EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from The Power of One Thing: How to Intentionally Change Your Life by Randy Carlson (Tyndale House).

Do One Small Thing—Intentionally

The person who knows one thing and does it better than anyone else, even if it only be the art of raising lentils, receives the crown he merits. —Augustine "Og" Mandino, twentieth-century motivational teacher

Whoever or whatever is most intentional in your life wins—the difference between winners and losers comes down to this profound truth. What do I mean by intentional? I use it to describe the driving force in an area of your life—physical health, let's say. A woman who is more intentional about shedding ten pounds than sleeping later each morning might begin setting the alarm for an earlier time so she can hit the treadmill for twenty minutes. By following through on one small thing—an early-morning walk—it is clear that she values physical fitness above extra sleep. To make any positive change in your life, you must create an action plan and summon the determination to intentionally get to your goal, one small step at a time.

Notice I say successful people are intentional, not merely well intentioned. The key is commitment plus action. We can have great ideas about what we want to do next, but if we are not committed to actually changing what we do and how we think, nothing much will change. In Luke 18:18-22 (NLT), we read,

Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: "Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him. "Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.'"

The man replied, "I've obeyed all these commandments since I was young."

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, "There is still one thing you haven't done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Jesus was talking about commitment plus action. He knew that the man's wealth and position stood in the way of his total commitment. Although the man had the desire to do the right thing, he was not fully committed and lacked the willingness to act. As a result, he passed up the opportunity to follow Christ wholeheartedly. His life was not transformed.

You need to recognize that something drives everything you do. The rich ruler was driven by his possessions and status. You have only two choices—either you become the most intentional force in your life or you allow someone or something else to exert more influence over your life. If you're not the most intentional about yourself, someone or something else will be—that's a promise. You might know people who would love to run your life . . . or substances waiting to run your life . . . or emotions that are ready to run your life. You decide—who or what is going to win today?

If you're like me, you want to succeed at what is most important to you, but you sometimes find it challenging to stay focused on your top priorities. Your good intentions don't translate into the accomplishment of worthy goals. Some days everything seems to be trying to sabotage your efforts. Distractions come at you from all directions, and your time is probably eaten up by demands every hour of the day.

You can be your own worst saboteur as well. Procrastination, laziness, discouragement, and disorganization strike everyone at some point. You may be skilled at multitasking, which can actually make you feel on top of your game when you are anything but. When you're driving and talking on your cell phone, neither the person you're talking to nor your fellow drivers are getting your best. Recently I heard a radio broadcast in which listeners were told that the brain can't really focus on more than one task at once. Consequently, when you multitask, your brain shift s quickly from one activity to another rather than focusing at least a little on each of the several things you're doing.