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I like having a clean kitchen. Because of this, when I’m done eating a meal, I like to rinse my dishes right away and put them in the dishwasher. If I have a pan that has some food on it from cooking, I put it in the sink and soak it in water right away. Most of the time this process works well, and it isn’t too difficult to clean the dishes.

Sometimes, however, I’m not as disciplined at taking care of my dishes right away. The other day, I left a pot sitting out overnight. When I went to clean up the kitchen the next morning, the food was crusted on the pot so hard, I thought I would never be able to clean it. Because I didn’t take care of my dishes right away, it took a lot of time, effort, and work to clean the pot.

I think this is an important principle that shows up a lot in our daily lives. If we have a problem that pops up, it is usually a good idea to address the problem right away. When we first notice the problem, it is usually smaller, and if we take care of it right away, the process is generally less painful and more likely to be successful.

If we let the problem go awhile without addressing it, however, things start to get more difficult. The process of fixing the problem becomes more intense and painful. It takes longer to fix. And sometimes, the final outcome doesn’t end up being as successful.

I see this in counseling. A married couple might come in for counseling, for example, with longstanding problems that have been going on for years. The marital issues are so entrenched that it is very difficult to resolve them. If the couple had come in to work on their marriage when the problems first started, it would have been a lot easier and less painful to fix.

In your own life, try to get in the habit of taking care of things right away. Do you have a toothache? Call the dentist today and make an appointment. Are you struggling with your job responsibilities? Schedule a meeting with your boss today to make a plan to get back on track. Are you having problems with your spouse or kids? Call a counselor today and schedule an appointment. Don’t let your problems go unaddressed for too long. Take care of things right away.

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