OTAT, One Thing at a Time

OTAT, what’s that?

OTAT (pronounced oh-tat) is a revolutionary new trend sweeping the country – well, at least this blog and the lives of its wonderful readers.  OTAT is for the brave and the bold – just like you – who have decided to live their lives changing one thing at a time, and are starting this new trend by selecting one thing and one thing only for their New Year’s Resolution.

Why focus on one and only one thing when there are so many things you want to change in 2011?  

Because selecting one and only one thing dramatically increases your odds of achieving it by providing less wiggle room and more accountability. 

So how do you choose one thing when you have at least 2, if not 200 things you want to change?

Well, here’s what to do – and, as I mentioned the other day, I can’t claim this wonderful approach, the idea is that of  life coach and author David Essel, who has been using it for years to help people change their lives.

Your One Thing

  • What you are looking for, is the one thing that when accomplished, will radically change your life.
  • Keyword – R  A D I C A L L Y    
  • Hint: The “one thing” is usually something you have denied or delayed working on in the past.

Still here? (Some people bail when faced with the fact that they need to work on something they have ignored in the past, but you didn’t, that’s great. I guarantee the rewards will be worth the effort.)

Here’s how.

Find some quiet time and a quiet place for yourself – you will need about 15 minutes. (Hard to do, yes I know, but please find a way; you are worth it.)

Bring two pieces of 8-1/2 x 11 pieces paper and a pen or pencil with you.  

Take a few deep breaths to clear your head and relax yourself a bit. (You know those deep in-through-the-nose, fill your-lungs-and-stomach kind of deep breaths.) 

Okay, good, now write a vertical list of the following bold words. The order is up to you, and please leave more space than I have between the items:

  • Financial (Income, expenses, etc.)
  • Career (Education, profession, job satisfaction, etc.)
  • Health (Exercise, smoking, eating well, etc.)
  • Relationship with others (Love, family time, forgiveness, new friends, etc.)
  • Relationship with self (Emotional leftovers, kindness, forgiveness, etc.)
  • Spiritual (However you perceive it.)

Now, do the next steps quickly and go with your first thought in each step.

  1. Read the list.
  2. Flip the paper over.
  3. Think about the words you just wrote, and select the first three topics from the list that come to mind.
  4. Flip the paper over and circle those three items.
  5. Flip the paper over again to the blank side, and write one of the items you just circled.
  6. That’s your one thing.
  7. Simple, yes. Scientific, maybe not. Honest, pretty much without a doubt.

Congratulations on picking your one thing.  Job well done!

So why did you pick that topic? 

I don’t know. You may know, or like many folks, you may be surprised [That’s the denial part, I can be big on that :-).] Either way, take a few minutes to jot down ideas and thoughts about this area of your life. Write anything that comes to mind under this topic. Do not censor your thoughts, write all of them – good, bad, ugly. Then answer these questions:

  1. Have you tried to accomplish change in this area of you life in the past, and if so, what did the process feel like to you?
  2. Did you experience any success, if so what? How did that feel?
  3. Write down any new thoughts these questions bring up for you. Use your second sheet of paper, if you need it.

Whatever you do, do not go back and pick another topic. (That’s the delaying part.) You picked this one thing  for a reason, and either you already know why addressing an issue related to this topic will radically change your life, or you will figure it out after writing and thinking about it. (That’s the brave and bold part.)

Please spend a few more minutes flushing-out your thoughts, and next Monday, and every Monday for the rest of this year, I will show you how to turn your one thing into your future.

In the meantime, Friday to be exact, I will tell you about a new television program that used a scientific approach to happiness to transform the lives of eight unhappy folks down-under and captured the attention of  hundred of thousands of Australians.


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