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  • Mindy McCarthy

Just One Thing

From the athletes that I have worked with to speaking with my family members to seeing posts on social media, it seems election week was for many people a roller coaster of emotions. Whether you feel that your “side” won or lost, I think we can all relate to the uncertainty that seemed to drag on and how it affected us.

This week certainly reminded us just how many things that are not necessarily in our control. Sure, many of us (adults of age that is) can vote and let our voices be heard that way. However, once the votes are in, it is up to the poll workers to count the votes, and we cannot control what numbers they are seeing, what they are reporting, or even how quickly those are coming in.

During times like this where it feels like things are out of our control, it is easy to to go into a negative spiral. However, there is always at least one thing that we can control, and I recommend writing this down or JOT it down.

Just One Thing

It can certainly feel overwhelming to think about the things that we cannot control like how our parents react to our athletic abilities or how our coach speaks to us regarding our effort at practice or what homework our teachers put on us each night. However, you can always control at least one thing to jot down.


Using this tool helps your mind focus on something that you can control and move forward with that. You can control the effort that you put into practice or how you respond to a parent yelling at you while competing, for example. When it comes to how you fuel your body and mind, you can control how much time you spend on social media or how large your portions are when eating your meals.

Choosing one thing helps compartmentalize what you are facing right now and allows your mind a chance to focus on something that can help you keep moving towards your goals.

This can even be helpful in the middle of competitions, too. Let’s say you feel that you are not performing well. Choose just one thing that you want to do well for the remainder of the competition. Pretty soon, that one thing can turn into multiple things as you build your confidence from accomplishing that one thing that you know you can control at this particular time. “A little by little, a little becomes a lot.”


Another way to use the JOT method is to write down something positive about your day or your practice or your performance. Writing down at least one thing that you can take away from what happened in that particular situation, you are more likely to build on those positive emotions and gain confidence next time that situation arises or even when you are simply trying to conquer a new day.

Jot these things down or make a mental note of them if you cannot write them down at this time. Just One Thing.

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