Those little things you’re avoiding…are they worth dying for?

Photo by US Forestry Service

I have a list of things I’ve been putting off for awhile. Stressful, unpleasant things. Things like calling the IRS with a question about our taxes. If you’ve never had to actually call the IRS, it’s horrible.

And none of these things are things that really needed to be done by a certain date, so they’ve just kind of hung around. And hung around. And the stress of having them hanging over my head wears on me, but I don’t really think about it consciously most of the time.

I think stress is often one of those things that creeps up on us over time and we somehow adjust to it. It’s like we’re on a hike and someone is gradually slipping pebbles into our backpack. A single pebble doesn’t make much difference, but when you have twenty or thirty extra pounds that you’re lugging around, you start to get worn out faster and faster, without really knowing why.

Yesterday it all came into sharp relief for me. I saw a blog post about another startup founder who let a dental situation get further and further out of hand, until he finally couldn’t bear the pain any more and went in for emergency surgery. They said if he had waited, he likely wouldn’t have survived the weekend.

Yes, you read that right. He almost died because of a tooth infection.

This got my attention because I have a tooth that needs extraction as well. And while it isn’t causing me any pain, it’s not a good situation and I have no good reason for not taking care of it. So after reading that post, I made a promise to myself that today I’d call and make an appointment.

And immediately after deciding that, I felt a little lighter. Just by acknowledging this thing that I was avoiding and putting a stake in the ground to deal with it relieved a little bit of stress I didn’t really know I had.

So I started thinking about what else I needed to take care of that I’ve been avoiding. I came up with a whole list. And I declared that I will not enter the 2nd month of 2012 without tackling these items.

January has been an awesome month for me, figuring out where I want to go this year, adjusting my goals and habits, and moving forward. And it’s working; I’m seeing forward progress.

But my pack is feeling a little heavy these days. Time to lighten the load and make sure I’m ready to tackle the next 11 months.

What single super stressful thing are you avoiding dealing with? Why not just suck it up and deal with it now? It’ll feel lousy and stressful today, but tomorrow will be so much sweeter.