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The Hardest Part is Starting-Shannon Carothers

Once there was a girl, overwhelmed with spit-up-stained laundry, dishes for days, and years of bad decisions. She rocked her newborn baby boy and watched her toddler play around the mess that didn’t get cleaned the day before, partially due to exhaustion, and partially because she just didn’t want to. She concealed her depression and anxiety behind a smile and well-framed snapshots for social media, hiding the mess surrounding her beaming babies. The girl knew she wanted her life to change but had no idea where to begin

If only I could tell that girl that I had an answer for her. I could help fix her future with a simple task…

Empty the coffee maker when she poured her last cup and prep it at bedtime for the next day.

That’s it.

I see you rolling your eyes, but hear me out. That girl? Perhaps you saw her as yourself or someone you know, but it was my story a few years ago too. My decision to change involved an ugly-cry meltdown in the middle of the kitchen floor, but that’s a tale for another day. One of the most frustrating things for me was the fact that every morning when I got up and started to make coffee, yesterday’s soggy grounds sat waiting for me, which amounted to frustration and sometimes defeat. When anxiety or depression are lurking, even the smallest losses can turn into big ones. So that tiny habit was where I decided to start my change. Because it was something I could do, even at my lowest.

No matter how I felt, if I did nothing else that day, I took care of my coffee maker. Simple. So how did it change my life?

It’s clearly not about the coffee. It’s an easy win, and momentum is a powerful tool. Motivation is nice, but many days it simply doesn’t exist. Have you ever dreaded a task, put it off, and when you finally got around to it, wondered why you didn’t begin sooner? No motivation, huh? The hardest thing to do is start.

By committing to a small daily task, even on days when it feels like I can’t, that tiny accomplishment can pull me through to the next one. And sometimes it doesn’t, but it allows me to gain confidence in myself because I did the thing I said I would do. And that? It still counts as a win.

Since I started this slight change four years ago, my life has shifted dramatically. I’ve read over 40 books, learned how to renovate our home from top to bottom, encouraged mama friends, and taught my babies many positive lessons, one of which is… “The hardest thing to do is start.” Compound interest is powerful, and when you apply it to your habits, even the tiniest change can grow into something great.

Sometimes I catch myself falling into old ways. But on the worst days? I still take care of my coffee maker.

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