Do you have a project at work or at home, a habit you’d like to change, a room that needs to be cleaned or organized, something that needs to be written, shopping, household chores, New Year’s resolutions etc. that you have been putting off? Maybe it seems too big or overwhelming and it’s not something you’re really excited about doing. Here’s how I tackle those situations.

I break it down into pieces, either by time or number of tasks. Then I start asking myself “would I be willing to do this much?” until I hit something I want to say “yes” to. Here’s an example. The same process can be applied to anything. Once you have a process in place to deal with things that are “less than appealing”, that you want to get done, you can use it for anything large or small.

There’s a room in my house that I want to make into an office. Every surface in that room is covered with paper that I need to make a decision about. If that would’ve been clear to me or easy I would have done it already. Now, in order to turn this cluttered space into usable, appealing space, I need to change what was going on in there.

My first feeling when I looked in there was “ugh”. As I had put things in there over the months I had told myself I would “deal with it later” well, later was now. I was honest with myself. Thinking about spending a day or an hour doing this was a “no” for me. I asked myself how about 15 minutes, “nope”. I broke it down even more. I asked myself how I would feel about dealing with one to three things every day or every other day. That was an “ok, I can do that.” I told myself that could be as simple as three pieces of paper, shredding old tax forms, or finding a home for a book or magazine that I had intended to read but that was not happening.

After a few weeks of doing this, something interesting shifted. I began to look forward to the unveiling of my space. As I spent just a few minutes every day doing the easiest things I could find, I started to see my desktop take shape. That began to motivate me to see even more of it. Pretty soon about one third of the office was usable and attractive. I started looking forward to my three things a day. That little unveiling of just tiny bits of space began to motivate me. There was a little excitement in the idea of “what’s next?” There were days that, when I had the time, I would do more than three things because I was actually enjoying myself.

The moral of this story is you don’t have to like everything about a project or situation to get started. You can start with what seems easiest or most “doable” to you, something that you feel little or no resistance to. You can start as frequently or infrequently as feels comfortable to you.

The idea is you are starting as opposed to staying in a place of inaction. You never know what moving out of an old mindset, like “I don’t want to think about that”, into a newer one, “maybe I could do one thing”, will bring. It can be like a tiny surprise. You are also cracking open the door of possibilities when you go from “no” to “yes” even with the smallest of things. As usual, don’t take my word for it, give it a try and see for yourself.

With love, Jackie

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