A couple of years ago, I was introduced to a really fascinating book. It went on to influence my life and how I live it.
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller provides tools and insights into living to your full potential. It focuses your thinking on how to schedule your life—daily, weekly, and monthly—to achieve your goal, that “one thing.”
My conflict has always been having two “one things.”
My main goals are focused on travel and running. It has been tricky at times to balance them both—I make it work as best I can.
After finishing the book, and to manage both areas of my life better, I jumped straight into one of the principles and purchased a massive A1 yearly planner. It’s the type that can sit out on the floor, or be pinned on the wall, so you can mark up the full year ahead with all your plans.
I was in my element. I am an analyst and love spreadsheets, colour coding, milestones, tracking to plan, and breaking complex activities into weekly or daily tasks. Basically, I’m an excel geek.
I started to implement the key principle religiously in 2018. This was to plan out my full year in January, so I knew my non-negotiables. The plan included all my running dates, known or expected life events (like those much-anticipated music festivals or the scheduled family gatherings), and travel trips. I knew exactly what my short and long-term goals were, and my life would work around them. That way, I didn’t leave anything to chance, and I didn’t need to compromise on my “one thing.”
This also suited my work lifestyle; I am self-employed. By having trips booked, or at least in the diary, I knew my whereabouts for the full year when committing to new contracts. What is also important is not to stack your diary, which can be tricky when you have more goals than one person needs. If you leave some weekends free, then you can have spontaneous catch-ups with friends or have some “self-care” downtime.
What is really powerful about this way of planning is the control you have over your life. You plan so your year is how you want it to be. You don’t fall into those traps you can often see being played out around you—and you know them.
Let’s see if you recognise any:
>> letting life drift by as each weekend passes as a non-event
>> slacking off from goals with no event booked to keep you accountable
>> making excuses for why you didn’t go on that dream trip
>> running out of time to do that house project, the one you have always been talking about
>> over-thinking to the point you don’t even start because it becomes too difficult
>> waiting for others to join you or collaborate, and you end up doing nothing.
Instead, with your “one thing” planned out, you end up booking the trip of a lifetime, climbing the tallest mountain in Scotland, racing that marathon in a new country, going to music festivals, seeing family in London, and visiting friends who have flown in from Australia. The list is endless.
You make it happen by having a plan, and you design the kind of life that brings you joy.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” ~ Bill Gates