Don’t Give Up

“One of the secrets of a successful life is to be able to hold all of our energies upon one point, to focus all of the scattered rays of the mind upon one place or thing. “     Orison Swett Marden, M.D.

Goals become a bigger part of our conversation during the first few months of each new year.  By February, many of us have already given up on our New Year’s resolutions. Forget the time of the year because goals can be sidelined at any point in our lives.

We may have been really good for a week or two. Perhaps, that daily resolution lasted 10 days. Maybe not.

We listened to the experts. We were motivated, at least in the beginning. We organized just like the organization guru suggested.

What should we do? What is our solution when confronted with the disappointing fact that we have once again given up intentions that were really important?

Is there anything that works? Yes, I believe the best advice on goal setting is from a single line in the movie City Slickers. In a conversation between the cowherd boss and the city slicker, a question is raised and then answered by the herdsman.

“What is the secret to life?”   His answer . . .

“Just one thing.”

I love this principle! Over and over again throughout my life, I have embraced this timeless truth with great results. In some of the most difficult and challenging moments in my life, this has successfully steered me in the right direction.  No longer surprising, this strategy has been central to my own journey toward success.  It is the ultimate ‘get organized’ solution.

We already have a busy life. In this electronics era, busyness is the new standard. It will never give way to the past. We will always be busy. The question for all of us is, how shall we decide to live in this new eventful world?

Just one thing

Our tendency is to try to do everything. After all, everything is running headlong into our lives. Smartphones and iPhones guarantee that every little detail that is vital to us (or not important) is going to surface every single day. And yet, success is not a long list of 100 things to do. Not for me. How about you?

That bucket list – things we want to do before our demise – presents a serious problem. Too many things. Our now abandoned New Year’s resolutions have one inherent drawback. Too many of them. Our getting organized list has a huge challenge. Too many things to get organized. That list of bad habits I want to conquer has one difficulty – the list is too long.

The problem with such a volume of aspirations is simply quantitative – there are too many. Not enough time for the numbers to add up to the total.  Wisdom is in subtraction – not addition.

It is easier to not make progresson a long list of things to do. After all, who among us could ever accomplish such a long list? The very lengthy checklist is a deterrent to even getting started. And, in reality, just in launching the holy grail, I realize that complete accomplishment is not possible. There is not enough time.  And, I am already thinking of a few things to add which will make it even longer. And more impossible.

Some organization experts even suggest that you create a ‘maybe’ or ‘future’ list. Are you serious?! Things you might get to at some point in life if you ever accomplish a portion of your major list. And the maybe list is impossible because my current list is also impossible. If you have a future list, you already have confirmed the challenge.

Perhaps, you are a rare individual who does not have a maybe list. Look closely. Your current list likely is filled with many maybes. How many items on your current list have been there for over three years? How many have been current for over five years?  And sadly, have you been pursuing a goal for over 10 years? What about the devastating question for which some of us will not want to contemplate an answer?

Do you have a current goal that has existed your entire life?  How do you feel about this? What are you waiting for?! When shall you start?

One objective alone is the most realistic goal. Just one thing. Forget for a moment solutions offered by the organization gurus, the ‘live life fully’ psychologists, motivation writers and speakers (of which I am among) or goal setting experts. Forget all the advice these individuals propound. Just do one thing. Not two. Just one!

Decide today to achieve one single goal this year that will have the greatest impact. A resolution that, when accomplished, makes you a better person, more successful. One thing that really changes things. Resolve, every single day, to work on this one life-changing foundational element. If you miss a day, then apply full concentration the next day with revived gusto. Talk about this one thing. Write it down. Put it on your calendar. Commit that you will accomplish this one thing. If you have identified three or four important goals, choose to focus on one. The one most important to you.

When you have successfully completed the most important aim, immediately adopt a new goal. Be sure that your selected objective will make a huge  difference.

If you accomplish one major life-changing goal every single year, within five years your influence and inspiration on others will be significantly magnified. You will have become the best that you were meant to be.

Here are some possible outcomes achievable within five years:

A college degree

Certification for a new skill

Advancement to new position in your career

Proficiency in a new hobby

Healing a relationship

Helping a family/friend to solve a major problem

Learning a new language

Learning how to play a musical instrument

Spiritual growth defined by a new habit such as daily prayer

Birth of a new life

A new career

Better health through improved daily diet and exercise

_____________________ (Your special important goal)

Any one single major goal accomplished will positively change your life. A combination of two will have significant impact. Five major goals will guarantee a changed life forever. Forever!

Would you like to change your life forever?  Forever!

Where shall I start?

Just one thing.