One More Mailbox

A few summers ago I did some running in my neighborhood. I’d start at my house, run until I hit what I felt was a good halfway point, then turn around and run home. I’d always like to push myself, especially with this big hill I’d run partially up so as I’d start to get to tired, I’d tell myself “just one more mailbox.”

Sometimes that next mailbox was twenty feet away, other times it was fifty. While running an extra mile or two seemed like something out of my reach, certainly I could go another twenty feet. And then when I hit that next mailbox, the next one was only a little farther away so I could repeat that process until my legs started to wobble.

Sometimes in life we’re faced with daunting tasks. It could be something small like cleaning up our houses or doing our taxes or it could be a larger goal like starting a business. You might see it as this big task that seems impossible or undoable. But it’s similar to running a mile (or a marathon if you’re in really good shape). It seems tough but if you break it down into smaller, doable pieces, it’s not so bad. Often, just getting started is the toughest part. With running, all you need to do is walk out your front door and start. With other big tasks, the starting point isn’t so obvious but you can usually figure it out by asking yourself what the logical first step is. And sometimes, that first step is to seek advice.

But once you take that first step, you create momentum. Once you get started running down a street, you start passing mailboxes with ease at first. The same holds true with starting a project. Eventually, you start getting tired and it’s time to stop running. The same thing happens with projects; eventually you get tired or frustrated and need to stop. But just like with running, you have that option to push yourself just a little bit harder and complete one more task or one more step.

Big projects and tasks are easier to accomplish when you break them into smaller steps. The smaller the steps, the easier it is to not put them off. If you find yourself constantly struggling with big projects, then keep breaking the steps and tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Then all you need to do is push yourself to get to that next mailbox.

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