The One Small Change That Can Change Everything

Want more actionable ideas every week?

Join millions of readers and subscribe to Your Next Breakthrough newsletter below.

    144 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    One thing for you to think about

    Imagine there was a magic pill that eased anxiety and depression, improved focus and mood, helped you sleep, caused you to lose weight, have better sex, and guaranteed you lived longer. Oh, and it’s free and has no known side effects.

    That magic pill exists…

    It’s called “exercise.”

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Three things for you to ask yourself

    Are you exercising enough? At least a little bit every day? If yes, great. Can you incorporate a bit more activity into your day? If not, then why the fuck not?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Go outside and exercise. No, like right now. Stop reading this email and go fucking do something. I’m serious… Why are you still here? Go walk around the block or something, then tell me how it felt.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to discard a piece of life advice that you’ve tried on but hasn’t quite fit.

    Eva from the Netherlands stopped “living in the moment”:

    For me, one piece of (super) popular advice that affects me negatively is ‘Live in the moment’ and ‘Life is too short. If not now, then when?’

    I understand the meaning behind these, but in my experience they have ended up stressing me out more than motivating me. I am 28 and I have heard those all my life. Too often I wonder if I’m living my life to the fullest, comparing myself to others who seem to ‘live’ more. I have caught myself not enjoying situations because I push myself to ‘be in the moment, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

    The result is guilt, regrets, uncertainty, insecurity, stress. If anything, it makes me feel that the ‘fullest’ is so impossible that I give up on trying.

    Maybe it’s toxic positivity, maybe commercial slogans to make us buy more. In every case, I try to take the advice with a grain of salt, and filter how I can apply this to my life and, of course, not compare myself to others!

    It took a contradictory advice (that worked) for one reader to abandon “sticking to the plan”:

    I was brought up with the advice of ‘stick to the plan.’ This meant doing everything possible to stick to the plan, no matter what obstacles were in the way. But I wish I had been told one piece of advice years ago that contradicted this advice.

    About four years ago someone told me that when chaos hits, you just have to roll with it. Be flexible, because it will bat you around some. But whatever you do, do not fight the chaos.

    This advice has really helped me because before I would have fought the chaos. And then, of course, got upset because the chaos would always win.

    I took the advice, and stopped fighting the chaos. First I did this at work, and then in life in general. Once I realized that chaos was in the air, I knew it would pass, and just to go with the flow because it would work out one way or another.

    It also helped me realize that just because I had a plan, doesn’t mean I couldn’t adjust it. Now my stress and anxiety levels are much lower, and I can adjust a plan on the fly. I really do not have to ‘stick to the plan.’

    Eisenhower orchestrated the greatest invasion in world history and has maybe the best quote about plans I’ve ever seen: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” In other words, the value of planning is setting a goal and direction, once you start on the path, chaos takes over.

    Finally, Laura’s replacing childhood advice with boundaries:

    As a child, I was told by my parents to always, ‘turn the other cheek.’ When someone was verbally, physically, or emotionally abusive or downright mean, they instructed me to walk away and take the high road. I shouldn’t defend myself in any way. As an empath, this fit right in with me being a doormat, especially to a narcissistic mother and later, a narcissistic husband.

    In my adulthood, I’ve learned that standing up for myself is having boundaries. I’ve learned to say ‘No’ when I don’t want or have the capacity to do something. I’ve also learned to listen to my inner voice that tells me, ‘This isn’t right.’

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
    My WebsiteMy BooksMy YouTube Channel