Why One Life Hack Can Change Everything.

Via Tamara Star
on Sep 3, 2014
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The Way We Do Anything is the Way We Do Everything.

When I first heard this phrase 17 years ago, it took a few moments to really sink in. I thought to myself: that makes no sense; I’m totally together when it comes to my relationships, and my business is thriving. And then it hit me.

In typical fiery Aries fashion, I can work myself into a frenzy to get something done at work, procrastinate like crazy, and be quick to jump to conclusions if something or someone seems to upset the apple cart of my livelihood. But in my mind, business was only one area of my life, and my real life consisted of all the other areas.

But the truth is: we aren’t split. We’re whole—we can’t drop the ball in one area of life and expect our other areas to function smoothly.

When I procrastinate at work, then get myself into a frenzy to complete a project, I’m exhausted. I have nothing to give the ones I love, much less even myself. I become out of balance and return home crabby and testy.

The habits we practice in one area of life, become our life.

Just like we become the five people we hang out with most in life, the way we operate on a daily basis is our life.

I’ve been practicing and teaching Feng Shui for over 17 years now, and can walk into a home or business and read the life of the inhabitants like the back of my hand. It spooks me at times, but I’m 99.99% accurate, the way we do anything is the way we do everything.

Let’s pretend I’m in your home right now. Take a moment and open your closet.

Are there a bunch of clothes in there you never wear, but continue to hold on to, just in case?

If so, I’m betting there are people in your life that don’t match who you are or who you really want to be, yet you continue to hold on to them in fear of standing alone. If that doesn’t fit, how about this? I’m betting there is a job you’re holding on to that you don’t love, but you’re settling for what is, not what you want to be.

Do you see what I mean? The energy is the same. When we hold on to things just in case, we’re buying into poverty consciousness. We’re not trusting that what we need, or who we’ll want, will be there if we let go of what’s no longer working.

Now let’s think about an extra painful topic for many people. How is money flowing at the moment?  When it’s seemingly slow, chances are we’re slow paying our bills, holding back on settling debts, and dragging our feet in general around our money responsibilities.  When we slow the flow in one area, it’s going to dam up all areas.

Perhaps take a peek at the area behind your car seat. Is it filled with mail, receipts and left over lunch bags? When we drive around with a bunch of stuff that we know needs to be dealt with, it drains our energy. When we open the car door and immediately groan, it’s going to affect our mood. You see, if you’re not dealing with little things—opening mail, filing receipts, or even throwing away daily garbage, chances are you’re not dealing with other little things in your life like returning calls promptly, volleying back emails, and following up on your to-do lists.

Let’s face it, none of us are perfect; but the little ways we drop the ball in life are going to add up and affect other areas.

Take a moment and reflect upon your primary relationship, or if you’re single, your last significant other. What was their top complaint about you? Did they complain you started the relationship present and loving, but dribbled out like a flickering flame in your efforts? Now think about how you handle other projects in your life. Do you start out excited and passionate, but lose interest when you’re bored or the going gets tough?

If I could, I’d insert the sound of crickets here.

I know. It’s painful to look at.

But…it’s true. The way we do anything is the way we do everything.

Here’s the good news—there’s a silver lining to all of this: This little law of life, works in our favor too. When we make tiny changes in one area of life, we affect other areas like the wings of a butterfly starting a tsunami on the other side of the world.

We can’t help but affect our life in big ways when we start to make little changes.

One of the craziest of exercises I have the women in my 40 day reboot program do is to spend 30 minutes cleaning their toilet. Stay with me here, I promise this works.

I want you to walk into your bathroom and take a look at your loo. Open the lid and go where no woman wants to go and no man acknowledges is actually there: the rim of the toilet. Disgusting isn’t it? I don’t care how clean you are, that area of your toilet is going to be icky.

Next, sit down on a towel (you’re going to be there a while) with all of your cleaning supplies nearby and begin. Set a timer for 30 minutes and clean that toilet from top to bottom. Clean the area behind the toilet on the floor, clean the bolts that hold it down, clean the outside of the bowl, the seat, the back, the top and the inside of the toilet bowl. Scrub every last inch and all the crevices that are hard to reach. Use an old toothbrush if you have to, but get everything as clean as you would if you had to eat your next meal off that toilet.

If you’re still with me here, I want you to leave the room, wash your hands and have yourself something to eat and drink. Then go back into that bathroom and feel the energy shift. Chances are, you’re going to want to attack the bathtub, shower and sink with the same vigor after feeling the shift.

And here’s the magic part: something in your life will change. Women in my program have suddenly received money, gotten good news, found something thought to be lost, or received something new.

Not up for cleaning?

Spend an hour this afternoon or evening and complete three things you’ve been putting off. Clean out that drawer, make that call, send that email or fix a situation with a clear conversation or apology.

When we experience the freedom that arrives and the burst of energy that returns, we no longer question the effect every area of our life has on all aspects of our happiness. We are not divided beings. We’re whole and we’re all connected.

When we finally realize that the way we do anything is the way we do everything, we have the power to change every aspect of our life.


Post adapted from Daily Transformations



Six Benefits of Getting Organized with Feng Shui.

21 “Non-Spiritual” Things that make us Happy.



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Editor:  Travis May

Photo:  Megan Smith/Pixoto



About Tamara Star

Tamara Star believes happiness is not an end destination, but instead the ability to see the ordinary through eyes of wonder. Want her free tips and tricks for health, happiness and love? Click here. Receive her free 3 video series for clearing the slate for more love & happiness. Click here. She's an international best-selling author and the creator of the original 40-day Personal reboot program for women--a 6 week virtual deep dive into clearing the slate on what's blocking you. Registration is open NOW here. Tamara's global reach inspires women around the world through her programs, newsletters, and teachings. She's been featured on SiriusXM radio, Good Morning America, former Oprah producer LeGrande Green's GetBOLD radio, Dr. Brenda Wade's GoodLove Radio, Daybreak USA and News Australia. Connect with Tamara on her websiteFacebook or Twitter. Tamara's work had been translated into 6 languages and featured on The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Positively Positive, Yahoo News, The News.com Australia, The Good Men Project, and Yoga Anonymous.


53 Responses to “Why One Life Hack Can Change Everything.”

  1. MissKoolAid says:

    Very interesting article. It's making me look at my life in a whole new way.

    • dailytransformations says:

      That makes my day MissKoolAid! seriously…we have the power to change our lives, we just forget sometimes.

  2. Spirit David says:

    I'm going to do this, it really resonated with me. The way you do one thing is how you do everything for sure and I want to attempt to break that pattern. Thank you Tamara – well written!

  3. Guest says:

    While I think the decluttering and cleaning advice is good, I think the toilet cleaning exercise is pretty sexist.

  4. elsquidblue says:

    WOW !!! I'll sit down and clean my toilet for 30 minutes for sure !! thanks for the advice, It's much needed in some aspects of my life !


  5. LAD says:

    When did not being a slob, cleaning up after ourselves and getting organize become not the normal, but a life hack?

  6. Joan says:

    This is very in keeping with the Flylady "shine your sink" method, which I've subscribed to for something like 14 years now. Very much believe that if you can do one thing, it spreads. 🙂

  7. potterchik says:

    I had the opposite experience: when I let go of the need for everything to be organized and neat, I freed up a lot of time to put into my relationships and my business. There are only so many hours, and you can't prioritize everything, so make sure you are prioritizing the things that matter.

    • dailytransformations says:

      Potterchik. I love that you brought this up. Actually in your case, the change you made free'd you up. Being too anal, too organized and too uptight definitely thwarts creativity. Glad you found your balance. Thanks for writing!!

  8. Claude Wrecks says:

    I feel like you are on to me! I have started this thing where I jokingly said this is phase 1, I started throwing away things i didn't need and kind of just building a new foundation free of clutter from the past, then Phase 2 I have been tightening up what I build fixing things here and there and just improving, and Honestly I feel soo much better in my daily life, I just quit a job that was making me extremely unhappy and I am pretty much moving on to making my passion my job with a part time to pay some bills until I am generating enough myself

    great article and keep it up, you are truly one of the thinkers and I appreciated the read made me feel like I am moving in the right direction

  9. eilene says:

    wow i'm gonna go rip my heart out now. I was gonna say much more but DELETED THOSE WORDS. this article made me realize so much more about the world around me… toWARD me. I'm tristan on "legends of the fall"… I'm "the rock everybody breaks themselves against" and there is nothing i can do about it yet it is always "my fault" (indirectly they are saying it is all their fault… my fault is showing up and being the meticulous patsy cline kind of 'crazy'… "for thinking that my love could hold you". Ya know? how can one not fall into depths of despair, shatter and bleed oneself dry. I'm just glad i'm not a callous after all this.) can i be wholly and strangely an amazingly meticulous lover who breaks others simply by existing in the same breathing space. i don't fizzle… i just master "things" in 3 months and all lovers leave me at 3 years (toddlers). strangely I never approached them… they walked up to me. I can rest now. thanks for helping me clean my closet. gotta get back to loving me.

  10. thedragondreams says:

    THIS IS EPIC!!!! Gonna go clean the toilet now .. haha..

  11. edlunasees says:

    I understand the gist of this piece, and another way to say it is this: the macro often reflects the micro. Zoom in on one area of your life and you'll see lots of patterns that can also be seen on the bigger scale.

    But I also think it's a bit too simplistic to present it as a kind of rule. I realize you don't mean to say it in absolutist terms, because obviously there are plenty of times people may be organized and effective in one area, but not in others. But what I am suggesting is that there is no "one size fits all" solution to human fallibility.

    The sad truth is that the way our brains work, every attempt to improve in one area means another area gets neglected. It's how our neurons work, and there's no way around it. Getting things in order over here means letting this area over here fall into disorder. I therefore think it's folly to believe we can ever transcend our own wiring. The best we can do is nudge it and harness it here and there.

    In that sense, it might make more sense to just be okay with those junkyards of our soul. They are a part of who we are. We can clean up the ones that matter or the ones that are most in our way, but we can never fully put our house in order. A certain amount of clutter and disorder is part of what makes us human (and is probably what leads to creativity, too).

  12. Michelle says:

    Great article, thank you for taking the time to write something so simple yet so meaningful to many I am sure. Personally, it hit home. Thanks again.

  13. Lanny says:

    This article just changed my whole life. Been thinking of my life in a different way and being more conscious about decisions and how I am in each aspect of my life. Everything is connected.

  14. Aleah says:

    I'll try this out. My toilet does need cleaning, and I've been meaning to empty my closet for months. That said, I have years' worth of blog posts to write, delayed articles for clients, etc. etc. Too easy to see the pattern. Hope to make this a habit. Thanks, Tamara!

  15. Gabriel Swartsell says:

    I love it! No more sausage effect for my life, you know concentrating on one area of my life too intensely just to have another "end" or area blow up Because of that same intense compartmentalization and tunnel vision. I have the three things that I have been putting off for a long time and I am eager to experiment. I would love to have that steady Vigor restored! Great article.

  16. Brainbuster says:

    "Take a moment and open your closet.
    Are there a bunch of clothes in there you never wear, but continue to hold on to, just in case?
    If so, I’m betting there are people in your life that don’t match who you are or who you really want to be…"

    This is true for everyone, regardless of the tidiness of their closet.
    No need to look in my closet. This is a truism/generalization of all people.

  17. Mary says:

    Is is just me or are sections of this article missing? I haved subscribed to EJ for a couple of years not but lately have noticed many articles seem to have missing sentences when I open and read them?

    • elephantjournal says:

      Hi Mary,

      We have been hearing about this issue recently, and we think it has to do with what browser you are using. Trying opening the article on another browser, or clearing your cache and trying again! Thanks for letting us know it's happening—sorry for the inconvenience!


  18. parimukti1 says:

    I actually taught this execercise in a meditation retreat a few weeks. Instead of toilets the students had to clean their mats, their gear and pillows etc. and the immeditate area where they were going to meditate that day. Everyone actually felt the shift in energy of the whole room once they had actually given there all in getting there stuff as tidy as possible.

  19. antara says:

    I liked the message and energy in this article. Go Tamara! Has someone told you you look like the actress from Being Erica? Or maybe you are the real Erica!

  20. life is too short says:

    "this has changed my life" what a load of absolute bollocks. Why does the woman have to clean the toilet? My car is a mess because its a vehicle to get me from A to B. because Id rather spend my time looking after my family and seeing our friends than cleaning for the sake of appearances. My car is full of crumbs and wrappers not unopened bills.I open my closet and wonder what will fit and needs less ironing so I have more time. I'm going to drop balls because I constantly juggle loads and its okay to drop those that are not important.

    Clean? WTF? live, love because in the end, its all dirt.

  21. GipZ says:

    Interesting……my house is in order. Just cleaned the toilets and did my winter closet yesterday. So can I have that job now???? I do believe in Feng Shui and this theory as I look about….Very interesting read.

  22. I’m betting there is a job you’re holding on to that you don’t love, True story
    this life hack changed the way i think right now!

  23. Damien says:

    Great article, worried it might turn me more ocd.

  24. @VibrantKai says:

    This is one of the most useful and interesting articles I've read in a long time! I've been designing my own programs to help women with big dreams be their own best friend and double their confidence — and I've been neglecting the house.. Ignoring it even! (oh the bathroom!)

    So I guess a trip to the bathroom with my toilet brush and OLD toothbrush is in order then!!

    Thanks for such a great post!

  25. discouraged says:

    I’m discouraged with these types of articles. Im the person who has the clean toilet, the closet empty of unborn clothes etc… Yet. None of these changes you proclaim will happen, happen. Perhaps in extreme cases those things will help people. But not for everyone. It’s a good thought. But you have to work for what you want. You just can’t clean and declutter and expect your mindset to be different over night. It takes time and struggle and the want. It takes willpower and strength. I love elephant journal, But this not so much.

  26. Dann says:

    I like this article. It gives me hope. I've been stuck in a rut for so many years that I can't remember if there ever was a time that I was 'firing on all cylinders' so to speak.
    I know that there isn't a "quick fix" to anything in life and that you have to work for what you get. The problem that I run into is that I am really motivated to make changes in my life but then as I look at EVERYTHING I need to change, I get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all that I don't do anything.
    I'm left empty and unfulfilled and stuck in the same place as before…maybe even a worse place. I start and give up everything I do.
    Maybe this will help. The idea to give a small task my all to completion. I love the quote, "Every day I dedicate myself to the perfection of whatever I pursue," but it is overwhelming, making me think that I have to be perfect in everything. I can't do that, but I can own my toilet for 30 minutes and clean it better than ever before. I can do one simple little task to the best of my ability, better than I've ever done it before, and worry about nothing else.
    I'm hoping that it will give me the confidence and energy and hope that I can change more things in my life. Even if it is small and seemingly insignificant things, they'll build up over time until my entire life is different.
    So, thank you for the article. I'll start with my toilet and give it everything I have and I'll go from there.

  27. Veronica says:

    I can attest to the fact that this approach has worked for me for years now. When I am feeling overwhelmed, the first thing I do is figure out what is giving me anxiety. I then parse out the things that I have the power to act upon, and then I do so…because I always, without fail, feel revived afterward.

  28. hannah edge says:

    wow. I have heard this saying before but never along side an amazing article. This has really shouted out at me as being true and really has made me think about what I do/dont do in all aspects of life. Changes to come. Thank you so much xx

  29. Nice in theory but I have decided to just do what I can in this regard. With a business, kids and a messy man in the house I am afraid that keeping things zen just doesn’t happen that easy. I think a more balanced (realistic) perspective is needed. I get the principal of it but honestly I find it insulting to think that because I can’t keep a spotless house or declutter because I choose to spend my weekend doing something special with my girls rather than hours sorting, that means I’m not a reliable person… Sorry not buying it.

    Would I love to declutter and simplify? Yes. Am I going to judge myself because I’m busy? No. Hasn’t it been said that , “A clean house is a sign of a boring life.”. 🙂

  30. Raju says:


    Very nice article. I can totally relate myself with this. I never realised that things like these can make a huge difference in our lives. I need to make some drastic changes.

  31. Matt says:

    Very good reminders of what's been yelling at me in my own mind.. Thanks Tamara!

  32. christy says:

    While I feel there is some good advice here i feel it is a one size fits all approach. When i read it my inner perfectionist is triggered. I feel my little princess part of me that wants to do everything right going YES thats the solution … Lets go clean the toilet! But I have learned that i am not going to have everything perfect … i chose very consciously where i invest ny energy … i would rather spend my time nourishing my body … conjecting with others … planting something … my god there are a million places that i would rather put my energy than some obscure ring in my toilet. My toilet is clean enough … science is currently discovering that our obsession with disinfecting has been to the detriment of our health. For me I dont choose perfect … i choose joy. Obviously part of cultivating joy is being conscious of our surroundings and their effects on our psyches … but personally for me it is also recognizing and accepting that i will not be a perfect princess and prioritising accordingly.

  33. hrmilo says:

    Hard to refute the Zodiac signs sometimes. You peg me. Ha, ha. — Aries

  34. sharon says:

    Clutter in your life clutter the mind

  35. Ashley says:

    I really loved the clear, practical connections made in this article (i.e. hanging onto old clothes can translate into holding on to relationships, jobs, etc. that don't fit you anymore). So helpful and eye opening. Thank you for the wisdom!

  36. Ashley says:

    My toilet is spotless as I have a cleaning lady who comes once a week to take care of this as well as other chores I don't have time for, can't (like dusting and vacuuming are no nos with my asthma) or do not wish to do.

  37. M Kenney says:

    One little hack: change the way you do everything. Simple. 😉

  38. Marcos Araujo says:

    Hi… I'm back here at this post… again. So true.
    Have you gat it translated into portuguese already ?
    I want to share it in my network, in Brazil.

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