Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do One Thing Different

One thing I've learned over the years is the fastest way to fall off of a new program or fail to meet a goal is by doing too many things at one time.

Although I've never read the book, only flipped through it briefly, I was always drawn to a book title on my dad's bookshelf by Bill O' Hanlon titled, 'Do One Thing Different'. Of all the books he's owned, I'm not sure why that one stands out  in my mind but that title has come to mind a lot over the past few months and it was only appropriate for today's post title. In my mind, I think the book was meant to be a reminder of the power of focusing on making changes slowly, deliberately and working towards one big goal at a time. Now that I'm revisiting the title and concept, I will finally have to read the book! I actually found a free e-book copy {here}, while looking for the author's name, if anyone else is interested to read it.

It has been proven that we can form new habits in just 28 days. I've personally experienced that to be true in the past. Before I ever became a Personal Trainer 8 years ago, it was my regular workouts and the results that I got that had me excited about teaching others how to get the body they wanted also. Working out 6 days per week for 60-90 mins each day was not even something that I really had to think about after a while. Every morning before work, at about 6:30am I met up with a colleague, who became my workout/ accountability partner and who also wanted to work out in the early morning. Just like that, I had formed a new habit that was as natural to me as brushing my teeth each morning. The key was choosing a time that made the most sense with my schedule. Obviously, this isn't realistic for everyone, especially if you havce children but as a single woman at the time, it was the perfect schedule.

Once we master something that was once difficult, and then becomes like second nature, we can move onto the our next challenge with great success, with recent progress and accomplishment under our belt to build confidence.

Think of New Year's resolutions. Some people go to the extreme- they have grandiose plans of losing a large amount of weight, to quit smoking AND do a cleanse to cut out as much sugar as possible and remove bodily toxins. The word deprivation comes to mind. Our bodies cannot handle so many new changes at one time, we'd only be setting ourselves up for failure with an overly ambitious resolution like this. It's best to do one thing at a time and slowly phase in each new goal after conquering the first.

Everyone's goals are different. Some want to lose 10 lbs or become more organized and yet others want to read more or vow to get at least 6 hours sleep per night. Each of these goals involves a certain level of planning in order to be successful. They need not be drastic changes or ones that make you feel as though you have to rearrange your life in one fell swoop. You can begin by walking for just 15 minutes per day or setting a timer for just 10 minutes of drawer organizing.  However, it's important to start somewhere and have a plan. As they say, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail and boy is that ever true!

Now think about your own life. What things do you want to change? What dreams do you want to achieve? What's one thing right now that you'd love to change or see an improvement in that would make you really happy? Pick just one thing that you want to focus on first, perhaps a smaller or easier goal for yourself to get started.

For me,  the bigger picture is balancing a proper schedule and minimizing distractions (since I can be easily distracted) so that I can get more done in my day and go to sleep/wake up at the hour that I need to. When I go to bed really late, I tend to either get up too early and have less energy before the day has even begun or I'll give myself the extra sleep I need at the expense of shortening my workday and hours of daylight-this has not proven to be helpful in accomplishing all that I want to do in my day.

My ultimate goal is to truly be balanced by spending more time planning my days and designating specific time for design work, writing, blogging, surfing the web, web banking, etc., so that I can become more focused and accomplish my most important tasks. But first, going to bed at a reasonable hour will be my 'one thing different' that needs to precede everything else. No matter how awake I feel or how much work I think I still need to do, bedtime will be 11pm, no ifs ands or buts so I can get up at 6am feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. I'll be honest, lately my bedtimes have been ranging from midnight to 3:30am and my waking hours have been between 5:30am and 10am (for the nights I go to bed at 3:30am). Can you see how this daily pattern can easily become a habit and spiral out of control? lol.

I have been working out lightly in the evenings, mostly to regain strength after an injury I experienced during the end of January. However, learning from my previous fitness success, I know that morning workouts (once completed and out of the way) give me more energy for my day. So, this goal will serve many other areas of my life in a more positive way.

Let's tackle this challenge together, shall we? I'd love for you to join me and commit to doing one thing different for at least the next 7 days and I'd love to hear how it's going for you! It would be great if you could try it out for the next 28 days with me. Take a day or two to get yourself organized or set up for your new goal. I'm beginning tonight and I'll share with you all how it goes.

Here's to getting more out of life by doing just one thing differently!

*images (1),(2),(3)


  1. There are so many areas where I could make a change in my life. I'll give this some thought and decide which area should be at the top of my priority list.

  2. I really need to get back into working out. I used to work out at 8 at night after the boys went to bed but due to financial issues, I had to cancel my gym membership. We recently bought an xbox kinect and I am going to go buy The Biggest Loser tonight. I am hoping to get up early in the morning to do this before work. It will be hard because I already wake up at 5:15 and I have to be out of the house around 6AM so hopefully I can get my butt out of bed in time. No time at night with two little ones running around. I am usually in bed shortly after they are.

  3. This is really timely for me Karla. Only this week I placed some objectives on a list and decided I would do it baby-steps at a time (the same way I would eat an elephant) which is how big some of my goals feel at the beginning.
    Like you, I am usually quite strict about bedtime. I LOVE reading in bed, so I factor that in and then work out what time I need to go to bed.As I'm not a big TV watcher it's quite easy.
    Great post Karla

  4. This is a great post.I think it is a good idea to make lists and see where we need to change things then take action!!

  5. I didn't realize you were a trainer! What certifications did you have? Do you mind posting about your experiences? I'm currently working on my ACE certification and would love to know what you thought about training!

  6. I really love this post! It's definitely something I'm constantly working on myself.


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