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I’ve been so busy recently that my house cleaning regime had fallen by the wayside.

Sometimes, something has to give.

As things got messier, they also got more overwhelming to face.

I decided that, no matter what, my bathroom floor was getting mopped.

Of course, I knew this wasn’t enough.

Once I’d achieved this, I’d still have a messy home. Just one with a mopped bathroom floor.

Little change there.

Yet little change is often all we need to get going.

When things are overwhelming, we don’t do them at all.

Tiny change is not so overwhelming. So we tend to make those tiny changes.

Like the person who stayed in bed every day. Getting out of bed felt overwhelming.

So deciding to get out of bed would set them up for failure.

Instead, their tiny change was to put one leg out of the bed. Not both of them. Just the one.

This might sound strange. What can we do with just one leg out of the bed?

Yet that’s exactly the point.

That’s the very question they found themself asking as they lay there with one leg dangling out of the bed.

So it kind of made sense to then put the other leg out too.

And so they were out of bed.

It wasn’t their plan, but it’s where they ended up.

When asked the right questions, we can usually join the dots to notice what results in us feeling better.

But doing those things feels tough.

People say: “If only I could get started.”

Like my messy house, I knew what needed doing. But it overwhelmed me too.

So I focused on one small change. Mopping that floor.

I mopped the floor (hooray!) and felt pleased with myself. The floor looked good again.

Yet like the person with one leg out of bed, it didn’t make sense to have a shiny floor and a grimy everything else.

So I found myself cleaning the sink. The taps. The toilet bowl. And on it went.

I got the vacuum cleaner out and made a tour of the house with it.

By the time I was finished, I had done loads.

If doing all that had been my goal, I know I wouldn’t have done any of it.

It would have felt too much. The weight of it would have been paralysing. I’d have done nothing. Then beat myself up about it.

So I started small. And then let whatever happened happen.

It turns out a lot did.

Alun Parry is Director of The Liverpool Psychotherapy Practice

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