We all put off doing unpleasant chores, difficult tasks, or intimidating projects. The problem is when we put things off, we still have to do them sooner or later and often procrastinating only makes things worse. It's helpful to start by taking baby steps towards doing anything that we feel stressful or fearful about.

Your first step might be to just make a list of the things you want to accomplish. Perhaps a list of house cleaning chores, paperwork, or things you've always wanted to do, but felt apprehensive about, like taking scuba diving lessons, or reconnecting with estranged family.

Another way of getting started is to give yourself a time limit. Again, start small and commit to 20 minutes of housework, for instance, or one hour of studying. You'll probably find that once you start the task, it's not really that bad and you'll be able to give even more time to it. Then reward yourself with an afternoon at the beach or a
​coffee Try to spend some time everyday working on the tasks you want to complete. Finishing them will probably be reward enough, but you can always treat yourself to something special for a job well done.

You may have to take a different approach to things you feel apprehensive about, but again baby steps can get you there. For instance, if you really want to learn to salsa, but are afraid you might look foolish, start by renting a video so that you can practice at home. Your next step might be to try a class at a recreation center or community college rather than hitting a club. When you become familiar with the music and some basic steps, you'll probably find that you enjoy dancing so much that you don't care what you look like. It's also good to remind yourself, that everyone started at the beginning, even if they've been dancing for years.

In approaching people you feel intimidated by, you could start by writing a letter, even if you don't send it. Write down all the things you want to say and rewrite the letter until you feel good about it. After that, you may want to send the letter or you may feel ready to call or talk to the person face to face.

Taking one step at a time can take you a long way towards your goals. If you trip, or fall, just get back up and put one foot in front of the other. You'll probably be there before you know it!

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