Pick Just One Thing to Work on Every Single Week as a Dad

We wanted to talk about the idea of identifying one improvement every single week that you can work on as a family. This has been really revolutionary for our family and in the Five and the Father Facebook group, I’ve been asking on Monday, I call it improvement Monday, people share what improvement you’re working on this week. And it was really fun to read people, fathers stepping out and saying, this is something that we’re working on right now. There’s a couple of reasons why I think this is really helpful. I think that it’s really important to understand that you can’t change everything about your family. And family is a marathon, it’s a long game. And so there is so much fruit in small improvements, small improvements pay massive dividends when the time horizon is really long. And a lot of our intuitions are not tuned well for this.

A lot of times we think it’s got to be epic, it’s got to be this massive change, it’s got to be super quick. And that doesn’t have to be any of those things. It can be one tiny improvement a week. And man, if you can do that and really find ways to do this, it can really stack up and very quickly, you’ll get those results that you wish would happen quickly. But you need to give yourself time to really let every single little improvement actually bear fruit. And so focusing on one thing, saying and having a conversation with your wife, what is something we can improve? The other thing, other principal that’s really big in this is to focus on the things that repeat first. So anything that happens over and over again, a daily repeating of a pattern, a weekly repeating pattern, those things will bear the most fruit.

Even if they seem really, really tiny. An example is how our kids get in a car. That may seem really small, but if your kids argue every time they get in the car, you’re going to be getting in the car maybe thousands of times as a family, that’s going to really wear out your family. And so to say, “Okay. This week, we’re going to try to really figure out how we assign seats in the car. And we’re going to figure that out, we’re going to study that problem, we’re going to talk as a family. We talk to our kids, talk as spouses, try some things, try to make one improvement this week in that area.” Any of those little things that repeat, things like cleaning up, or setting up the dinner table, or how you come home, or how you handle morning routines or evening routines or nighttime routines, or all of those things.

Things that repeat, things that happen that are predictable, man, that is ground for massive peace and harmony and goodness to happen. If you can take the worst things in your week that repeat and fix them, man, it feels amazing when that happens and that can take time. And when I say one improvement a week, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to. If after focusing on this for a week and it hasn’t gone well that you move on to something else, you can stick with that one improvement. But it’s important to know each week what it is, and I think it’s a really healthy tool to make sure that you’re thinking about that on a weekly basis. Because if you do that 52 weeks out of the year, 52 improvements focused particularly on those things that repeat, man, you’re going to see revolution in the family over a period of time. And so I can’t wait to talk to you guys about those ideas that you have for improvements in the Facebook group because I just believe so strongly that this really helps the family get more healthy.

Yeah, guys. And I think what I would add right there is another way I put it is hunt for the breakdowns. I think we try to actually be hide from the breakdowns and I like to go hunting for the breakdowns because I’ve noticed specifically, guys, you have to hear this, specifically with your wives, those are the points that start pushing on burnout. Those are the things that start pushing the anxiety and panic button for your wife, just the breakdowns, the systematic small breakdowns, kind of the death of a thousand cuts type of thing. And that is true, man, through and through. And so I know for me, I feel like the burden or the responsibility or the privilege as the father to really say, “Man, I can attack these with a little bit more cleaner energy, fuller tank during the week to really try to set up the family, but also specifically the wife for success with the kids and kind of set up the systems that she just has to press play on.”

And that’s been really helpful for us. The funny little anecdote I will say though is we have a very much, one of our kids is very much OCD, systematic, crazy like that. It’s funny that we’ve actually will… The opposite problem can be happening and we’re all concentrated so much on things that if we actually, if we slip it all, then they’re very quick to call us out. It’s not just really funny, I think it’s really interesting that we have to keep staying on our game of making sure what we say is the system stays the system. But yeah, but that’s… I definitely think that’s such a big deal and so important in such an easy way to think about the framework.

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