“Have patience, all things in life are difficult until they become easy.” -Saadi
“The best way to get things done is to simply begin.” -Unknown

I’ve been there before.  Like you, I have chores, ambitions, ideas, and a laundry list of activities to take care of. There are some activities that give me anxiety even thinking about them.  Sometimes, the thought of beginning these tasks can be overwhelming.  I procrastinate.  I make excuses.  I think, “I’ll do it later” or “it’s not due right away.” I overthink and overanalyze a small, tedious task.  Too often, I have this feeling or attitude with either “boring” chores or activities where I could feel uncomfortable.

I hate doing chores at home: laundry, cleaning the floors, and cleaning the kitchen.  I despise ironing above all these other chores.  I don’t know what it is about ironing.  It’s a habit I didn’t have grown up.  There is a degree of technical skill to it.  It requires a detailed eye and some coordination and critical thinking.  And, for what, freshly pressed clothes?  Sounds like too much thinking and doing for a low return on my efforts.

I recently had a pile of sweaters that needed ironing.  Once the weather got nicer, I set that pile aside.I figured I would not need the sweaters for awhile.  Once in awhile, I thought about starting the pile.  But, I was overwhelmed by the number of sweaters sitting there!  I kept making excuses and let the pile just sit there.

That pile sat there for 9 months!  I waited for the last minute.  I waited until the weather started to dive.  I finally realized it was time to start this ironing project.  Truthfully, I was not looking forward to it.  I finally took an evening to work on my sweater pile.  Amazingly, once I started, it was not bad at all!  The anxiety and overwhelm faded away after beginning.  I even started having a good time because I was on a roll with ironing these sweaters.  It was not as bad as I had imagined.

So what does this have to do with our health?  Sometimes, we realize we need to make a change.  Instead of taking action, we hem and haw about why we won’t make the change.  All the while, we strengthen the avoidance habit and nothing changes.  We probably put things off because the activity is foreign to us or we resist feeling uncomfortable.  Either way, this thinking stalls our progress.

Instead, remind yourself that starting is sometimes the hardest part.  We over think and overanalyze the activity.  We are either afraid to make a mistake or are unsure how to do it.  Ultimately, we do not give ourselves enough credit that we can complete the task or goal at hand.  In reality, we can adapt and get better at an activity, habit, or skill once we begin to work at it.  If you determine you need to take care of something that’s outside your routine or a institute a  behavior change, trust that starting will be the hardest part. Once you begin, you may realize you had it in you all along! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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