I am highly detail orientated; mostly due to the fact that looking the big picture for too long tends to trigger my anxiety and shuts down productivity, making things that are achievable seem insurmountable.

So I chip away at the goals, making them smaller. More manageable. My brain recognizes them as tasks that are easy to accomplish, that are easy to repeat, and rewards itself for accomplishing them, therefore escaping (at least temporarily) self doubt.

Exhibit A: I want to/have to lose at least forty pounds. I rarely think about this, because it seems completely impossible, and I curl up in despair wailing about what a fat useless lump I am.

But ten pounds? I can lose ten pounds four times. I can stumble over losing them, and it can be hard, and frustrating, but ten pounds isn’t so much. That’s something you try to do in time for a wedding! I can do that!

(Slowly. I can do it slowly.)

It works on skills too.

Duolingo works that way, a language learned through as many minutes a day you can squeeze in, and rewards you for consistency.

I’m practicing sketching, and for someone who was never naturally gifted at the visual arts, it’s a little like a penguin learning to tango. But twenty minutes a day, at least a few times a week, and I’m starting to improve, chipping away at my lack of skill to reveal new abilities. I will also occasionally proclaim ‘THE THING LOOKS LIKE THE THING’, and beam with pride.

Chipping also allows for me to have some sort of standards for myself, while keeping my standards reasonable.

I am the queen of unreasonable standards for myself.

Any failure, however insignificant, leads to a crash and self doubt.

I get a pseudo-sexual thrill from a completed to-do list.

So by using chipping, I can achieve small goals and keep up self esteem, while working towards bigger goals and don’t blame myself for not knowing six languages, developing a cancer cure, writing a well written and best selling novel, and looking like a bikini model. In six months.

If you also don’t give yourself enough credit, or suffer from depression, I recommend chipping.

I had to chip away at this post!



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