Sunday, May 31, 2009

what do you do when you feel overwhelmed by the things you want to do?

As soon as I started talking about adding in exercise and meal planning in addition to my housecleaning project, I lost motivation for practically everything. More often than not, I find myself sitting around and wanting to do stuff but not knowing where to start, so I sit and stare at the mess around me, totally bewildered.

Am I overwhelmed at the thought of trying to tackle two projects at once, knowing I've failed there in the past?
Am I overwhelmed because exercise and eating right have always been such huge problems for me and it seems so overwhelming to even TRY again?
Or is there some other reason I'm struggling with the actuality of eating right and exercising in addition to decluttering?

These questions are sort of rhetorical; I don't know the answers. If I DID, I'd be working on the solution.

I think it's sort of a combination of the first and second though. Every time I sit down with a pad of paper and begin listmaking and thinking about all the pieces involved in the two projects, I get really overwhelmed.

For instance:
In the decluttering department, I am almost done sorting through the entire house. That feels REALLY good, and that is why I'm thinking about adding in another project while I finish up. Because after the house is done, the only other areas to declutter are the laundry room and the garage. And those are going to be HUGE, time consuming projects. I think I'll do much better if I take them in small chunks, say, a box a day on my days off. But that'll take WEEKS and I don't want to wait weeks or months before I start working on my health too.
Even though most of the stuff in the living areas of the house has been tackled and will be done shortly, I still have:

1. decluttering the laundry room
2. decluttering the garage
3. sorting through all the magazines I've saved (largely cooking magazines) that I still can't bring myself to throw away
4. sorting through the BOXES of paper that I've saved (and this is just what I've found in the house, not even what's stuffed in the laundry room and garage) because I couldn't handle decluttering STUFF and PAPER at the same time. (So I just boxed up papers separately and set them aside)
5. scanning all the papers I've decided to keep

Yes, I have a huge paper problem. This post isn't about that. I know it's an issue. I'm working on it.

That's all stuff that falls under the 'decluttering' project. That in and of itself is a fairly overwhelming list.

So when I sit down and try to think about tackling all that PLUS exercising every day AND planning out my meals AND changing my eating habits, I get a little freaked out. TOO MUCH CHANGE AT ONCE.

So what's the answer?

If it's too much, the answer is to cut back, right?

Now, despite the fact that my decluttering project list is still pretty hefty and overwhelming, I've been making huge progress in that area and I feel pretty comfortable with it. I'm confident I can keep working on it and tackle it all (in time) and CHANGE for good.

With the weight thing, I know that exercise AND healthy eating are both important. But I think I'm going to start by focusing on just ONE of those areas. I'm a little torn as to which one, but I believe I will start by focusing on my eating habits. Because I feel more emotionally resistant to exercise: eating is something I do every day anyway; exercise is another time-suck that is going to take away from my decluttering project. I know that's not how I SHOULD look at it, but it's how I feel about it right now. I feel like I'm already getting a decent amount of exercise with the decluttering I've been doing, and I want to continue doing it. (I will add in some extra walk breaks on the days I work though, because I really feel too sedentary those days.) My eating habits are a HUGE issue though, and I've also read in numerous places that a healthy diet is really the bulk of the weight-loss battle. Yes, exercise is hugely important, but if you don't have the diet in place you'll never succeed or maintain. So I'll start with diet and worry about structured exercise down the road.

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