In pretty much every situation in which people ask for my advice about how to better themselves or their businesses, one of the things I tell ‘em is, “Get one thing right today.” It basically means that you should figure out how to break your goals into meaningful but small parts, and do one part perfectly before moving on to the next. Besides ensuring that you will have 365 perfect parts after a year (or 250 if you take weekends off!), it also means you will gain an important permanent skill with each part you make perfect. In other words, the process of mastering a thing, however tiny, cannot but affect your character in positive ways.
If you write one page a day, you can have a 365-page novel by the end of 2012. But consider this: you can write one crappy page each day, or you can write one great page each day. I leave it to you to guess what kind of novel you’ll get with each approach.
In martial arts, golf, or any other physical pursuit, figuring out how to correctly do a single component of a technique and mastering it is the “one thing” you ought to focus on. Of course, if you’ve done any important physical activity, you know that it often takes longer than one day to master even a single component of your sport. But even if it takes a week, you still end up with 52 solid aspects of your chosen activity in the bank, which means your overall execution can be greatly improved in one year.
In business, choosing one aspect of your marketing, client relations, efficiency, or cash flow to focus on at a time, and making sure you not only understand it, but have put into place a system for carrying it out, will ensure your continued success. You can maintain a business or limp along during good economic times without this approach, but when the economy struggles, those competitors who are getting one thing right each day will quickly put you out of business.
One caveat: most single aspects of any activity require maintenance even after you’ve “mastered” them. So you might want to build in to your plans not only some time to focus on your “one thing,” but also some time to review the last “thing” each day. Eventually you’ll create some kind of routine that lets you review, refine, and master the essential aspects of your chosen mission, and you’ll rocket towards success!