Help! I want to change my life but I don’t know where to start!

I Want to Change My Life But I Don't Know Where to Start

I can’t believe I am actually writing you, but I just feel like giving up. I bought your new book and read it. It was wonderful and filled with great ideas, but I truthfully don’t know where to start. I feel like I can’t keep my head above water. Do I focus on trying to tame the budget? Lose weight? Being more mindful when with my family?

I just feel like I am under so much stress all the time. My husband works a lot and I work from home as a freelance writer and we have two children, ages 10 and 11. My 11-year-old is on the autism spectrum and it is so draining — never-ending worries about this and that. We have no family around.

So what do you recommend as the best way to start getting things under control? Is it finances? (we do OK…but don’t have much savings) Get healthier? (I want to lose 10 pounds and frankly have no willpower and can’t say no to sweets) Get more organized?

Just feeling lost. – a reader

Hugs! I’m so sorry you have so much on your plate right now. I wish that you could come over and hang out with me at my house for a few hours and we could just talk over a cup of coffee.

But since there are miles and miles that separate us, I’ll do my best to share some of my thoughts to answer your questions in this post. I encourage you to just take whatever you find helpful and leave the rest. I’m all about grace not guilt!

I Want to Change My Life But I Don't Know Where to Start

1. Say No

The best thing you can do right now is to say “no” to everything that isn’t an absolute necessity. Make “no” your default answer to every request and opportunity.

Now is not the time to be taking on anything new. In fact, now is the time to be off-loading everything you possibly can. Remind yourself that saying “no” to the mediocre will then allow you to say “yes” to the best.

As I talk about in the first chapter of my book, giving myself permission to say “no” changed my life. I had thought that life was spinning out of control without my consent. But then I finally realized that most of the overwhelming things in my life were the result of my inability to say “no” and my feelings of obligation to other people — at the expense of my health and family.

When I realized that I was the problem, but I was also the solution, it changed my life. It allowed me to stop letting life happen to me and start happening to life.

I Want to Change My Life But I Don't Know Where to Start

2. Streamline Your Life

So often, we get so busy living life that we forget what it is we’re actually living for. Stop and consider what’s really going to matter in 25 years from now. This will likely change your perspective on what’s important and will make it much easier to prioritize.

I found it very helpful to create a Best Stuff List — a list of the few things that matter most right now and that I want to wrap my life around. I can exhaust myself trying to do it all, or I can choose to focus my time and energy on those few things that really matter.

My Best Stuff list serves as a guide for whether I say “yes” to commitments and opportunities that come my way. And it helps me to much more quickly be able to say “no” to those things that would only distract me from the Best Stuff.

I Want to Change My Life But I Don't Know Where to Start

3. Set Small Goals

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. You have to change something if you want to see change.

Where do you want to be in six months from now? Think of a few areas that will have the biggest impact on your life. If you’re not sure what to start with, consider which areas are the greatest stress-inducers right now. Is it your weight? Is it your lack of organization? Is it your finances?

Pick two areas that are causing the most stress and set a realistic, specific, and measurable goal for those two areas.

For instance, if you want to lose weight, set a goal to lose 10 pounds in six months. That’s a little less than two pounds in a month — or about a half pound every week.

Once you have the specific goal, it’s time determine your action plan. What specific things are you going to do each day to accomplish your goal of losing half pound a week? Write your action plan down and find an accountability partner you can check in with each week to report your progress and success.

I Want to Change My Life But I Don't Know Where to Start

4. Celebrate Your Success

The best way to change your life is to set a specific goal, create a doable action plan, put some accountability in place, and then go for it. Don’t over-think or over-plan. Just do it!

Focus on the progress you’re making, not on how far you still have to go. You probably won’t hit your goals every week, but so long as you don’t give in and give up, you’re still moving forward. And moving forward — even at a microscopic rate — is progress.

So celebrate your success — no matter how small — and keep charging ahead. Even if you just make four small changes each year, that’s 40 changes over the course of a decade — and that’s massive!

Don’t give up! You don’t have to live life stuck in survival mode, constantly feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead, you can live with intention, enthusiasm, passion, and purpose. It’s an amazingly rewarding way to live — and it starts with taking tiny little steps in the right direction!

What advice do the rest of you have for this reader? Please share in the comments!

I Want to Change My Life But I Don't Know Where to Start

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Comments

  1. Patti Sutton says

    My heart goes out to you. Please know you aren’t alone. My daughter is on the spectrum and in a special program. Some days are great, others are unforgettable in a not-so-good way. Her therapist reminds me repeatedly that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Exhausting, I know.
    Coupled with caring for an elderly mom battling dementia I know too well how overwhelming it is to be pulled in so many directions.
    Please take time to care for yourself. Even if it’s a short walk. Like they say on airplanes, put your own oxygen mask on before you can be in a position to help anyone else.
    Hugs to you.

    • says

      I agree that this is great advice. I think simply allowing ourselves to recognize that we CANNOT do everything is the start of being able to take control and direct our lives. My husband deployed last year when I had a 2 month old and a 17 month old, and I was so overwhelmed. I kept thinking to myself “Why can’t I do this? If I just did X I would be able to handle it!” (X being sleep less, manage my time better, etc). When I finally got the point that I prioritized the necessities and un-volunteered for the non-necessities, I was more in control of the time that I did have to spend. I also found a fabulous babysitter and took time out each afternoon to go to the gym (both of these helped tremendously with my mental health!)

  2. says

    These are excellent ideas! I love that you put saying no first. It really seems to help.

    I’ve been in this overwhelmed place fairly recently, and cutting back and simplifying were the key factors to moving forward.

    Hugs and prayers to the reader who wrote in. Hang in there!

  3. Jennifer says

    You have good important goals but as you’ve realized you can’t fully tackle them all at once. Maybe spend a quarter of the year on each goal/important part of your life. Maybe three months establishing community that supports you and your husband and your kids, that supports your marriage, that gives you a break/coffee time/pedicure time when needed, that can babysit for you, that can just listen. Then maybe spend three months with your husband sorting out finances and a budget and taking care of financial paperwork and making goals together. Then spend three months focusing on your own health, weight, exercise, eating, quiet time, etc. Change takes time, so give yourself grace.

    • Antonella says

      I totally second Jennifer’s input.
      Having too many goals at a time (or even 2, if they are as important as money and weight) is frustrating and not efficient. 3 months on 1 goal will keep stress at bay and provide best results. Start with the issue that seems more urgent/draining and don’t worry about anything else for these months beyond basic survival (food, simple cleaning etc).
      Hang in there! :-)

  4. Jennifer says

    You have good important goals but as you’ve realized you can’t fully tackle them all at once. Maybe spend a quarter of the year on each goal/important part of your life. Maybe three months establishing community that supports you and your husband and your kids, that supports your marriage, that gives you a break/coffee time/pedicure time when needed, that can babysit for you, that can just listen. Then maybe spend three months with your husband sorting out finances and a budget and taking care of financial paperwork and making goals together. Then spend three months focusing on your own health, weight, exercise, eating, quiet time, etc. Change takes time, so give yourself grace. We’re rooting for you!

  5. Christy says

    Start with prayer. God is the only one who totally knows you, your husband, your family, work and exactly what you need. My 95 yr old friend likes to remind me, “Just tell Him all about it. He cares, He loves you and wants you to talk to Him.” Ask Him what He wants you to do tonight. Then in the morning ask Him what to do until lunch. After lunch, ask Him what to do next.

  6. says

    I loved this post. I would also say to the reader, some things that appear to be blessings or good opportunities are like a 50-cent elephant. 50 cents for an elephant is a great deal… but only if you have 50 cents, and only if you need an elephant.

    Just last night, someone offered my husband and I a free trip to a fancy mountain cabin at their group retreat. Yay! Free trip! But wait… it would require me to use a couple of precious vacation days at work, it would keep me from being home (where I really want to be right now!), and last time I went with them, the crowd was so loud at night that I couldn’t sleep and was very grouchy because of it. So a free trip sounds great, but maybe it wouldn’t really be a blessing to us. Maybe it’s a 50-cent elephant.

    Anything can be a 50-cent elephant. Dinner with friends that takes up your time, free chocolate at your neighbor’s desk at work, etc. But is it really worth the ultimate cost?

  7. Jessica says

    For me, personally, putting a timeline on myself can add to the stress. I have learned it’s the small and simple things that really make a difference in my life. Picking 3 manageable tasks to accomplish each day (or week, or hour) really pushes me through, and encourages me to keep moving forward. Read a book to the kiddos, make a batch of muffins, walk for 25 min etc…
    Large lists are often overwhelming, and I find that with a small to-do list, I catch some momentum and usually accomplish more than I had planned. Give yourself time and credit, and I agree with crystal, don’t look at how far you have to go. Focus on your tiny accomplishments and take baby steps to where you want to be.
    By small and simple means are great things brought to pass!
    Hugs!

  8. Robyn says

    I have so been here.

    I don’t have any kids on the spectrum, but I know how it feels to be drowning in every area of life. Crystal gives you good advice.

    I would honestly start with the budget. When finances feel out of control, everything feels out of control. And I’ve found the opposite is true as well: when I’m in control of our money, I feel more in control of my household as well. The discipline of it trickles down for me.

    When you have a choice, choose the thing that brings you closer to your goals. Drink water instead of soda. Spend ten minutes picking up the house instead of surfing Facebook.

    I’m still very much a work in progress, but I (finally) feel like I’m gaining on it! And it’s not like I’ve achieved great success in any area, but I’ve lost ten pounds, we’re saving a little every month instead of spending more that we earn, and my house is more orderly–enough so that someone can stop by unannounced and I’m not mortified!!

    • says

      So true !!! One of my favorites — F.L.Y.-lady – says to set your timer for 10 minutes — that you can do anything for 10 minutes. I have used this advice more than once and it has helped

  9. Stephanie says

    You are taking the first step right now, by acknowledging you want to do something different. I am a masters level psychologist & I work at an autism center. One of the most important thing for parents is to connect with other parents in similar situation. Some of the most impromptu support systems are made in the waiting room. Friendships are formed, connections are made, play dates are set, services are suggested all through parentS who have been there. We have a central “lounge” for parents and encourage/sometimes introduce parents to meet each other. It usually becomes a support group without all the formalities or cost. Research your local services today. There are probably much more than you are aware of. Wishing you & your family the best.

    • Susan says

      I second this! I’m a single mother with no family nearby. But I have a wonderful network of friends, which is a tremendous blessing. Everyone needs a support network. I know nothing about the community of families who are raising children with autism, but there must be resources in your area, so I would encourage you to seek it out.

  10. Jessica says

    Lovely and thorough response, Crystal. God bless you.

    To the reader – my heart also goes out to you! My simple advice would be to tackle the problems in order of which is distressing you the most.

    I know that for me, the weight/health issue would be the most challenging, because when I overeat (and it’s always the sweets that get me too!) then I feel awful, become depressed and down on myself, and every other “problem” becomes magnified. I am short with my husband, I lose my temper with my sweet little ones, I sleep worse – and then I rush to eat to “comfort” myself. It is the very definition of a vicious cycle. I quite literally have an addiction that I have to fight on a daily basis. It’s not a smoking or drinking addiction, but it could still shatter my life – it HAS shattered my life in the past. I remember confiding all this to a wonderful, wise older woman in my parish. Her practical and loving response was, “Jess, if you are unhappy with yourself, you’ll make this change. If you don’t, it’s because you’re happy staying this way.”

    It hit me like a thunderbolt.

    I don’t know your situation, and I hope that it isn’t quite so bad as what I have described. But IF it is, my advice to you is this – do not buy into the lie that sweets will make anything better. If you can’t enjoy a treat with a joyful and grateful heart, do not eat it. Keep your eyes on the Lord and remember that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit! When I am about to overeat out of anger, sadness, desperation . . . I try to breathe, rest in God’s strength, and remind myself that I am the daughter of a royal King in Heaven – a princess who deserves better.

    God bless you.

  11. says

    The ladies above have covered everything. I just wanted to send you some hugs and love. You are not alone, we are thinking of you. Our very best wishes to you and continue to take baby steps. <3 :-)

  12. says

    Crystal gives great advice, and I recommend it all! Also please don’t be afraid to ask for help! I know you don’t have much family around, but surely you have a friend or a neighbor you trust. Sometimes, it’s as simple as having an accountability partner, especially when it comes to weight loss or saving money. It’s always easier to do it with a friend!

    I have a friend that I’m a financial accountability partner for. She and her husband have spending habits that are out of control, and since she knows I’m good with a budget, she came to me for help. It’s difficult because her mother-in-law is living with them and she is not frugal AT ALL! But I encourage her to take baby steps to lower her spending on the unnecessaries (like that extra package of cookies or spending on a manicure when she could do her own nails). They still have money troubles, but they’re getting there, slowly.

    Find a friend, a neighbor, a church member, and ask them for help. If you work through losing weight or building a savings with someone, it’s a lot easier than going it alone. You’ll have someone to vent to when things don’t work out, someone to encourage you to try again, someone to light a fire under you if you get lazy about it, and someone to celebrate with when you’ve achieved success!

    • says

      This is great advice. Struggling alone is miserable. And I find it difficult/awkward to have my husband be the one to hold me accountable.

  13. says

    I feel like just in the last few months I’ve come out of that survival mode. Crystal’s book talked about establishing a morning routine. That morning routine (which half I was already doing but not as efficiently) really was a catalyst for change in my life. My morning routine is so simple, but includes me sitting with my coffee and breakfast and making a goal list for the day. These baby steps really helped me get going.

  14. Melissa says

    This brought tears to my eyes as I read it because I have felt the same way (and still do in certain areas of my life–particularly housework and my weight right now). I think very rarely in life are we ever standing still–we are usually either moving forward towards a goal or moving away from it. I agree with others who have said to focus on one or maybe two things tops and ask yourself what you can change, however small it may be. I’m trying to eat salads for lunch due to Crystal’s challenge and while I may not eat great the rest of the day, I figure at least I’ve taken one step towards where I want to go. Hopefully your husband is on board with this. Talk to him about which changes you could make as a couple whether it be eating healthier or challenging yourselves to save more money. Working as a team makes it so much easier. Thank you so much for being honest and vulnerable in sharing this. You have undoubtedly helped out many others who were too afraid to ask the same question! Blessings to you in this venture!

  15. Lucy says

    First, I just wanted to send big hugs and prayers your way. My three-year-old son has ASD, and it has consumed our lives since he was an infant. I had no support system until he was nearly 2 and understand the feeling of drowning. You are NOT alone on this journey. Find a parent support group or just start introducing yourselves to other ASD parents and ask for their contact info. This is tough for me because I am shy, but I am learning that most families are more than willing to connect, support, and share knowledge.

    Take some time for YOU, even if it’s just bath salts from the dollar tree or a $2 cup of coffee by yourself. And if your son has sleep problems like most ASD kids, have your pediatrician recommend a sleep doctor! You will not be able to tackle your goals unless you get some rest.

    *Hugs* I’ll be thinking about you.

  16. L says

    My thoughts go out to you as we also have a son on the autism spectrum who is lower functioning. He is the heart of our family. The whole family loves that child to the moon and back. In saying that, it is difficult and lonely. We can’t always do things because he can’t handle certain outings or places. He requires one-on-one attention so there really isn’t a day care that we know of in our area that can provide the attention he needs. So my part-time job revolves around his school day. He had a difficult year behavior-wise and that was hard on us emotionally. (He has since learned to better handle his behaviors…yeah!) It encompasses every part of our life…emotionally, financially and worrying about his future. We are constantly trying to find the good in each day as there is a lot to be thankful for. And that seems to help! You are not alone. Thinking of you!

  17. says

    All the comments are wonderful and I, too, wish I was nearby and could give you a big hug!

    Can I suggest that you can even start “microscopic”? Replace one can of soda or one sweet with water or a piece of fruit each day. Take 5 minutes to stretch in the morning or to walk around your living room when you otherwise would be sitting. Even this little things that seem so small are a HUGE step in the right direction.

    I’ll second picking the one thing that stresses you out the most and starting with that.

    Cyber-hugs and I’ll be praying for you in the weeks ahead!
    Lea

  18. Anne says

    To the reader: you are doing the right thing even thinking about your goals. Start very small; I would choose a health area first. health is wealth! :) Maybe joining Crystal’s monthly challenge would be doable. From experience, it can be discoraging to not lose a half a pound a week. You might not be able to dictate the rate at which your body will lose weight even if you are doing all the right things, but you can eat a salad per day, go for a walk, reduce your sugar intake, or drink more water. Those are measurable, you have direct control over them, and they will lead to weight loss. Furthermore, they are sustainable and will have an impact on your good health long term.

    To Crystal: once again you are spreading the Good News and ministering to women. Your posts and Mandi’s reflects on GTSM have provided me with support, wisdom, and encouragement as we have had several mini-crises over the past several weeks.

  19. says

    When I feel overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start, I say to myself “pick a corner and get started” This came from my Grandma. When it came to housecleaning she would get so overwhelmed she didn’t want to start. This was her go to phrase. Sometimes we would each start in a corner and meet in the middle. You have to start somewhere, so pick a spot to start.

    I have found that stewing and fussing about where to start and what is going to be the best method and so on, does not work for me. I keep reformulating the plan in my mind until I am so confused I don’t want to start. I have found that if I jump in and get started then my mind begins to clear and I can see a better path.

    Once I start I am in a different perspective, it changes my thoughts about what makes the most sense. I often cannot see the entire plan, just a step at a time. But starting clears it up so that I can find the first few steps. Then the next few steps become clearer.

    Please, please, please resist the temptation to think that you have to be everything and do it all, right now you can’t.
    I am currently writing an e-book about my struggles and life lessons I learned along the way. I think that the chapter on taking time for yourself would be of help here.

    This is the third chapter from my book.

    “It is not selfish to love yourself, to take care of yourself, and to make your
    happiness a priority, it is necessary. Amy Hale

    I have to admit, this was one of the hardest lesson for me to learn, and is for so many women. I am a giver, I love to give and serve others. The trouble is that I had given so much without replenishing that my love bucket was empty. I had nothing else to give, yet I kept trying to give. I kept on scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for more to give. I kept on banging and scraping on the bottom of myself trying to gain more. The thing was, I had made a hole in my bucket and in my ability to give, the hole got bigger and bigger until the entire bottom fell out. I was forced to stop and take care of me.

    I had to put me at the very top of the priority list which was very hard. But it was even harder to keep me at the top. So often we try to put ourselves near the top of the list, yet we find ourselves down at the bottom of the list time and time again. There were not enough hours in the day to do all that I wanted to do. Time for me was pushed off until well after midnight when all the kids and hubby were settled, but then I was too tired to think about me, maybe tomorrow I would find time for me. Who was I kidding? Finding time for me during the day was nearly impossible with three little ones running about the house. Even when I would lock myself in the bathroom for five minutes “alone time” there were little fingers pushing under the door reminding me that they were still there. I needed a new plan, I wrote some me time into the daily schedule.

    I would schedule time for me and find myself stressing about what kind of mess I was going to find when I got done having five minutes to myself. It seemed to be that five minutes for me was ending up being half an hour or more of cleanup from whatever the kids got into while I was taking some “mommy time”. I would try to leave the kids with Dad and take a few moments for myself, yet I would stress about what kind of trouble Dad would make with the kids. I wondered if he would be ok, did he know the routine? Would he take care of them the way I would? I could not let it go. It seemed that those scheduled moments to myself were not of any use. I would come back far more stressed then when I went. Usually when Hubby would take the kids so I could have some time to myself I would go and cry because I didn’t know what else to do with myself.

    There were many attempts at “me time” that were far from enjoyable and filling Time for me ended up being a time that I felt guilty feelings, and stress feelings, and so many other feelings I can’t even begin to list. I wondered if it was all worth it. I often found myself yelling and screaming at the kids while yelling and screaming inside even louder “why can’t I have some real relaxing refreshing me time!”. It took many failed attempts to find a way for me to refresh my soul without feeling guilty about taking time out for me.

    I had to learn to love myself and put as much into me as I had been trying to put into my children, husband, church callings and all the others around me. For you it could be finding yourself putting too much of yourself into your job, taking care of aging parents, your pets and so on. I had truly lost myself in taking care of everyone and everything except myself. I had to find me, but how? I had to change my attitude about it. I had to TAKE time for me as opposed to MAKE time for me. I was getting it all wrong. I had to quit scheduling “me time” because it was not working. It was only leading to a stressed out person. The scheduled me time was not doing what was intended. Instead of making a big deal about “mommy time” and making the announcement to the kids that this is my time, do not interrupt. I just started finding time for the simple things like taking a few moments to flip through a magazine while the kids ate breakfast, or read a blog post I had been meaning to read. It was simple things like sitting down to a cup of cocoa, and if those moments were shared with the children (instead of hiding from them) I could still relax and enjoy with them.

    I started finding a relaxing moment here and there. Often they were fleeting and only lasted a moment, but they were beginning to add up. I would read a book for a few moments while the children played at the park, or listen to a song on my mp3 player I got for Christmas. I just had to take advantage of those little moments and let them refresh and revive me. It was those little things that added up. It did not have to be the big moments. It was so simple, yet why did it have to be so hard to learn. I began to repair the broken love/giving bucket. It began slowly but the more I did it, the more it became a part of the routine of life.

    Taking time for those little moments and realizing that I did not need an hour long recharging bubble bath was revolutionary. I just needed to take those little moments and gather them up like rain drops to a puddle. As I was in this process I remember one Sunday morning when my young daughter who was about four years old came into the bathroom while I was getting ready for church. She told me. “Mom you and I, we look so beautiful in our dresses; let’s dance” The old worried, stressed out me would have pushed that aside and said, “not now sweetie I don’t have the time, we are going to be late”. I was learning the power of those little moments. I swept up my daughter and took fifteen seconds to whisk her about the bathroom in a magical dance. In those few seconds we were swept up into a fantasy land, a magical moment that could have easily been lost. The dance only lasted a few moments, but the feelings lasted most of the day, and the memory will last a lifetime.

    I hope this helps you to find courage to make some small changes in your life and in your attitude. It is often not the big things that change us, the small things can really make a difference.

    • Anne says

      MLK Jr has a quote something like, you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step in faith.

  20. says

    My experience in being overwhelmed with too many things to work on is that you really need to pick one area to start with. It’s very difficult to succeed if you try to improve all areas at once. Also, when you do pick the one focus, try to consciously some of the other areas go to some extent. Feeling guilty about what you’re not doing will only drag you down. I would suggest starting with what is causing you the most stress. I’ve also realized that sometimes I feel stressed simply because I’m too hard on myself or expecting too much of myself. That is something to consider. In almost in any area (such as healthy eating, exercise, finances, home organization, etc) there is always room for improvement. Just because you could be doing even better in some area, doesn’t necessarily that you are doing poorly in that area. It could be that you are doing just fine and simply could improve.

  21. Susan says

    My advice to this reader has to do with #3. Set small goals! Lots of goals, or a few big lofty goals, are too overwhelming.

    You will feel better about yourself if you can set small goals that are achievable. The hardest part is getting started. Once you get going, you’ll build momentum. It won’t be nearly as hard to continue as it is to start.

    As for your savings goal, maybe decide to set aside $10/week in a savings account (or whatever amount you decide on that is doable for you). If possible, set up an automatic deposit from your paycheck, or an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account. The less you have to do, the easier this will be for you.

    To lose a few pounds, perhaps set a goal to go out for a walk every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Take your kids. It’s good for them. The great thing about exercise is that once you get into the habit, your body will start to crave it, which makes it easier.

    Or you might want to set a goal to drink X amount of water each day. Fill a pitcher, or a few water bottles — whatever is easiest — each day and keep it in your fridge to drink from. This way you won’t have to keep track of how many glasses you’ve had.

    As for getting organized, think about what area of your life that would most like to get better control of. Is it laundry? Paperwork? Time? Pick the one thing that would help you the most.

    Focus on one thing at a time. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed if you’re thinking about everything in your life that you want to improve on. Don’t try to change everything overnight. It does take time to change your habits.

  22. Aisha says

    I would say keep everything simple at first! Get as much rest as you can. 8 hours every night.

    1) Set a timer for 1 hour before you want to go to bed. Get up, drop facebook, blogs, everything and clean your kitchen.

    2) prepare for bed and then get in bed.

    3) write down one and only one thing you want to accomplish the next day. Whether it be mop floor, drink 8 glasses of water, start on budget, 5 minutes of exercise…only one thing and do everything in your power to accomplish that one thing.

    4) rinse and repeat until you feel good about getting that one thing accomplished everyday! Celebrate with a happy dance!

    Start small and stay small for a while (however long it takes) and then push yourself a little more.

    One thing that helps me like I have control of my day (most times) is accomplishing 1 thing and following a daily routine.

    I am praying for God’s grace and strength for you. In your weakness is His strength made perfect. God bless you.

  23. Aisha says

    I would say keep everything simple at first! Get as much rest as you can. 8 hours every night.

    1) Set a timer for 1 hour before you want to go to bed. Get up, drop facebook, blogs, everything and clean your kitchen.

    2) prepare for bed and then get in bed.

    3) write down one and only one thing you want to accomplish the next day. Whether it be mop floor, drink 8 glasses of water, start on budget, 5 minutes of exercise…only one thing and do everything in your power to accomplish that one thing.

    4) rinse and repeat until you feel good about getting that one thing accomplished everyday! Celebrate with a happy dance!

    Start small and stay small for a while (however long it takes) and then push yourself a little more.

    One thing that helps me feel like I have control of my day (most times) is accomplishing 1 thing and following a daily routine. (Try to establish one.)

    I am praying for God’s grace and strength for you. In your weakness is His strength made perfect. God bless you.

  24. Anna says

    Last spring I signed up for Flylady at flylady.net. She has helped me to get my life in so much better order! I too didn’t know where to start, and some days I still don’t know what to do. The daily e-mails she sends out (free, btw) help motivate me and keep me on track in a guilt-free way. For me, if my house is a mess, it’s hard to think straight or gracefully take on the next unexpected crisis. FlyLady has you start by shining your kitchen sink, and gives you bite-sized tasks to help you gain control, and establish routines to help you function better. She also emphasizes self-care and avoiding burn-out.

    I don’t know if it is what you need, but I can’t say enough good things about how FlyLady has helped me!

  25. says

    I can definitely relate to the reader who wrote in today. My plan is to say no to everything that isn’t absolutely necessary and come up with a bare bones list of must do’s. Then, I will slowly add on as I can accommodate.

    Hugs to anyone who is overwhelmed. But, it will get better. It’s only a season.

  26. says

    Something I did NOT see in any of the comments — check up with your doctor !! Be honest — let him/her know the stresses and concerns. Your stressors are on-going and consistent and are not going to go away in the next few months — and that kind of pressure can play havoc with your brain chemicals and your immune system. Your doctor may be able to help you with a short course of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. While there may be many out there that are jumping up and down and saying NO NO NO, the increase in energy and outlook that those meds ( again, a SHORT course ) can bring to you can give you the “nudge” you need to get STARTED on your goals. As your health and natural outlook improve and take over, your doctor can wean you off the meds, and your own momentum can carry you forward.

    Other than that, I can only commend EVERY ONE that has commented — baby steps, identifying the most important goals, finding a support system that has “been there” and can help guide you through your journey, etc and above all — being kind to and taking care of yourself — all of the comments are right on target.

    • sona says

      I agree with this comment totally. As much as I love you MSM and all your wonderful insight and advise, some of us are for the moment, beyond ability to just organize ones thoughts let alone ones life, however slowly we take it. Especially as this writer says they have no family (support?). People in this place needs connection and a dr would be the first place to start. The added sense of loneliness often prevents getting started.

    • Elizabeth Rogers says

      I had to have a course of anti-anxiety meds after the birth of my last child, who’s now two. I also have an 11-year-old on the spectrum and homeschool him and his older brother. I just felt so overwhelmed and unable to cope with everything that everyone needed from me, I didn’t know how to even begin to manage. The meds helped me make it through some terrible post partum depression and the no-sleep period of having a new baby…on top of all the other things I was dealing with. I felt ashamed of needing the medication, but it really did help. A doctor can often see things going on that we can’t see with all of the overwhelmed busy-ness in our lives.