"Where to start?"
This is a question that can sometimes feel quite overwhelming to me whenever I have to complete a big task. Being on year #2 of a pandemic, when so much already feels out of my control, this question becomes daunting. I notice my anxiety rise and the self-doubt begin to creep in. My brain begins to urge me to think of next steps while simultaneously paralyzing me with the fear of not being good enough. The fear then causes me to over- estimate the difficulty of the task at hand, while also under-estimating its importance and my own abilities to complete it. At this point, I find myself in this seemingly never-ending internal downward spiral.
Basically, what ends up happening is:
Task that needs to be completed >> Self-doubt >> Avoidance >> Anxiety >> Avoidance >> More anxiety, etc.
Can anyone else relate? Here’s a thought:
What if you just started somewhere? I've learned that simply STARTING whatever it is that I need to do is often enough to ease my anxiety. The nice thing about starting a task is that you can choose exactly where you’d like to start. However, it may be worthwhile to start with what feels easiest about this task.
Here are some additional tips for how to get started:
Break the task down into smaller parts. Baby-steps if necessary.
Write it down. Create a game plan for yourself with a list of these smaller steps.
Review the list. As you do this ask yourself if these steps seem achievable and realistic. If the answer is no, go back to your steps and break them down into smaller steps, if needed. The point is to modify it so that these feel achievable to you.
Do the thing. Approach your game plan from a position of curiosity. Treat it as a science experiment, if you will. Tackle one step at a time and evaluate how it’s going.
BONUS: Give yourself credit. Hey, facing feelings of high anxiety and/or self-doubt can be quite uncomfortable, so remember to take a moment to pat yourself on the back and move on.
Give this a try and see what happens!
Remember to be kind to yourself. This is a life-skill that we’re talking about, after all, so it will be a work in progress. You've got this.
Needing more support to work through feelings of anxiety or self-doubt? You’re not alone and we’re here to help. Contact us to book a free consultation with a Registered Psychotherapist online through our website www.infinitehorizonspsychotherapy.com. For more content, tips, updates, and resources give us a follow on our Instagram page @infinitehorizonspsychotherapy.