January’s over and I’d be willing to bet that if you bothered to make a resolution, you probably already broke it, am I right?
Resolving to make some significant change in your life can feel overwhelming, not to mention is often unsustainable. Planning to lose weight by cutting out sugar? How long did that last? Vowing to save more money but then your power went out for days, pipes froze and you fulfilled the plumber's savings resolution instead?
There is an old adage about eating an elephant, and how the only way to accomplish the monumental task is one bite at a time. That’s where my one thing comes into play.
Think about the last time you felt great in your job. Or a moment with family that made a lasting positive impression. Or a financial decision that led to a small (or large) success. Break those moments down into feelings and actions. What parts of the moment, specifically, made you feel happy? Can you replicate any of those small actions that led to happiness? For instance, let’s say a funny car ride with your kids was a highlight of your recent time spent with them. What were you laughing about? Why was everyone in a good mood? Did someone win a sports game? Had you just wrapped up a work project freeing your mind for some family time? How can you recreate that moment in small ways? Is there one thing you can do to help make funny car rides a more regular thing? It could be something as simple as having silly trivia websites bookmarked on your phone or grabbing everyone a treat from a coffee shop before your journey.
Tune in to learn more about how one thing can make a momentous improvement in your life this year.
What's the one thing that you can improve on in 2023? You're about to find out. This is financial life planning the Mike Morton podcast, and I'm hosting Michael Morton’s podcast for no reason. I'm Matt Robison. Mike Morton, Happy New Year. How are you?Mike:
Are we gonna be on like, tik tok? Also, are we already over the limit for the length of tik tok?Matt:
Yes, the answer is yes. And you are going to be required to dance as part of this discussion. You're going to have to sit there and go dance. It’s not gonna be interesting for audio viewers, but just pointing to the corner and making like suggestive faces, which is all that Tiktok influencers do. And they put things up on screen, which are mundane and pointless.Mike:
Is that how you got your wife by pointing by dancing like that? Because that would be very sad. Your wife is way smarter.Matt:
I’m not a dancer. One of the things I'm not going to bother about trying to improve about myself in 2023 is dancing. I don't care. I'm gonna be a bad dancer my whole life. All right, Mike, you want to talk about what to improve in 2023? Why?Mike:
So good to see you, man. So good to see you. So here we are the beginning of the new year. I've missed you, my friend. We've taken a few weeks off from my podcast and from the podcasting. So it's great to see you here starting 2023. And as we get into a new year, right what do we do? New Year's Resolutions, remember those? They're so passé now.Matt:
Oh, I see. You're trying to sneak in you're euphemized saying, oh my gosh, this is like, this is like temporary refunds adjustments tax increase. Oh, what a load of hooey. I can't believe you just set me up for that. I like tell people the one thing you can improve bla bla, you're just talking about New Year's resolutions? Jerk you got me.Mike:
100% man, so we used to do like, resolutions, right? And then no one keeps their resolutions. Let's talk about habits. You know, which I'm a big fan of habits. But you know, you setting up something you stick with, you know, make it small, or smart goals. Remember those?Matt:
I never had any. So no.Mike:
That'd be measurable and actionable and are in a tee. So when you do these smart goals. So here's the thing I do want to share something and I do want to get the listeners thinking about this. What it is for me, I decided to pick a one thing to improve upon. And the reason I'm picking one thing is because it's a domino effect. I think this came from Peter Thiel, the one thing, right. So if you pick just one thing to focus on, and to do and implement, then hopefully it gives you that domino effect of actually changing quite a few things for the better in your life.Matt:
So this is my, this is my adopted mantra of one job at a time, every job is success.Mike:
There you go. Yeah, and I love that focus on just what you know. And then Matt, I took that away too, is, you know, one job at a time throughout my day, and during that time blocking right, so focusing, you know, getting efficient with the one thing making sure you're doing a really good job. So this is kind of along the same lines, and I'm gonna share what I'm doing and hopefully inspire listeners to think about maybe you've already thought about something that you're going to try to improve upon. Hopefully, it's not just like an amorphous, I'm going to get healthier in 2023. You know, what does that mean? Like, what are you gonna actually do? So here's, for me, it was a, it was a combination of a couple things happening in my life that I wanted to, you know, kind of do a better job at, right, there's, you know, a million things. So for me, it was in the evenings, it was kind of like, I'm not seeing my family as much. We're all really busy and stuff. And so I want to do a better job with that. So here's my one thing. My one thing is at eight o'clock, at night, I'm going to brush my teeth, put away all my electronics, and go downstairs. Alright, now the downstairs is where my kids rooms are when they're getting ready for like bedtime and stuff. They're a little bit older now. So it's 8, 9, 10 o'clock, you know, they're kind of getting ready. But that's my one thing. So I had to just focus on one thing in the evenings at eight o'clock. I brush my teeth, put away my electronics, and go downstairs.Matt:
That's admirably simple and easy to remember. I like that. What are you hoping to get? Here's another fun hack. Because the kids call them hacks these days. Everything is a hack. So here's a fun hack. If you're selling someone on something, don't talk in terms of why it's like admirable or exciting. Talk about why it's beneficial. Right. So, Mike, what's good about this for you? What are you hoping to get out of this one thing?Mike:
Right? So there it is. So one thing super simple to implement, right? Seems very straightforward. But what are the benefits and this is why I like this idea of just focusing on one and getting those domino effects. So what are the benefits? The benefits are multifold… One, brushing my teeth at eight means no more eating after eight.Matt:
Oh, I thought it was because you had that whole British dentistry thing going, but okay.Mike:
Well, then I get to brush my teeth as well, which is always good like making sure that happens. We're not doing the late night eating snacking, right, so good to follow on benefit. They're putting away electronics. Of course we know, you know and I've witnessed this firsthand where I'll just check one more thing before bed. Right? I'll just check my email because we all love to check. Remember when we used to get mail once a day? Wasn't that great? You just like sort of get that mail once a day. And now it comes in all the time. Are you ready to create your ideal lifestyle? Let's discover what's most important to you and design a plan to have more of that in your life. Go to meet Mike morton.com. All one word, meet Mike morton.com.Matt:
I do remember getting physical mail. Here's the thing about me is I hate letters. I hate getting letters. And I have a very productive filing system for dealing with mail. I got it from Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec, the mail comes in, and I let it sit in the mailbox until my wife brings it inside the house. And then if I can't find a place to put it, I put it in the freezer. I feel like that's probably the best storage location for it. Occasionally I find out that someone wanted to pay me money. And I find this out like months later. And they've canceled the check because I hate physical mail so much.Mike:
And then it's very cold. It's very cold money. Because it's been in the freezer. Well, I'm not sure again, I'm not sure how that's gonna work out waiting for your wife to do the job for you, man. But I have my son, it's on his chore list. So we get the mail about once a month in our house, it comes in and I don't know what happens in between with the mail person that can no longer stuff more things into our mailbox. But my point here is the electronics. So electronics, the mail coming in, you know, it's happened to you as well, you'll get like one, you know, you'll just check, I'll just check right before during browsing, and then something will come in and start spinning your wheels. Maybe it's you know, a new business thing or a personal thing that's like, oh, yeah, I forgot to do that. Or I need to get on this or whatever it is. So put the electronics away, get that out no longer, you know, having that nice bedtime routine. So there's a benefit, but the biggest benefits is the going downstairs part. So the going downstairs part is that my kids are hovering around, getting them ready for maybe doing some homework, getting things ready for tomorrow, whatever it is, so they're poking around, so I get to spend more time with them, you know, seeing them rather than just me being upstairs doing whatever I get to do it downstairs, the kitchen laundry, I can like clean up from dinner, get that stuff put away, get set up for the next day. And then I'm going to really do a lot of reading. So instead of just reading upstairs, I'm gonna read downstairs modeling reading for my kids, I want to do a lot more reading in 2023. So you know, having a time for that every day. So you can see I've just listed five or six or seven different benefits from spending three minutes, you know, one thing a day to focus on, and just taking three minutes to do it has all those follow on benefits.Matt:
I liked that it reminds me of, there was a semi viral article a few years ago from a general who wrote that the one thing you should do is make your bed in the morning. Because it was a focusing mechanism. The benefits were by getting yourself organized and taking that step it sort of set the stage for you to be productive and execute on the small, tiny, whatever synonym details that you need to execute on to have a successful day. Like all the stuff that has to get done and is like a daily chore. I'm not sure I totally by the psychological follow on afterburn effect of that, but I did it I make my bed every morning. So you know, maybe, but I am going to hereby reject your one for me. I'm not ready. I'm not ready. And the thing is, my kids are slightly younger than yours. So I can still get away with my good quality interaction time with them earlier, and I brush my teeth anyway. Now, the one benefit there is it's true once you brush your teeth, you're not going to raid the freezer for ice cream. Let's be clear, I could benefit from doing away with that. But I'm going to leave that to a future year.Mike:
A future year all right, it can be a future year. But you know, continuing on so that's my one thing, right? That I've decided is gonna be really great for where I am or what I want to accomplish. But you mentioned another one I would necessarily just making the bed but the putting out your workout stuff for the morning. That's a very popular one. Like, oh, in the evening, I'm gonna lay out my workout stuff. So when I get up in the morning, you're not tripping over it. You have nothing to do but like put on the work, you know, the running shoes, get to the gym or go for a jog or whatever it is like again, there's just one thing to focus on every night, putting out your gym stuff, you know? So there's a lot, I think whatever it is that you're interested in doing more of this month or this year, you can come up with something, make it super simple as the follow on effects, you know of implementing the great habit or nudging you in the right direction. You could do it with health you could do with fitness you could do with your family, you could do with finances, anything, but I just think it's a really great mechanism for getting going. What is it that's really important to you in 2023? What do you want to spend more time and energy doing and set yourself up for something in motion? The one thing that you can do that will nudge you in that direction?Matt:
All right, now we've gotten to the fun part of the podcast, where I ambush Mike Morton, I'm really looking forward to this because Mike, you've been set up, man, you have been set up. And I'll tell you why. You actually gave me some homework before this show, you said that I should come up with one thing to do to work on to improve in 2023. And I failed your homework assignment. So take that. Thanks, Obama. So Mike Morton, what I'd like to do now is I could just kind of hear some of our listeners and viewers thinking to themselves, well, it's great. He came up with that, you know, Einstein, but I don't want to brush my teeth at eight o'clock and know I'm going to keep my phone and I don't have kids or whatever it is. And so if you're casting around if you're kind of into this idea, the one thing that sounds cool, how do I find the one thing that's that's right for me? Let's workshop this a little bit. Mike Morton, you give people advice on life that’s called financial life planning. Disclaimer, you guide people through this, here am I, your live client. How do I figure out what's the one thing that I should do?Mike:
Matt, think about a situation that brings you happiness and joy in the last couple of months? Put yourself in a situation in your day where you're like, oh, man, this is a great day. Or I really enjoyed today man, you know, the end of this day or in the middle of this? Like, here's a great situation. Okay, you got something?Matt:
Yes. Both leading me to an answer of, I want more world domination. How do I get that?Mike:
Okay, all right, fine. This is good. All right. World domination is good. No, I mean, you do want to set your sights high, Matt. So world domination is good. Let's go. Alright. So that's step one. Step one was just imagine, so I got to that situation that helped me…Matt:
I'm not ready.Mike:
I'm not done yet. Now, I want you to think about what was the parts of the situation that set yourself up for being really happy, enjoying that moment of that day or that moment that brought you so much joy and satisfaction?Matt:
Well, all right. This is a little bit of a problem here. But I think we're gonna work through it problems are good challenges are good. Yeah. I have two competing. First of all, I have two competing ideas. One is a professional one, I can think of several days, in the last year, where I had a really good article/big show you know, that really got a lot of traction, a lot of listeners, a lot of viewers. And that's just really satisfying when you have something that you've worked hard on, and you know, is good and interesting, and thoughtful, and also that people are into and that you know, you're sharing the work you've done with a big audience. And I've had that happen with a few articles, I had an article for Newsweek, that was the number one article on Reddit politics for a day. That was pretty sweet. I love that also had some really satisfying personal days where I've been part of a coach, some of my kids sports, so like, whether I'm coaching or not, where I'm part of them, doing something that I really enjoy, you know, and seeing them be successful and you know, have a great time with their teammates and friends. That also gives me a lot of satisfaction. Here's the problem connecting both of us. It seems like when these things go, well, I'm not sure what goes into that.Mike:
Hold on a second. Oh, okay I gotcha. You know, what jumps out at me, and we're doing this rather quickly, right? I'd love to have some more time. But what jumped out at me right away is your enjoyment of helping people, whether it was professional or your family, or it could be a community but the enjoyment of being with people and being helpful and of service to those people. Okay, so other podcasts and articles of course, blowing up is always nice to get some celebration, right, something bigger happens. What I heard also was just being helpful like you had some good stuff, and it got out there and you saw people giving you feedback, like thanks so much, you know, it got out there. And the same with your kids. Like, obviously being involved with your kids and spending time but also being helpful being around enjoying like you've given them some coaching because you mentioned coaching is so good, and that brings you a lot of satisfaction seeing that you can implement it enjoying that fun. So the question is alright, so let's just pick that instance, how are you going to spend more time being helpful? You know, whether it's professional or personal? And then I bet you, if you start brainstorming that and say, Okay, what can I come up with, here's the things I can do for five ideas. And then you can come up with one thing to help nudge you in that direction. And what I would suspect Matt is if you spend more time, even if it doesn't get the blow up success of a big article, or even if it's just a little moment, I bet you will end every one of those interactions, feeling more joyful and satisfied, because you know, you're being very helpful and involved with people that you care about, or out there in the community or providing knowledgeable services.Matt:
I love the way you ran through that, because what I hear you saying is, first of all, you're identifying the through line of what made me feel good about those things. And it wasn't so much the success, it wasn't because the kids on the soccer team won that day although that typically helps, it wasn't because an article blew up, although again, it doesn't hurt. It's more of the feeling that I have being involved of helping have connection to other people. So what you're saying is, think less about the specifics of, I've got to spend more time kayaking. Maybe what you need to do is you need to identify what's a more generalizable thing, a lot of satisfaction out of and figure out how to do that.Mike:
Yeah. And I would get it down to specifics. Okay. So at some point, you got to say, like, I'm going to sign up and be a coach for my team every week, you know, because I know, that brings me satisfaction. I know, it's going to cost me three hours a week. But that's worth it to me, you know, so you get down to those. But this is the kind of work man that I think is what I do in general, it was fascinating for you to ask that question. A lot of it has the financial tilt to it, but it really is, you know, the life planning, right? What brings joy in your life and how are you going to get more of that. So I really appreciate the appreciate the question, and everybody can do that, you know, and start bringing in more of those elements that bring you a lot of fun.Matt:
Yeah, you can really see the connection point to the financial side of this too, which is I mean, you've talked about this on the show before that this is a very important part of the financial planning process is figuring out and often that's hard. That kind of question is a hard place to start. I don't know, A lot more money, dumbass. Yeah, okay, I got there. But okay, because you've talked about, that's not really true. What people really want is something else that the money enables. And so frequently, that basically, the loop and the take home here is you can get to those long term satisfaction, increasing things by figuring out what they are, what sort of the core of what brings you satisfaction. And then like solving any problem, you break it down, you break it down into tangible steps, with multiple tangible benefits. And you implement one that you can do that you can be successful at. And then hopefully being successful if that starts to set up a pattern of a positive feedback loop that leads to more single steps and leads to more success.Mike:
Oh my god, man, you just broke down my entire business.Matt:
That's why it's my job for you to hand me your watch me to tell you the time and for me to feel smart. That's what this show is all about. That's why you have me hosting your show.Mike:
Yeah, we gotta get back to that. Why are you the host? I don't understand this.Matt:
I sound like Admiral James Stockdale in the 1992 vice presidential debate. It's like, who am I? Why am I here? And let's wrap up here on financial life planning with Mike Morton. We will see you next time.Mike:
Thanks, Matt. Thanks for joining us on financial planning for entrepreneurs. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to and rate the podcast on Apple, iTunes, Google Play Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can connect with me at LinkedIn for Morton financial advice.com. I'd love to get your feedback. If you have a comment or question, please email me at financial planning firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, thanks for tuning in. This recording is for informational purposes only and should not be considered for investment advice or opinions expressed as our of the date of recording. Such opinions are subject to change. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data presented here.