You don’t need to change your whole life today. Just do one thing.
If you feel like you can’t handle the world and you’re an utter failure in life, just do one thing.
One thing done today can make a dent in that seemingly-permanent state of helplessness you feel. One thing done today is how you change.
Every thought, word and action affects your state of mind. Every single thing you do either increases or decreases your energy. The reason we feel in a funk is we’ve been making choices that do not sustain us.
Sometimes you can lose tremendous energy all in one fell swoop. Someone cut you off on the freeway and you go into a road rage incident? That’ll cost you. That’ll drain all your good deeds of the day straight away. It’ll take awhile to recover from that, to get back just to the status quo you were in — and obviously that status quo was not such a great place if it was so easy to trigger the road rage in the first place.
We are the product of our habits. The way we think about the world reinforces the world. It creates it. Makes it stronger — and not necessarily in a self-positive way. When we’re thinking thoughts about how we’re a loser and a failure and never going to amount to anything special, then it’s that much easier to stay that way. How? By sitting back on the couch with a beer, or grabbing that bag of Doritoes and clicking around on Reddit for another three hours. Nothing wrong with those things per se, but they tend to leave you unsatisfied. Or in other words, drained.
And when you’re drained, and that becomes the habitual state that you live in, it can feel overwhelming or impossible to change.
It can even feel impossible to change when you’re on balance doing well. If your life is cruising and you’re doing great in your job and you’ve got a nice partner and everything is hunky dory… That’s when you may be in most danger of all. It can be tremendously difficult to find motivation to go to the next level when everything seems to be working out.
So what do you do in that situation?
Just do one thing.
Instead of trying to wholesale change everything in your life at once, or get overambitious in all the new initiatives and self-improvement tasks you will tackle, focus today on just one thing.
If you’ve not been exercising lately (or ever): Just do one thing.
Go for a walk, even if that means only around the block and back home. Literally, it does not have to be much.
The value of this is that you are doing something different. Doing something different breaks you free of the rut. Doing something healthy will make you feel proud of yourself, that yes, you actually can change from being a total schmuck.
Just do one thing.
One very simple, easily accomplished thing.
It might be as basic as cleaning off your desk. You know, that desk where you don’t even remember what color it is. That desk that’s literally covered with papers and unopened bills and empty bags of Doritoes. And that stack of brochures you picked up at that expo three years ago, and the Christmas card sent by your dentist.
Go through the brochures.
Through stuff away.
Find the surface of the desk once again.
Just do one thing.
It literally can be anything. Do one thing to change. Make it as insignificant as you can think of if you want.
Wash the car.
Wash the dog.
Sweep the deck.
Replace the lightbulb on the front porch that’s been out for a month.
Post your bike that you’ve been meaning to sell on Craigslist.
Sign up for a gym membership.
If you’ve ever meditated before, and you’re not actively meditating now, your one thing should be meditation.
Do one thing today, and do it now.
If when you’re done you feel inspired to do another, don’t do it. Save that one for tomorrow. Or maybe you do do it. It’s up to you. But the point is, do just one thing.
The hardest thing to do in life is to change — but doing one thing is easy. You’re reading this right now. You’re about to come to the end. Put your phone down, get up from your computer, go do one thing.
Do one thing that’s easy and accessible and achievable, that’s outside the pattern you’ve had for yourself in the most recent weeks and months.
Do that, and you’ll get a boost of self-confidence.
Do that, and tomorrow, come back and read this again.
You may not feel that it matters, but do one thing.
They say one day at a time. It’s really one thing that will make change.