One Change at a Time

Dave Ramsey calls it gazelle-like intensity. It’s equating a gazelle’s flight from its predator to a person or family’s flight from financial mess.

Or it’s packing up your bags and heading to some kind of boot camp to get in shape for 8 weeks.

Or it’s heading to a residential treatment facility for addiction or some other bout with mental illness.

Each one of these requires a single-minded focus.


Sometimes we are in a place where we can tackle more than one personal or spiritual growth goal at a time. Our finances are fine. Our health is relatively stable. Our family is trucking along nicely.

But if there is some part of our world that is way out of whack, we owe it to ourselves to set our other goals on the back burner and concentrate our energy on that one part of our world.

Let’s say it’s finances. Let’s say you’re deep in debt and need to shore up income as well as out-flow.

Can you focus on that while trying to drop 30 lbs over the next two months? Or vice-versa for that matter?

If you’re working on debt while you’re fretting about weight, might you sabotage your efforts by being sucked into some workout program that costs additional money? A gym membership? ‘Organic’ or other over-priced health food?

If you’re overly concerned with weight issues while you’re focusing on money, might you, if you slip up and eat too much mac and cheese, soothe yourself with a purchase?

Give yourself a pass on the other areas while you set your gaze toward the one thing that will sink you if you don’t do something now. 

It’s like talking on the phone with someone. If you try to answer email while you’re on the phone, neither your email nor your phone call will get the attention it deserves. Your friend will sense it and be offended. Your email will have to be rewritten because you’ll have written something that you were actually saying on the phone to your friend that has nothing to do with your email. Not that I’ve done that.

Give yourself a time period. Focus on the one thing for 2 months or a quarter of the year. Then reevaluate your priorities and shift your focus if you’d like.

The main point is to give yourself a chance to win at one thing instead of hedging your bets and messing up your chances to succeed anywhere.

You Might Be Surprised

Charles Duhigg, in his book The Power of Habit, describes what he calls Keystone Habits. These habits will have unintended positive influence on other areas of an organization or a person’s life.

You should read this piece he wrote about how Alcoa incorporated a habit of safety which resulted in overall organizational improvement.

You shouldn’t fear that if you focus on finances that your weight will tailspin. Practicing good habits in one area, might just make you good at habits in general. This increased ‘habit skill’ could accidentally keep you in line in other areas.

What Are You Focusing On Today?

So if you feel like you have 5 areas of your life that are spinning out of control. Pick one and pour your heart into it.

It’s just a suggestion. But if other things haven’t worked, why not, right?

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