Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Stressed out and anxious – especially when looking at your to-do list, project lists, goals, or general environment? I know I do. I was telling my therapist a few weeks ago that exercise and decluttering my messy apartment felt insurmountable. Like I just couldn’t get past this unseen hump of “too hard” to actually start again. She told me to start simple. Really, simple. Almost stupid simple.
Only one thing and one thing only
It seemed too easy, at first, but then I got into the rhythm of it and found that this is really good advice for just about anything. So…if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or like you can’t get over whatever stands in your way of having what you want (a decluttered apartment/house, a toned body, better health) then start really small. Tiny, tiny, tiny. Think of an action, then ask – how can I make it smaller. I rolled my eyes at her when we did this exercise a few weeks ago in my session, but I’m telling you – it works.
So, for the apartment – I declutter one thing a day. I pick up one thing and ask myself a few questions. Does this need to stay or go? If it stays, does it need to live here or somewhere else? If somewhere else, where? If here, how can I group it with other similar items? If I can’t do that right now, then I put it back and have a plan. If it goes, does it get thrown in the garbage or can it be donated? Done! Now, it’s been a few weeks so I’ve slowly moved on to doing one bin or basket or shelf or section of books. But still, one small tiny thing.
Turtle Slow…but who won that race?
I know, you are doing the same thing I did in that session – you are saying to yourself, come on, things will never get done if I do them that slowly. My apartment or house will still be a mess 6 months from now at this rate. Maybe, but if you don’t do anything what will it look like it 6 months? Exactly. At best it will look the same and at worse, it will look more cluttered and drive you even more nuts! Trust me, I thought the same thing and I said the same thing, but in just a few short weeks, I have areas cleared off enough to add some pretty – a few statues, small paintings and pieces of art, and plants to areas that were once a giant pile of mess. It makes me feel better when I look at those areas because I know this one tiny small thing is working.
Okay, sounds great…but how do you scale this down for working out? Well, we came up with 1 down dog (yoga pose) a day. That’s it. Again, I decided as I was doing this that I like to get into table pose and run through a few cat/cow stretches then go into down dog, but again – one thing. One move but with full intention and questions. How does my back feel today? How do my legs feel? How about those shoulders? Where can I release stress and tension? Then I come out of the move and usually go into child’s pose for just one or two breaths. Then I’m done. I can check off that little box. Will I always just do one yoga pose a day? No, probably not. In fact, I’m already working on a plan to start doing a 7-10 minute bodyweight routine in the morning with an app I found on my phone. Because exercise doesn’t seem insurmountable anymore. Decluttering my place doesn’t seem so “hard” anymore. I made it easy so I could check off the DONE box and make myself feel good about my progress.
Done is better than perfect!
I like to call it 5 minutes to greatness – because I usually do my down dog and my decluttering together in one 5 minute segment and when I’m finished I feel like I can take on my whole day. Here’s my tip – do one thing. Just one thing today. Don’t try to do five small things for five different areas. Start with the thing that’s really bugging you. Your space, your health, a goal that just seems out of reach and think of one tiny daily action you could take that would help with that. Declutter one thing, one exercise move, write one sentence, floss one tooth – think of the smallest daily action you can take then go do it. And then congratulate yourself. Don’t tell yourself, this is stupid – it’s too easy – it’s too simple. NO! That’s the whole wonderful point. Say to yourself, holy crap I did it! I did my thing! And go on with your day. Wake up and do your thing again tomorrow and again and again and feel good about yourself and your progress.
What small action can you take today? How can I help you? Do you need motivation? An accountability buddy? Drop a note below and tell me what small tiny wonderful action you’re going to take today to work on your goal. And remember – Done is Better than Perfect!