One Small Change for One Significant Improvement

In his book, Seven Habits for Highly Effective PeopleStephen Covey asks his readers to answer this simple question: "What one thing could you do (you aren't doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?"  

The question is a deceptively simple one to answer. "I would be happier if I meditated" or "I could lose 10 pounds" or "I could read more" or "I could take more personal time" or "I could start a daily journal." Because these answers are so easy to come up with, they seem simple to do. But why aren't we doing them?

Deep down I am pretty sure that petting my dogs for an extra five minutes every day would make me happier. That's not a huge time investment, but I always think that I'm too busy. 

Of course, I check my e-mail 100 times a day.

Go ahead and answer the question for yourself. What is one thing you could do that would make a tremendous positive difference in your life? Write it down. Put it in your planner. Write it on a note and stick in on your mirror so that you'll see it every morning. 

Here's the big action step: schedule time to do the activity or work towards your goal every day (or at least once every week). Be intentional about it. You have already decided that it is worth your time. Pet your dogs. Let something less important get put off--such as scrolling through your social media feed or checking your email for the fortieth time today. 

Here's What I Did

I began keeping a daily planner. The planner isn't just to keep me from missing my dentist appointments. It is a short period of reflection I take every morning on my tasks for that day. I ask myself: "what is important to me, and how does my day reflect that importance?" and "If I only finished this one thing today, then will I still be satisfied with my day?"

This practice only takes about 5-10 minutes every morning, but it helps me put my day into perspective. It also helps me avoid spending 3-4 hours on little tasks that aren't very important to me. I remind myself to focus on my WHY so as not to get hung up on little problems that emerge.

What Will You Do?


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