Change: Doing One Thing Different

If you do just one thing differently it can change your whole life, as opposed to “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”  If you take the right action, it can bring surprising changes to your thoughts and actions.  Choose one area of your life that is not working the way you want it to work, find one action you can take today and take that action right now or as soon as possible.

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” This is an old saw that never ceases to be true. Recovery programs use it a lot, and I like it because it is so very true.

There’s a book called Do One Thing Different in which the whole idea is that by changing just one action in your life, you can change your entire life.

The author is very clear that some people do need medical help with problems, but that many times just changing one thing can make an enormous difference.

Some people feel that if they’re going to make a change, they have to change everything. These people can’t quit smoking unless they first completely redecorate their homes (to get the smoke out), go on a diet, begin exercising, and take up a hobby. As a result, they never quit smoking, because getting all of those things synchronized takes far too much time and effort.


In our smoking example, those are all good activities. They could all help with letting go of smoking. But the first thing to do is stop buying cigarettes. Just that one thing would make more of an alteration in the smoker’s life than anything else.

Everything else can be done, and maybe should be done. But you have to start with one thing.

Should you try to deal with the emotional issues that seem to be causing a problem? Of course, but also change actions.

Let’s take another example. You are feeling depressed about your job. You used to work out in the evening, but now you sit in your recliner and read the newspaper or watch television because you’re too blue and tired to work out.

Should you be trying to find a new job? Sure, if you think that’s really the solution. Or trying to fix that one.

But first you should get up, put on your workout clothes, and go to the gym. Every day.

What? You’re too depressed? Go anyway. If you’re not physically ill, just put on the clothes and drive to the gym. Get out, go in, and work out. If you get too tired, you can go home.

Chances are that by altering your behavior and going to the gym again, you’ll reach a mental and emotional state where you are no longer so depressed, and can deal with your job more effectively.

Action, if it’s the right action, can bring surprising changes in your thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, thoughts and feelings rarely generate action as often as the reverse happens.

Just get up and do something different from what you’ve been doing. Make one change in your life that, if it works, would make your life significantly better. And, of course, choose something that’s likely to work.

How you can do one thing different:

  • Choose one area of your life that is not working the way you want
  • Find one action you can take today
  • Take that one action right now or as soon as possible

What’s the one thing I changed that made a huge difference in my life?

I stopped drinking.

Thanks to pinkblocks for including this post in the Blog Carnival of Personal Power.

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