Due to the nature of my blog, I’ve heard my fair share of “excuses” as to why someone’s house is disorganized, why they can’t save more money or cut back on their expenses, why they don’t have enough time to do everything on their list, etc, etc.
Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?
- I’ll organize the junk room once I have a long weekend to work on it
- I’ll clean out the garage once my spouse is ready to help
- I’ll go through that pile of papers once I buy the appropriate file folders
- I’ll start making sleep a priority once I get ahead on my to-dos
- I’ll start writing my to-do’s down once I find the perfect planner
- I’ll start looking for the perfect planner after the holidays
- I’ll start investing once I build up my savings account
- I’ll start saving once my debt is paid off
- I’ll pay off my debt once my income goes up a bit
- I’ll start an emergency (or retirement) fund once we pay off the rest of our bills
- I’ll start eating healthier after my upcoming vacation
- I’ll start exercising once the weather gets cooler this fall (or warmer in the spring)
- I’ll start meal planning next week… as this week is too busy
- I’ll get my pictures organized once my kids are a little older
- I’ll put effort into starting my business once the kids have moved out.
I think you get the idea!
I can completely relate to this thought process (and I know I’ve said some of these excuses myself). After all, it IS more efficient to tackle a big project all at one time, it’s more rewarding to pay down debt or build your investments once you have more disposable income to put towards it, and everything is easier once the kids are older!
HOWEVER, what if you never have a big enough chunk of time or large enough chunk of extra cash to get started? And what if your kids never move out? 🙂
The truth is, there often isn’t a “right time” or a “perfect time” to do so many things… and by waiting for that right time, you are essentially procrastinating indefinitely.
Our lives are all full of wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful) to-dos. Whether it’s caring for our families, running errands, working, volunteering, exploring new hobbies, spending time with friends, etc. there is ALWAYS something else we could do, should do, or want to do.
If we constantly put off those tasks I listed above because we’re “too busy” or we “don’t have enough money” or “it’s not the right time”, we will most likely continue putting them off and putting them off until they eventually all catch up with us in the form of more debt, weight gain, a messy and disorganized home, too little sleep, and added stress.
My overly-simple solution = Start Small Right Now!
It might not be the best timing ever. It might not be the most convenient phase of your life. But if you don’t do it now, you might never get started.
Incorporate one or two small healthy habits into your routine (like I did this year).
Start an emergency fund with $10 — and then set up an automatic withdraw to add $5 or $10 a month.
Set your timer for 15 minutes and fold laundry, file papers, or clean off a section of your kitchen counters.
Make a goal to get to bed 15 minutes earlier, even if you still have stuff to do.
Make a meal plan for next week… right now! (Here are a few ideas to help you get started)
Put an extra $10 towards a debt you need to pay off.
By getting started right now (even if it’s a super small start) you are taking action, building momentum, and getting the ball rolling in the right direction.
You most likely won’t see massive changes over night (or even in the first week or month) but if you keep plugging away, you WILL see the changes eventually! Plus, you’ll be developing a really great habit!
And please don’t feel like you must start at the beginning.
So often, I hear statements like:
- But it would be so much work to go all the way back to when my kids were babies in order to digitize all their photos
- But I’m already in my 40’s (or 50’s) — I don’t think it would pay to start a retirement account now
- But my house is so disorganized — I just want to move and start over because I don’t even know where to begin in this house
- But my schedule is so crazy — I just don’t know how I could make any extra time to __________
My response to these types of statements is “just get started!” (in a nice, sensitive tone!)
You don’t need to digitize every one of your children’s pictures. Just start NOW and move forward with all future pictures
You don’t need to be in your 20’s or 30’s to start a retirement account. Just start one NOW… it will still be better than nothing.
You don’t need to organize your entire house in one week. Just start NOW and do one small area. Then do another area tomorrow.
You don’t need to have hours of extra time. Just start NOW with 5, 10, or 15 minutes of more exercise, sleep, or whatever you want to make more time for.
The point of getting started is not to “do it perfectly” but rather just to “do something”.
By doing something, you will start to change your behavior, your way of thinking, your routine, your mentality, etc. And after enough days of “doing something” there’s a really good chance you will develop a new habit.
You will automatically pick up after yourself, file your papers, and purge your closet when it’s getting too full.
You will automatically think about saving and investing each month and be excited to put more money away for later.
You will automatically start to reach for healthier foods and your taste buds might even start to crave those healthier options.
You will automatically start to be more efficient with your time and make time in your schedule for those activities that are most important to you.
I realize this type of information is extremely easy to read and say, “yes, I should do that!” It’s exciting to think about making positive changes in our lives — but not as exciting to actually make the changes.
It will not necessarily be easy or fun or enjoyable (especially not in the beginning). But it WILL be worth it once you start to see the results.
What would you like to “start right now”?