If you chase two rabbits … you will not catch either one.—Russian proverbWouldn’t it be nice to feel like you’re only chasing two rabbits? If you’re like me, it feels like you’re chasing a dozen or more, and not catching any. It’s frustrating, makes me grumpy, and it’s hard to stay motivated.

I’m not always frustrated, but for the majority of 2018, I spent too much time chasing too many rabbits. And I wasn’t catching any. I knew I needed a change, but I just didn’t know what to do.

Maybe you can relate.

In November 2018, I was introduced to the book, The One Thing. The book was initially published in 2012, and in January 2017, The One Thing podcast was launched. The podcast goes deeper into elements of the book by interviewing a business leader who is applying them to his or her business today.

This is the first article in a series that I’ll share over the course of the next year. I’ll highlight podcast episodes and sections in the book that I hope can spark conversations and questions about what your “one thing” is and how you are narrowing your focus to that one thing.

Advertisement

Identifying ‘one thing’

With a list of 50 things to do each day on the farm on a good day when everyone shows up, it may seem like a luxury to focus on “one thing.” It may seem impossible.

I’ve struggled to identify my “one thing” and have been thinking about it for nearly three months. Rather than get caught in not being able to immediately identify it – I’m sitting with the question.

Kaelyn Loes from The One Thing team suggested, “Your ‘one thing’ doesn’t need to be ‘right.’ Just choose something. Until you choose it, you can’t know.”

While I sit with the “big” question of defining my “one thing,” I’m going to start small. Flossing my teeth is my first small step; as I work on defining my big “one thing,” it’s the first 66-day habit I am going to focus on.

“Self-help circles tend to preach that it takes 21 days to make a change, but modern science doesn’t back that up. It takes time to develop the right habit, so don’t give up too soon,” said Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, authors of The One Thing (page 59).

At just over 45 days in, I’m still flossing. It’s my “start small” goal, but one that I have said I’ve wanted to do for many years. I’ve sat sweaty-palmed through too much plaque scraping for the last time. This is my 66 days to form the habit of flossing. It’s a small and simple goal. When I started, I thought it was about making my next dentist trip less painful and stressful.

What I’ve realized over the last 45 days is flossing is about more than just cleaning my teeth. It’s about setting my mind to consistently do what I say I’m going to do. It’s about focusing on small details and getting it done, every day. My first “one thing” is small, and seems disconnected from a “big thing.” Flossing is my first step in taking action, and building that habit has spilled into my personal and professional life in unexpected (and positive) ways.

You can take a small or big action too. To track the progress of a habit you want to build over the next 66 days, check out the free 66-Day Challenge calendar from The One Thing.

I’ve written a number of articles for Progressive Dairyman over the years mainly focused on our core business strength – stall bedding, design and stall management. While I hope some of those articles have helped your farm make positive changes, I hope this series of articles helps bring changes to your life that reach beyond the back barn and farm gate.

In a short time, my focus on defining my “one thing” has already made such a big impact on my life that I hope sharing it with you makes a positive impact on your life, family, farm and community.

Let’s connect

If you want to join along and share your own “one thing” journey, ask questions, share resources or get ideas, join me online in the Facebook group, “ONE THING for dairy farmers & dairy industry.” Simply place the group title in the search bar and request to be added.

Not on Facebook? No problem. Shoot me an email, and I’ll make sure we get you connected with the group in a way that is meaningful to you.

It took me about two months to pick up the book and crack into reading it, but once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Since I listened to about 20 podcasts before reading the book, I am confident that you can get something out of the podcasts even if you don’t read the book.

By the time my next article publishes, we will be nearing spring, and the resolutions that nearly half of all Americans make on New Year’s will be a distant memory. Did you know only 8 percent of people who set resolutions will actually succeed at implementing them? Next time, I’m going to dig deeper into the content of the Jan. 7, 2019, podcast, “Resolutions versus Habits: Why one is better than the other.” We’ll look at the five gaps that stop people from achieving their goals and encourage you to use the “focusing question” (Chapter 10) to think big, but go small.  end mark

Amy Throndsen