time to think about one thing that you would love to say you’ve done by the end of the year!
To find my focus for 2018 I have used these resources:
- How to figure out what you want to do with your life from Mrs. Frugalwoods
- Money Mentoring Question: “What is your Ideal Day” from Ms. Montana
To synthesize they ask you to consider how you are currently spending your time, and where you would like to be spending your time. Then, think about what it would take for you to get there.
Hopefully your resolution will go along nicely with those goals and bring you closer to your dream life.
Here’s to 2018!
I am excited for a new year, new focus, and new opportunities (even if a calendar year is pretty arbitrary).
Reflecting on this past year (struggles and successes) helps to bring focus to that new year resolution for 2018!
Although I still struggle to pick one (as in I don’t), I’ve limited my goals for the year and made them more specific.
While I laid out a few goals in my year in review, the big financial goal for 2018 is to live on my hubby’s grad student salary. Which is lofty, but hopefully achievable!
I’d love to learn more about your story!
What’s your one thing (or many things) you are working towards in 2018?