Theresa Meacham’s column appears Wednesdays in The News-Gazette. She can be reached at

Then start with something really simple.

Trent and I were discussing a new writing project I was about to start for someone in the wellness space.

But I was overwhelmed.

I had so many ideas in my head for the direction things could go. And I had high hopes for how all of it would turn out. I’d been discussing some different options with Trent the past few days when he finally asked me what was keeping me from getting started.

I guess I just don’t really know where to start.

You might know the feeling. I know I’ve certainly felt it before.

I felt it when I played basketball in college and would go to the gym to sharpen my skills and improve my conditioning, but I didn’t really know where to begin my workout.

I felt it when I was a new mom of twins living overseas and drowning in questions but empty on answers or support.

I felt it last weekend when I was looking at a kitchen I wanted to deep clean but didn’t know where to get started.

The overwhelm of starting — whether something big and important or something small and somewhat insignificant — can easily lead to inaction altogether.

When my husband suggested I start with something really simple, it felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t need to finish my project in a day. It didn’t need to be perfect right off the bat. I didn’t need to have it all figured out immediately.

I just needed to start with a few pieces of the puzzle instead of trying to piece all of it together in my head beforehand.

I thought back to when I’d done it before.

In college, I eventually developed the same methodical form-shooting routine to start all of my solo workouts. It was less about the form shooting and more about having a routine that got me confidently into the flow of a workout.

Overseas, I chunked up my day. I knew I could manage making it from one feed to the next. So I spent six months living in two-and-a-half-to-three-hour increments. The day became more manageable when I broke it up — did I need to get myself breakfast or fold a load of laundry or take the boys on a walk during that particular piece of the day?

And last weekend with the kitchen, I started as I often do when there’s a laundry list of items to accomplish: Eat the frog. I picked my least-favorite task on the kitchen deep-cleaning list and started with that first. So I climbed on top of the counters and began dusting and scrubbing the tippy-tops of the kitchen cabinets.

I’m learning life is better when it’s lived with the same approach I take to make the overwhelming projects not so overwhelming: doing one thing at a time. Being mindful and intentional about what is right now and knowing I’ll get to what’s next when the time comes to do what’s next.

There are big things like choosing a career or raising a child or contemplating a significant change of direction. And there are small things like cleaning a kitchen or writing a paper.

Big or small, it’s easy to get stuck doing nothing with either one.

So if you’re like me and having a hard time crossing a starting line or simply staying in the race — whether it’s a great big prayer, a small house project, a relationship struggle or a looming task at work — I offer the advice my husband gifted me.

How about you start with something really simple, really small?

Theresa Meacham’s column appears Wednesdays in The News-Gazette. She can be reached at

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