My Focus for the Year: Just Start

This post is more for my fellow procrastinators.  The rest of you might not be able to relate to this one.  But I feel sure that there are some this might encourage.

It’s been popular for several years now to choose a word or phrase that sums up your focus for the year.  Lots of bloggers publish their “one word” in January, you know, at the beginning of the year when everyone is making resolutions and setting goals.  I’ve never been one to be on time 🙂  And, I don’t make resolutions cause I know (for me) they don’t last.

I didn’t pick a focus phrase for the year but as the year has progressed one phrase has become my focus:  Just Start.  Whatever it is on your list that you’ve determined is what you should do next, even if it feels overwhelming, just start.

I started this blog in November 2016.  I bought this bracelet right around that same time.  In the beginning, the “Just Start” was about blog related things.  Whatever it was I needed to learn next, just start.  Whatever I wanted to procrastinate on because it was hard, just start.  I told myself often, Just Start.

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I’ve been wearing this bracelet every day. There have only been a few exceptions when it just really didn’t jive with what I was wearing. Other than those few days, I’ve worn it and thought about it every single day.  I’ve worn it and thought about it so much that when I’m at home and not wearing any jewelry, I will still think of it on my arm.  Just start.

The bracelet has been a good reminder to me and has actually inspired me to just start with many projects that don’t have anything to do with the blog.  Reading this book, wearing the bracelet and seeing the progress I have made in different areas has been fuel to keep me going in a good direction.

I was surprised a couple of years ago when I read that sometimes procrastination is really a form of perfectionism.  Say what?!  Yes, really.  I know its true for me that sometimes if I feel I can’t fully complete a task or do what I consider to be a good job, I just wouldn’t start it at all.  A friend of mine has confessed to the same.  Perfectionist sounds slightly better than procrastinator so I might like that.

In this book the author referred to naturally, habitually messy people as “messies” and those that keep a clean and tidy home and make it look pretty easy as “cleanies”.  She pointed out, as an example that “the messies” were less likely to pick up little things they noticed on the carpet because they were going to vacuum later anyway.  They would just wait and do the job completely, rather than doing little things all along.  “Cleanies” she said would, almost without thinking just pick up those things on the carpet (and whatever other little things that came along) and as a result their homes tended to stay more tidy.

There are so many areas of my life where I realize I do this.  Put off a project until I can set aside a large lump of time to knock out the whole project.  I have really attempted more and more though, even if I know I can’t do the entire project, to just start.  Most of the time once I get started the progress I see will give me the motivation to keep going.

In recent years I have increasingly felt that I really wanted to rid my home of clutter and things we own that we don’t use.  I don’t want to dust anything that I don’t absolutely love.  I don’t want our closets filled with things we aren’t wearing.  I will never be a true minimalist, but I do want to own a lot less stuff than we currently do.

It is a slow process when everyone in your home doesn’t feel the same 🙂  Slowly but surely though, more and more bags of stuff that we will never miss is being weeded through.  Sometimes just a couple of bags at the time.   That is a new way of approaching it for me.

A couple of months ago, I knew there wasn’t time to go through every single thing in my closet. I told myself to just start.   One day I went through a bunch of event t-shirts that I’ve been putting off deciding what to do with them. Another day when I had more time I went through most of my clothes and shoes.  That was 2 or 3 bags.  One week I spent a few hours going through books on one of my several bookshelves.  Two boxes to donate.

I have gotten started on a task I really dislike.  I still have a lot of homeschooling books from when my oldest two were homeschooling. I had specific things in mind for home projects I would want to use the money for if I could sell some of these things.  It’s a huge job.   Looking online to see if the materials are current and figuring out what the value is, taking photos and listing them on Facebook for sale.  This one I did put off for about a month before I could finally make myself get started.  Unlike most other things, this particular task is one that even once started I still put off.  I just hate the whole process.

I want my friend Pam from Tennessee to have a comfortable guest room to sleep in when she comes to visit this summer.  Jessie’s old room (Jessie has moved to what was Jordan’s room) is going to become our guest room, maybe with multi-purposes, not sure.  Currently there are 5 kittens and a mama cat residing there.   They are getting close to being ready to go to their new homes.

As a starting point, this week I took a car load of stuff that had been stored in Jessie’s old closet to married daughter’s house.  There are still more things of hers in the closet.  I tend to want to get it all done in one big sweep.  But this time I grabbed a car load full and took it and put in her guest room closet when she wasn’t home 🙂  Done.  Now that I can see progress in the room it gives me incentive to keep going!

So often, I feel I must have it all planned out perfectly before I can begin.  I am realizing though more and more that done truly is better than perfect.

I have one last example.  I guess I’ve been learning this for a while, it’s just been a full throttle, all out, every-area-of-my-life focus this year.

Three years ago I had been wanting a flower bed in my back yard for a long time.  I knew I wanted some natural beauty that I could see and enjoy when I sit outside to read or relax and would be in my view from the pool.  I felt so stumped over exactly where to make a flower bed and what to start with since I couldn’t afford to spend a lot at one time.  I finally decided on a location, that I wasn’t sure was the perfect one and began to add plants just a couple at a time.  A Gerber daisy here.  Some climbing jasmine there.  I stuck with low maintenance perennials and just one or two at a time.

I’m not sure if I were making the decision today, that I wouldn’t change the location of that flower bed.  Even so, I’m glad I did it and that those plants, some of them, have been growing and being enjoyed for 3 years.

That flower bed, as imperfect as it still is, brings me so much joy!  I love seeing it every time I step outside.  I have started adding some potted plants on the deck.  Something I can see every time I open the door to let the dogs and cat in and out.  I love watching them grow.  The progress has been slow, one or two additions at a time, so it doesn’t cripple the pocket-book.

These are my examples of projects that I applied the Just Start to.  What is your project that you KNOW if you could JUST START that you would keep making progress? Think about how much better you would feel once you get going.  Keeping the project going is so much easier than getting started!  Put a note on the refrigerator or a reminder  on the calendar or in your phone, whatever the thing is that will remind you to Just Start.  You’ll be so glad you did.

I hope this encourages you.  A month from now you could be looking back and thinking about what you have accomplished.  Today is a good day to get started.

Till next week,

Josette

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2 comments

  1. I love this! The concept of “just start” is perfect for me. I’ve lost 100 pounds and one of the things I tell people about weight loss is “think teeny tiny steps”. When it seems overwhelming, break it down into a smaller step. If that step is overwhelming, break it down even smaller. This goes right along with that. Your bracelet is an awesome visual!

    1. Thank you, Sara! Wow, 100 pounds! That’s one area I wish I could “just start” on! There are so many areas in my life where I have had to learn to be content with slow progress. Continuing to learn that 🙂

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