One More Question

What is the most important thing to do?

Maybe the last post should have been titled “Wellness in 3 Questions” because this is another query that has served me well over the years. Life is complicated. There’s a lot to do and it’s simply not possible to do everything all at once.   Pretty typically we’re faced with competing options or a “too big” agenda of possible actions and we need to ask ourselves, “What is most important here?”

I think business leaders are pretty familiar with the idea of focus, of pruning the agenda to what’s most important, lest the business die the death of a thousand cuts. For example, a business-critical computer system upgrade might require delaying the rollout of new products. Or it could be the other way around – the big new product launch means the firm lives with the old software for another year. The point is that some things are more important than others.

Our wellness efforts are not different. A comprehensive wellness agenda might include losing weight, eating healthier, reducing stress, getting more and better quality sleep, exercising, taking medications more regularly, drinking less, and more. It’s daunting just writing it, much less thinking about actually working the list. Perhaps your personal list is even longer and harder. Don’t get overwhelmed. We all have limits. Maybe you should focus on just doing one thing.

Here we get to the third question, “What’s the most important thing to do?” As in our business example, everything on your list shouldn’t be of equal priority. For example, if you smoke, quitting smoking is almost certainly more important to improving your health than any other single thing you could do. Small steps also count, obese and overweight individuals may achieve great health benefits with only modest weight loss (10% of excess weight). Perhaps your most important thing should be losing 20 pounds, not becoming thin.

Some reflection and “upstream” thinking can be very helpful here. How are your issues interrelated? Where can you make one improvement that will create other, beneficial knock-on effects? For example reducing your exposure to television news programming (and TV in general) could produce positive effects on your emotional health and eating and sleeping habits. Most Americans would be well served by prioritizing such upstream emotional or spiritual interventions.

But usually (and as everyone knows) we don’t do what’s best for us. Although personally I have found these questions very helpful, working out the answers and responding appropriately hasn’t come easily. Honestly I’m still a work in progress, as are you. It’s pretty easy to get stuck, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate to the task ahead. If that’s you – relax, think Grace, and ask yourself instead, “What can I do now?” Trust God, and just do that.


  1. Tackling One thing for my Health & Wellness is so important!
    1Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
    Thanks for the reminder…

  2. Some things are beyond our control. Sometimes, even the things we think we control are really not in our control, Paul understood this simple concept when faced with his “thorn” in the flesh. Our response should be the same as his… 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” His grace is sufficient for anything we face. Anything less than dependency on Him is simply pride with a different veneer.