I feel the weight of the task every time I walk through our basement. Ava and I are ready to move, but there’s much to be done first. We have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. Most of it lives in our basement. I’m the process of clearing out the clutter.
Except it’s not as easy as that sounds. It never is.
The hardest part isn’t the actual work…it’s how I feel about it. I hate it. Don’t want to do it. And, every time I walk through the basement I’m reminded of how much I have to do and how much I simply don’t want to.
The job feels overwhelming and even though I’ve done a lot, it feels like I’ve barely made a dent. I have no momentum.
I actually have a deep why. The motivation is rooted in something that long term will change our lives. Ava and I both feel it, but that motivation is still not enough to compel me to get at it when I really don’t feel like it.
I was reminded last week of how similar this is to starting a fitness journey. And, then I was reminded how my philosophy, and blog posts, about making fitness a habit and then part of your lifestyle was coming back to bite me in the butt.
My fitness journey is pushing ten years now. I won’t bore you with the back story AGAIN, but I’ve got lots of momentum. My fitness activities, especially getting at least 20,000 steps every day, are parts of my day I really look forward to. I’ll say no to “fun” to get the fitness stuff in. Fitness, for me, is more fun than fun.
That couldn’t be further from how I feel about decluttering so we can downsize. And, to add in even more drudgery, once I get all this crap cleared out…then I have to make some pretty significant improvements to the house. And, a lot of that is my own fault.
I’m the King of 90%. I’ve done a lot of work around our house since we moved in more than 23 years ago. I saved us a TON of money too. And, some of my projects were pretty impressive. Well, at least I impressed myself.
There’s the bathroom I added to our master bedroom. I cobbled together unused space from our bedroom, the room on the other side of the wall, and our hallway to build a nice little master bath. Did everything…including the plumbing. Yep…I’m still impressed by that one.
But, with every job I typically got 90% done and then stopped. It was good enough. Except it’s not. All these undone projects now have to be completed before we sell the house. Plus, there are new projects that I never started that should be done too.
I’m reminded of EVERY SINGLE JOB when I walk through the basement and how much I just don’t want to do it.
And, now I’m reminded of everyone who feels the same way about fitness and my silly advice. If that’s you, I’m sorry. I get it.
The struggle is REAL!
…the advice may not be that silly.
Start Small. Think Long.
Getting our house decluttered and fixed up to sell won’t happen in one week…or one month…or even in one year. I don’t have to do it all today. I can do a little today…and a little tomorrow…and a little more the day after that. Spending several hours on the decluttering feels overwhelming, but 20-30 minutes feels OK.
Same with fitness. You feel so overwhelmed by how far you have to go that you have a hard time wrapping your emotions around just starting. But, setting a small step goal is doable today…and tomorrow…and the day after. That feels way more manageable.
Both of us need to keep our focus on the small bit we CAN do today…not on the LARGE mass the full job needs.
We tend to feel motivation for what’s right in front of our face. That’s why fitness can be so daunting. You know where you are now and where you eventually want to get and you want to close that gap in a month.
Not gonna happen…not even possible.
But, if you think of fitness as a rest-of-life pursuit it allows you to start small and slowly gain some fitness wins and momentum.
Every day I take a little bit of time to go through our junk and decide what to keep, what to throw away, and what to sell. If I keep doing that I will eventually have a decluttered and updated house that’s ready to sell.
Yes, the struggle is real, but there is a path forward. Let’s both not give up, OK?
Later this month I’ll be rolling out a unique (and fun) way to help you gain some real traction and momentum on your fitness journey. If you have subscribed to this blog you won’t miss a single thing.
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Baby steps! Just like I’m sure you didn’t wake up on Day 1 and take 20,000 steps, I’m assuming it was a progression over time. Chipping away at the clutter little by little will get the job done over time 🙌🏼.
Yes Lisa. I agree, but even baby steps with the de-cluttering can feel overwhelming because I simply DON’T WANT TO DO IT. It’s a real struggle and I imagine there are many who feel the same way about fitness.
Thank you for this writing! I have been struggling with my whole life lately. And, as a new follower of Christ, I have been overwhelmed, by my own ways, of trying to do too much too fast. So as a result, I am frustrated and tired! I can use this advice, though, in my spiritual journey and in everything in life.
Start small, think long! Perfect!
Thanks again for your encouragement!
Hi Bob. I’m learning that the approach of starting small and thinking long fits so many other areas of life. Thanks for your encouragement!
Dave – I know you enjoyed the projects that you did in your house, and the fact that you save a lot of money, but it sounds like your priorities are focused on your fitness and your family at this time in your life. In my opinion, that’s exactly where they should be. Have you considered hiring a handy man to help you finish up all these projects? My husband and I did that when he was stationed 2 hours away from home and I was expecting our second child. It was wonderful because when my husband was able to make it home for a weekend, he wasn’t tied up with all of the little projects that needed to get wrapped up before we sold our house.
Hi Kim. Yes, I agree. I actually will be hiring out a lot of what needs to be done. The decluttering is on us…and some of the other easier projects, but all of the big stuff will be done by others. I love that you and your husband made family time a priority over project time. That’s the way it should be!