I came to a bit of a realisation this morning that many of the fears I have are irrational. In my mind, I make these fears so big and overwhelming that I cannot move forward with tasks because my whole focus is on this fear and not being able to get beyond it.
It can be something as simple as filling in a government form online. I will put it off for weeks until I’m forced (by the threat of a fine) to do it. Then I stress massively as I start the process of looking at the steps involved as a whole complete package, rather than as a series of mini-processes. I become quite paralysed into non-action and non-thinking ability. Normally, I would think about where this fear developed, rather than actioning anything. (This is a suitable ploy to avoid commencing the actual task at all.)
Recently, to overcome this fearful procrastination, I decided to look objectively at the actual steps involved, bit-by-bit.
I first make sure to set aside sufficient time without distraction to do this. That’s the first step. I tell myself I did well to do even this. Then I look at the next step. Often I would get overwhelmed and start to panic. I tell myself to stay calm; I breathe in deep; I get up and walk around and come back to working on the task in front of me. I keep telling myself I’m doing well. The objective is not to finish the overall task; the objective is to take the steps one at a time, despite feeling anxious. Instead of seeing the finished task as the whole objective, I’m viewing each step in the process as a whole objective within itself, in that moment. I chunk it down. I rejoice and praise myself when I complete each phase or step.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
Eventually, I get through it. When I’ve done it once, I know I can do it again. It may not mean I want to do it again or that it will be easy and flowing as a process, however, the simplicity of doing it bit by bit works for me. Putting it into manageable pieces and allocating a certain amount of time to it works too.
If I have a number of tasks to complete, I divide my time up evenly between them then split the overall task into manageable bits. And most importantly, I reward myself with praise or “high-five” an imaginary friend or do a little dance. It needs to be a verbal celebration and physical too, if appropriate. This affirms to my mind and body that rewards happen when I do something worthwhile.
I’ll consider where this crazy fear came from another day, as that’s a whole other process. Though, I’m suspecting it has something to do with my childhood.