Change One Thing

In this episode:

If you had to choose just one thing for your next step, what would it be? What if a tiny pivot could change your direction and help you finish up the year 2020 strong and heading toward a better life?

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Inspired Life

If you could only change one thing in your life, what would you do? I’ve heard the term “butterfly effect” a few times and didn’t understand what it meant until recently.

The term "butterfly effect" was coined by meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who discovered in the 1960's that tiny, butterfly-scale changes to the starting point of his computer weather models resulted in anything from sunny skies to violent storms—with no way to predict in advance what the outcome might be.

It isn’t that butterflies necessarily cause the outcome, but that a tiny change in one place can have a dramatic effect on the future. It could be something as small as the brush of a butterfly wing that could change the scenario enough to eventually set off a weather event, but there was no way of proving it, according to Lorenz. But is there?

If you’ve ever mowed the lawn or plowed a field (I grew up on a farm), you understand how a tiny adjustment of a steering wheel can make your straight line go off in a totally different direction.

For example, let’s imagine you’re traveling a straight line and you make a fraction of a change in your course and then continue once again in a straight line. At first it won’t even be perceptible. But when you get miles down the path, you’ll see how far off course you’ve gone. Imagine if this were an airplane or a boat. A tiny adjustment could lead to the wrong destination.

You probably know what one bag of chips can do…how one chip can set off a binge. Or how one TV show can lead to a wasted afternoon.

But what if we applied that in a good way? What if a tiny adjustment was all it might take to get you going in a better direction?

It’s a lot like a ripple effect.

We’re approaching the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020. Many people have called this a dumpster fire of a year. But is it all that bad? What if it’s prompting you to make an adjustment that will have a new and better path for you? What if one little change could put you on a better path for 2021 and you’re missing it because you’re focused on the frustrations of 2020 right now?

Let’s talk about what sort of changes that would set off a better course for the end of 2020 that would lead to a great 2021.

Life, Repurposed

Could one of these small adjustments change your course for the rest of this year and into next?

  1. What if you got up 10 minutes earlier every day? What chain of events would that set off in your life?
    • If you’re always running late, it might change that.
    • If you’ve been looking for time to breathe a little before the kids get up…
    • If you’ve wished you had time to pack a healthy lunch every day…
    • You might not miss the sunrise
  2. Aspiring writers, what if you set a goal of writing one page per day?
    • You would have enough material for almost 2 books by the end of a year.
  3. If your house needs organizing and you’re overwhelmed, what would happen if you set a timer for 20 minutes every day from now until the end of this year?
    • In 3 months' time, you’d have more than 30 hours of sorting time. Imagine how much progress you would make?
  4. If you were hoping to start a podcast, a blog, a webinar, a newsletter in 2021, what would happen if you set up an hour per week between now and then to learn the skills?
    • In 12 weeks, you’d have had 12 hours of education. You’d finish the book or training course that you need to get it done.
  5. What if you want to be healthier? What tiny changes could become huge successes?
    • Drink one less soda per day this month and one less again next month.
    • Eat half of a serving of M&Ms
    • Extend your walk by 5 minutes each week until you’re up to 40 minutes or an hour.
    • Stop buying bread altogether and swap out something else.
    • Sleep 30 minutes longer
  6. To improve your mood, what could you do with ten minutes per day?
    • Turn your face to the sunshine
    • Soak in the tub
    • Read a book
    • Color
    • Walk
    • Drive
    • Call a friend
  7. Instead of seeing the huge picture, what one little pivot would get you going on your dream to go back to school, even if you can’t enroll full-time right now?
  8. What tiny pivot in your marriage could lead to healthier communication?
  9. What small expense could you cancel this month that would help your financial goals get rolling? What small one could you to next month and the month after that to expand the change.
  10. Where does your day seem to derail and stop your progress? What small change could you make to stay on the rails?
  11. What would help you to get back to your roots when it comes to faith? Getting back to church (online or in person)? Spending 5 minutes each day reading a Bible app? Reading a book or doing a Bible study workbook?

You’ve got this! Instead of thinking big, let’s think small. You don’t have to fix the problems of the whole world. Start with one little thing and see where it goes. What will your one thing be?

Don’t make a list.

Just choose one.

Recommended Resources

The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily Freeman

When we have a decision to make and the answer isn't clear, what we want more than anything is peace, clarity, and a nudge in the right direction.

If you have trouble making decisions, because of either chronic hesitation you've always lived with or a more recent onset of decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: simply do the next right thing. With this simple, soulful practice, it is possible to clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing.

Whether you're in the midst of a major life transition or are weary of the low-grade anxiety that daily life can bring, Emily helps create space for your soul to breathe so you can live life with God at a gentle pace and discern your next right thing in love.


Also, have you checked out my latest book? It's a great next step for couples.

Classic Marriage: Staying In Love as Your Odometer Climbs

A classic is something of high quality and lasting value. In a marriage there will be hours of maintenance work, tinkering, breakdowns, meltdowns, blowups, cute photo ops, wear and tear, overhauls, memories, vacations, celebrations, and repairs. There will be moments where you haul yourselves back to “the garage” for work. Like a trusty old truck, a classic marriage isn’t perfect, but who can put a price tag on it?


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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. ) *This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Posted in Articles, Books & Resources, Podcast Episodes.