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I tend to get overwhelmed when it comes to learning something new, especially if it feels big or important or is something I’m not at all familiar with.
Especially at first.
When the thing I want to do feels big and new and like there’s so much that I don’t understand, or if it feels really meaningful and important to me, I’ll feel this initial resistance, a hesitancy, a pulling back.
A moment where I sit there not even knowing what to do or where to start.
It’s like I can see all the moving parts, or even more so, like I can see that I don’t even know what all the moving parts are, but I understand that there are a lot. And I don’t even know how to figure out what they are.
I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember, so I know it will happen. It’s just kind of how I function. And because I know it will happen, I’m not surprised by it, and I’m (at least somewhat) okay with it when it happens.
Because I know that I won’t let it stop me from doing whatever it is I want or need to do.
I just know I might be a little slow getting started.
And I know that I just have to pause, take a breath, and remind myself to start small.
We can only ever start where we are, in this moment, with what we know.
When this happens, when I find myself not even knowing where to start, I say one (or both) of these phrases to myself:
“One thing at a time.”
These words settle me and bring me into the present moment.
They remind me that I don’t have to know everything and that we can only ever do one thing at a time anyway.
It’s okay to start small. It’s okay to not know everything. It’s okay to not know how we’ll figure it all out.
We just have to start. We just have to do something. We just have to move in the direction of where we want to go, of what we want to do. Even if that one thing is just writing down a list of what we want to do, of where we want to go.
One thing at a time.
These phrases help me redirect my attention to the present moment.
They pull me out of the tendency to try to see or figure everything out at once, which can just make me feel overwhelmed or stuck.
They help me to figure out how to get started with big, important, meaningful things, and they also help me in small, everyday things—like when I want to organize my day and I can’t decide where to start or what to prioritize, or if I find that I want to do a lot of things and all at once.
These words bring me back to the moment; they help me settle into the moment.
They help me to prioritize and refocus my attention.
They remind me that I can only do one thing at a time.
We can only ever do one thing at a time.
And it’s okay to start small.
With just one baby step.
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