Need to Make a BIG Change? Just Do One Small Thing First

Anytime I’m looking at making a change in an area, such as healthy habits or decluttering or self-sufficiency, I often find myself spiraling down into an anxiety attack as I try to do too much at once.

I know how bad white flour and white sugar and preservatives and food colorings and high fructose corn syrup and a dozen other common additives are in regular food. I want to avoid them all to improve our health, but can I do them all at the same time?

I have too much stuff, even though we’ve gone through three large purges over the last three years. I could live with less. Some tools and utensils and appliances can do double or triple duty. But do I need to back a dump truck up to the house and throw everything away indiscriminately?

We have a long list of projects to make us more self-sufficient. Rain water catchment. Fruit trees. Milk cow or goat. Fencing for crop and cattle rotation. All they take are time and money. Neither, of which, is abundant.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

Will we die if we don’t do them all right away? No. And fact is, no one can do them all at the same time. It’s like juggling. You can’t keep all the balls in the air at the same time forever.

First, pick your ultimate goal. You have to know where you’re aiming. Then, start with one small change. Something that is easy to plan for and achieve. Work that into your schedule. Practice it. Within a few months, it will finally become routine. Then, pick one or two more, and do the same thing.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. If you want to improve your health, which might include lowering your blood pressure, losing weight, or having more energy, think of the many things you could do to reach the end goal.

  • Lowering your blood pressure might mean eating less sodium, so start using a salt substitute, such as Mrs. Dash, or replace caffeinated drinks with water.

If you want to lose weight, think of ways to add a little exercise to your day, like taking a flight of stairs instead of the elevator, or substitute a vegetable snack for a sugary snack.

  • Poor energy could be the result of interrupted sleep cycles and stress. Go to be early or find ways to reduce or work off your stress.

2. I like a suggestion I read on a minimalist website recently. Pick one thing a day to get rid of. Put it in a bag, and at the end of a month you will have purged 30 (or 31) things. Take the bag to Goodwill or Salvation Army or whatever charity in your area takes donations. Continue this until you have reduced your clutter to something you can manage. Of course, garage sales work well, too, and you make a little cash to boot. But if that level of decluttering makes you hyperventilate, then start small with one thing at a time.

3. Everywhere you turn, there seems to be some advice about how to survive the apocalypse. I am not usually a glass half-empty person. Even while things are bad, I always assume they will eventually improve. But I’m not going to ignore the practicality of needing to be more self-sufficient. Anything can happen. Job loss. Illness. Natural disaster. Even a simple power or water interruption for a few days is more than inconvenient in our normal world. There are an endless number of sufficiency plans to make, from storing water and food to keeping a fresh stock of batteries. For us, we are planting a large garden and raising some animals. We have lots more plans, and we keep a list of our projects. A long list. We target a few things at a time as we have the funds and the ability to do them.

Everybody’s situation is different. Look at your issue carefully, and decide what you can do now. Even big boulders can be chipped away a little at a time.

Tell me your one thing. If you need  a cheerleader, I’ll wave a pom-pom for you.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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