My husband and I recently bought our first home and moved. No big deal, right? I've moved about 15 times in my life, so why should this time be any tougher? But it was. Just pursuing mortgage approval was scary enough, but actually signing up for a big debt that will last 30 years seemed surreal. And then there was packing up and moving—which I never had done with children before.
Moving suddenly seemed a huge, formidable job. I mean, with my part-time job, I was already having trouble staying on top of housework and laundry. I wondered how on earth I was going to pack up and super-clean our large apartment when my schedule was already chock-full.
But then I shifted into my "Big Goal-Little Goals" gear. The big goal was getting us moved (with quasi-efficiency). The little goals were ambitions for a single morning or afternoon or evening: "This morning I'll pack two boxes," "Before I go to bed, I'll finish folding the laundry."
And of course, we moved. With quasi-efficiency. Everything did get done—eventually. I'm a lot wiser now. I can throw around terms like "title" and "escrow" like a pseudo-pro. I'm actually acquainted with a Realtor, a mortgage broker, home inspectors and a lawyer. And I now know the guilt that comes from having a three-year-old innocently ask, "Mom, where's the green dog I got at the library? I can't find it anywhere!" (What could I say—"Gee, kid, I threw it in a bag and the veterans carted it out of here"?)
Best of all, I also have had a good reminder of the effectiveness of getting a big job done by undertaking it one baby step at a time.1