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April 1st, 2022

The Unstoppable Power of Just. One. Thing.

Sometimes it’s Best to Think Small!

It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”~Chinese Proverb

Think back to the last time you set a huge personal or professional goal. What happened next? If you’re like many of us can-do high achievers, you may have jumped the gun in a passionate dash toward the end result without creating proactive habits or plans to keep you on track. Maybe you pushed to sustain a sprinter’s pace without taking time to rest or refuel and crashed before crossing the finish line.

Sound familiar? I’ve been there too! Thankfully, after years of setting lofty goals–only to fail at reaching them– I discovered a simple technique that helped me make and sustain positive change! It’s the “Just one thing” concept a based on the Japanese principle of Kaizen: big changes come in continuous small, steady increments over time. Being a perfectionist by nature had only led me down the path of burn out, so I welcomed this non-judgmental way to achieve success with less struggle and strain. By cultivating fresh appreciation for each moment, and chunking big goals down into small, simple actions forward, I gratefully (and slowly) learned how to bypass the “fight-or-flight” brain chemicals that used to trigger panic and self-sabotage. And I haven’t looked back!

These days my goal-setting begins and ends with grace, self-compassion, and a strong desire for excellence. (’cause perfect is way over-rated!) Integrating this concept has led me to amazing mentors and many of the practical tools for resilience that I freely share in my coaching practice. Now in place of overwhelming resolutions, I choose “Just one word” to guide me each year, and encourage you to do the same.

In 2012 it was “Transformation”, 2013 it was “Impact”, in 2014 it was “Wholehearted”. In 2015 it was “Becoming”. 2016 was “Spacious”, 2017 was “Sojourn”, 2018 was “Integrate“, 2019 was “GraceFULL”, 2020 was “Presence”, 2021 was “Essential”, and 2022 is “Intimate”. (Because actually achieving my goals is not as important to me now as who I will “Become” in the process of achieving them).

So how can you apply this philosophy to your own goals? What is “just one thing” that could take you closer to a meaningful goal, starting today? For example: Yoga stretches. Gratitude journaling. Organizing closets. Making an overdue appointment.

This anonymous poem called “The Value Of One” is a wake-up-call that every moment counts and every second matters:

· To know the value of 1 year, ask a student who failed the grades.

· To know the value of 1 month, ask the mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

· To know the value of 1 week, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

· To know the value of 1 day, ask the daily wage earner who has to feed kids.

· To know the value of 1 hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.· To know the value of 1 minute, ask the man who missed the train.

· To know the value of 1 second, ask the person who just won silver at the Olympics!

We have only one wild and precious life. Today is a gift, and tomorrow is not promised. So ask small questions, think small thoughts, take small actions, solve small problems, and celebrate small moments. Because it’s great to dream big, but those dreams come true one baby step at a time!

Christina Kunkle, RN and CTA Certified Life and Wellness Coach, is founder of Synergy Life and Wellness Coaching, LLC, creator of the “Synergy Success Circle” and “Emerging Resilient,” a Heart-Centered Leadership Development Program. She helps busy professionals prevent burnout by promoting bounce-back resilience to stay focused, positive and excited about the challenges of work and life through 1:1 Resilience Coaching, Reiki Energy Healing sessions, and “Amplify” Small Group Masterminds. To learn more, visit her website at or call 540-746-5206.