No New Year’s resolutions doesn’t mean not setting goals. In fact, without a goal, how do you or I know what to do next? This is one of my husband’s favorite questions when I tell him I’m considering something: “What’s Your Goal?” he says. Naming why I’m doing something works like magic. After declaring where I’m headed, the answer to what to do next flashes neon in my mind and in my line of vision. Which leads me to One More Gem from my psychologist friend.
Again, after years and years of work with people, he has come to the definitive opinion that the human mind is capable of only one thought at a time. “Oh, yes,” he admitted, “I believed for years that I could and was multi-tasking. I thought I could talk on the phone, write a letter, and answer my wife’s questions with a nod of my head, one way or the other, all at the same time.”
Multi-tasking does not exist, he’s concluded. “Even though I was getting a lot done in a short amount of time, I was never thinking more than one thought at a time. Then I argued with myself some more. After all, I could drive and talk on my cell at the same time.”
Wrong again. Driving had become automatic for him. He didn’t form a thought for each action that took his car down the road. “Adjust the wheel to the right, now the left. Put foot on the brake. Now on the accelerator. Those were habitual actions. My one-thought-at-a-time was directed toward my phone conversation.”
Back to goal setting. Goal setting is applying the innate ability to entertain one thought at a time in a particular, chosen direction. That’s all. Just make a statement that encapsulates a goal and repeat it to yourself, followed by the steps needed to complete the goal, one thought at a time. Yessirreee, you can almost feel the brain cells racing to join each other in a collective mass to address and accomplish a stated goal, whether that takes one minute or one year. Same principle. One-Thought-at-a-Time.
I like the idea of One-Thought-at-a-Time. I like it even better with capitalization. Right now, I’m using it daily to put myself back to sleep when I awaken during the night. When my Monkey Mind begins jumping from one negative thought to the next, I activate a predetermined One-Thought-at-a-Time word or phrase and talk myself into a sleep state. I have hopes that this technique will reduce itself to a habit also. One-Thought-at-a-Time for starting a story. One-Thought-at-a-Time for writing a grant. One-Thought-at-a-Time for grocery shopping. One-Thought-at-a-Time when moving from one room to another to retrieve a specific item, instead of getting to the room and forgetting what I wanted to find.
This idea could be life-changing, or perhaps helpful in only small ways. Nevertheless, you are invited to consider how it might benefit you. Give it a thought, one at a time.