Making lasting changes in your life is easier when you focus on changing one thing at a time.

If you’re an optimist like me, setting goals and making changes is often very exciting - it’s a exhilarating opportunity to make things better. This enthusiasm fuels my motivation and gives me energy. However, I noticed that if don’t approach this decision with mindfulness, this insatiable drive will take over and trick me into biting more than I can chew.

Much like physical exercise requires gradual increase in weights, or the running distance, increasing self-control and responsibility works best when done in a controlled manner.

In addition to picking only one thing to work on, it also helps if you get as specific as possible about the situation and/or context. For example, instead of saying: I’d like to improve my self-confidence, it’s more effective if you focus on the exact situation in which you’re not as confident as you’d like. If there are many possible situations, just pick one. It could be speaking up at meetings, or giving presentations at work.

This decreased scope and increased focus will increase your chances of successfully completing the intentional change process. Once your new habits get fully internalized, congratulate yourself and, if you wish, pick the next priority.

Good luck!