The Most Effective Way to Accomplish Anything

There are so many ways to learn new things, implement new habits and accomplish life changing transformation. My life is completely different from what it was only a few years ago.

I didn’t realize this when I started, but the key to my life overhaul is also the most effective way to accomplish anything.

Focus on one thing at a time.

I ignored this advice for decades because …

  • There were so many things I wanted to do and change
  • I would get really excited about changing habits and dive right in
  • I got discouraged and gave up
  • I tried to do too much and burnt out
  • I wasn’t ready

I would start several new things and then within 4-6 weeks I was back to my old ways. When I felt inspired to try again, I’d quietly remind myself that I had failed before, and then fail even faster at the next attempt.

The changes I made over the past few years became part of my new normal because they had all of my focus and attention.

I became a vegetarian. I started eating a vegetarian diet to improve my health. Once I started to notice a change in my health, I researched other benefits of becoming a vegetarian. I read about raising animals for meat and factory farming. I learned about the impact of my actions on my body, animals and the earth. By really opening my eyes and heart to how meat was put on my plate, I lost my appetite for it. I was motivated by health and changed with compassion.

I got rid of my stuff. While I always felt compelled to put something on an empty surface, or buy something new, I have come to love empty spaces. It takes living without it to realize how clutter affects your life and takes away from your freedom and creativity. I started with clutter-free countertops, and eventually downsized from more than 2000 sq ft to 750. I’ve discovered that the less you own, the less that owns you.

I decided to live without debt. From the time I was 18 years old, I owed someone something. I thought I would always have a student loan, car payment and credit card bills. My husband and I paid off all of our consumer debt and last May we sold our house and became completely debt free. What will we do with our money now that we don’t have any monthly payments? Whatever we want.

While those were the biggest changes, I also quit my job to do work I love, sold my car, and created a dedicated yoga practice. Nothing happened over night, but each change supported the next and gave me the confidence and patience to focus on one thing at time.

The heart of each of these changes is simplicity.

The common thread and heart of my changes has been simplicity. Living with less has allowed me to be happier, healthier and more engaged in everything I do, but the changes only took hold when I gave them the attention they deserved. These might not be the exact changes you want to make in your life, but perhaps we have a few things in common.

I resisted change for so long because I wanted to do everything all at once (or nothing at all), but now my life is so different and so much better. If I can do it, so can you.


  1. says

    Good morning, Courtney! By sharing your story, you open the door for all of us to make connections – to think, Oh, I can do something similar to that by _______. While we can only live our own story, I think sharing and pondering the stories of others, we can write our own story (and revise it!) and start to live lives we love. Thank you for sharing.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks Tammy, We are on the same page in knowing that our personal stories can inspire change in others. (because other people’s stories inspired me)

      While thrilled with the changes I’ve made, I never want to sound boastful … “look what I did” because I can see how it could come off like that. What I really want people to know is that what I did wasn’t extraordinary or miraculous, I just had to be open to it and slow down long enough to let it happen. I really appreciate your support!

  2. says

    Exactly. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. An occasional side step and a little happy dance never hurt either. Just keep on going, gathering knowledge along the way and life becomes amazingly simple. Good luck with the new course!

  3. PAULA says

    I am so thankful I’ve found your blog a couple of years ago now. Though, I have followed other inspiring people over the time, you’re the one I’ve got stuck with :) and that really makes my simplicity journey worthwhile! “You keep me on track” and inspire me with every single post you write. Thank you!

    I peeked over at It looks great! Can’t wait to revisit over the next coming months.

  4. says

    Wow, simpleyear looks awesome. I’m also guilty of trying to change too many habits at once, then I end up back where I started. It’s great to read posts like yours and realise that change *is* possible but it doesn’t happen overnight.

  5. says

    Courtney! after all those years reading you, I still can’t believe how crazy similar our lives are… it is scary… but I really enjoy reading this especially now that I am going thru another change, it reminds me to stay focus on ont thing at a time… in order to not give up again!
    thanks a million times!
    nath from thissavvylife

  6. says

    Guilty! Thank you so much for reminding me that I am ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE…one who tries to do way too many things at once and then wonders why nothing ends up completed. I have been doing this for years and now, you have reminded me to focus on one thing at a time rather than several and I might just get somewhere…so simple, yet so enlightening. Thank you!