The One Book You Must Read in 2020

Goal-setting can be a tricky area. So much time goes into preparation and planning that if there’s no real process for how to go about setting or achieving them, then patterns repeat, and progress can be nonexistent. Three weeks into a new year, personal development planners are beginning to find out what levels of commitment look like and if a New Year’s resolution will continue gaining momentum or fall by the wayside. Starting not just a new year but a new decade, this opportunity to set our intentions will be significantly impacted for the better by reading only one book this year. This surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results has made an immediate impact on my life and changed my perception of the process to achieve my most important goal for 2020. The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan is an absolute difference-maker, and I want to share with you why I think this is the one book you must read this year.

The Path to What You Want

We’re going to spend two hours discussing how to set goals and develop the habit to achieve them, said no teacher I ever had. Attending the Best Year Ever Blueprint last month was a realization that I would be in a room for that amount of time and doing just that. Geoff Woods, Vice President of The ONE Thing and host of The ONE Thing podcast, led our discussion, having spent the last four years figuring out how to help individuals, teams, and entire organizations to live the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.

 “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” -F.M. Alexander

Exercises we went through from this book and the depth that we went into on setting goals already is resulting in the creation of immediate momentum. Part of it comes down to something we often don’t do, breaking what you’re doing into smaller steps. Not just smaller steps, but ones where “it’s so small you discount its importance.” The discussion also revealed that we treat everything like it’s equally important, and how that’s not true. Geoff went on to explain that our nature is to initially go for the low hanging fruit and do the easiest thing. I recognize I, too, am guilty of doing this first, looking to create momentum by my action, but that is under the assumption that everything I want to do matters equally. “If you want to have your best year ever, you have to make a choice about what you want and how you’ll go about getting it.”

Implementing The One Thing

In completing the Last Week from My Perspective Exercise I previously wrote about, I am now applying The One Thing principles to how I plan my week, even asking myself, “What is the one thing I can do as such by doing so that everything becomes easier?” An example of how I’m applying this is with finding a charity to volunteer 100 hours to. I’d come across research detailing health benefits of those who volunteer for 100 hours a year, or around two hours every week and the impact it could have in your life and have made it a goal to find a charity to give to in Seattle. In determining how to figure out where I could best be of service, my One Thing to start my journey to volunteering is set time aside to only research charities in the area and find what resonates with my values and would keep me engaged. By setting aside time on specified days, that is my small step to begin stacking up dominos that lead to contributing to my community.

What I Share with Everyone about The One Thing

 Any vagueness in defining your one thing will be aided by asking, “How will I know that I’m successful?” That answer will help you to identify what it is you’re trying to have as a result of your action so that you’re drilling into that one thing. Even if you keep coming up with lists of goals, ask yourself, “What is the one thing I can do as such by doing so that everything becomes easier?” Then do that one thing first.

“Until my number one priority is done, everything else is a distraction.” -Gary Keller

How Will You Protect Your Time?

I’ve invested time to determine my main goal, the smallest steps I can take, and defined how I will know that I am moving towards success, but there’s one crucial step left, Time Blocking. Gary pointed out that there are three things that we must take a stand for; our time off, doing your one thing, and lastly, you’re planning time. In the age of always been busy, taking time off for a vacation in America no longer seems to carry the importance it once did. When I began to burn out years ago from continually being on the go working, I wish I had the advice to block my vacation time, even if I didn’t have anything planned. Having that space available before I needed it would’ve been an excellent opportunity to step back and re-charge after working the many long days I was expected to.

The most important thing, however, I learned from Gary that has me most excited to read The One Thing is in the details about the preparation and carrying out of my one thing. As he said, “if you want to live an extraordinary life, it requires that you be as efficient and as effective as possible, in as brief an amount of time, and then shut it down.” Until I became frustrated with my own weekly progression toward goal achievement in October, leading to developing my Last Week Exercise, I had no framework for when I would decide what my week would look like. Blocks of time were available, but my prioritization was more or less, filling my daily planner with to-do list tasks that did not leave me with extraordinary results in every area of my life. Now I understand that “we just narrow our focus for that short period of time on something that matters to us. We know how to do it for the things that do not matter most.”

Create Lasting Habit Change

“You can’t have it all. You can’t do it all. What this means is we have to make a choice. We have to make a choice about what we want.” -Geoff Woods

2020 is here, and our time is now. This year could be our best, and it can be as simple as figuring out how we approach the achievement of what is most important to us. If reading just one book provided the foundation for building a game plan for success, this is it.


If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post or find a useful idea, please share it with your friends and family. Your referral is greatly appreciated. I look forward to discovering where the change happens with you.





2 thoughts on “The One Book You Must Read in 2020

  1. Pingback: What You Can Do in 2021 - Where the Change Happens

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