Do One Thing Different: 41 Small Changes You Can Make That Will Change Your Life.

Are you familiar with Bill O’Hanlon’s book Do One Thing Different?  I wasn’t until a couple of days ago when, in a meeting, our wellness committee  came up with the idea to launch a program where employees would focus on changing just one behavior.

Our employees are no different than anyone else.  They are trying to do a hundred things at once.  They have to work every day to make a living, provide a home for their family, attend school meetings, do the laundry, drive the kids to soccer practice, clean house for an elderly parent on the weekend, shop, run errands, and on and on.

In the middle of it all they are trying to find work/life balance, lower their stress (and their blood pressure), eat healthier meals, exercise, lose ten pounds, stay in touch with friends, and carve out a little time to enjoy their life.  Exhausting!

Work on lighting one bulb at a time.

Work on lighting one bulb at a time.

In our committee meeting our discussion focused on what program we could offer that would help people be healthier that wouldn’t involve weekly meetings or weigh-ins, a structured exercise program, a diet plan of any kind and, in general, anything overwhelming.

We want this program to involve everyone! Most of all we want to reach the people that we’re not already impacting with our programs.  We want to capture the attention of people that don’t take care of themselves because they are just too busy!

‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I don’t have time’ is the excuse that people give most often when it comes to choosing healthy behaviors.  Too busy to cook, too busy to get away from the desk for a 10 minute break, too busy to exercise after work, too busy to walk to the coffee shop, too busy to practice mindful eating, too busy to . . . . . . .  (fill in the blank).

The program we’ve designed will recognize that people are busy and ask them to do one thing different; work on changing or creating one habit that will – over time – have a dramatically positive impact on their health.

41 Ideas For Doing One Thing Different 

In my research of ways to articulate this idea that we came up with of asking people to change one thing I ran into Bill O’Hanlon’s Do One Thing Different concept.  It was magic!  Our idea to have employees pick one thing that they can change that will impact their health in a profound way was solidified by Do One Thing Different which might just be the name of our program. (I hope Bill doesn’t mind.)

If you were going to do one thing different that would improve your health in a profound way what would it be?  I’ve generated a list of 41 ideas to get you thinking but if you come up with one of your own that’s even better.  Here’s my 41:

  1. Live in the moment.
  2. Start a gratitude journal.
  3. Practice five minutes of meditation each day.
  4. Buy (and use) a smaller dinner plate.
  5. Drink water in place of sugary sodas, sweet tea or juice.
  6. Do a 10 minute workout five days a week.
  7. Take a walking break everyday.
  8. Wear a pedometer.
  9. Use a food tracker
  10. For every hour you sit move for three minutes.
  11. Buy a jump rope and use it for at least seven minutes every day.
  12. Don’t sit when you can stand.
  13. Prepare and eat 90% of your meals at home.
  14. Pack your lunch to take to work.
  15. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
  16. Limit or eliminate processed foods in your diet.
  17. Turn screen time into lean time. Put a set of dumbbells by the T.V. and use them while you watch your favorite shows.
  18. Eat a source of lean protein everyday for breakfast.
  19. Celebrate special occasions with something other than food.
  20. Sign up for a fitness class.
  21. Pick a 5K race and start training for it.
  22. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  23. Try a new healthy recipe every week.
  24. Drink your coffee without sugar or creamer.
  25. Read food labels when you shop.
  26. Go for 30 days without eating fast food or heat-and-eat foods of any kind.
  27. Find a workout or walking buddy, set up a workout schedule with them and stick to it.
  28. Turn off the TV during dinner and play light jazz or easy listening music in its place.
  29. Get seven hours of sleep a night.
  30. Set an evening curfew for checking e-mails. (i.e. no e-mail checks after 8 p.m.)
  31. Walk 10,000 steps every day.
  32. Lead your co-workers in a worksite wellness challenge; Walk to the Moon, Climb Mt. Everest, etc.
  33. Eat only whole grains: brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole grain or whole wheat breads.
  34. Swap bad fats (saturated and trans) for good (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated).
  35. Get out of your comfort zone and try a sport or activity that you’ve never done before.
  36. Add a HIIT, Tabata or interval workout to your program each week.
  37. Perfect, then practice 5 basic Yoga moves; do them daily.
  38. Each week set and track a healthy behavior goal. At the end of the week evaluate how well you did in meeting it.
  39. Learn how to avoid negative target fixation; make it a habit to stay positive.
  40. Eat Mindfully.
  41. Stop making excuses and go for the gold.

Select that one thing that you can do different and stay with it until you’ve mastered it.  Then pick one more and work your way down this list or the list that you come up with. Establishing healthier habits is overwhelming if you try to change everything at once but this concept sets you up for success.

What one thing do you need to do?  Share it in the comment box below and I’ll add it to the list.

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