Your Remedy Might Be Breaking It Down

Your Remedy Might Be Breaking It Down

When so many people are either diligently attacking their resolutions as I type (or others are already bemoaning the fact that theirs have already been put to bed for the year before day 6), I offer this bit of advice from a self-admitted closure freak.  It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of a project, whether that project is decluttering a room or house, modifying a long-time behavior or taking on a new hobby or habit.  When you look ahead at all you have left to figure out, the key is…break it down.


Yes, like the great Tears for Fears tune,  “Break It Down Again.” (I miss that band on the radio, don’t you? Sigh.)


ShakyStepbyShakyStepClimbing-TrineMeyerVogslandIncremental milestones and progress markers are a hope saver!  Let me give you the perfect example where I have experienced this — writing a book. When you have never embarked on such a lengthy project and are used to completing writing assignments that may require hours, days or weeks only to complete, the idea of working on the ultimate writing assignment for months or even years with no clear end in sight can be a real challenge, particularly for we closure freaks (raises hand high and grins). But by building in my own progress markers — in my case, the end of a scene within a chapter and then, of course the end of a chapter, and perhaps again following a group of chapters — I gave myself an opportunity to exhale, see the progress made and experience the pride, satisfaction and excitement to persevere. If we never get to celebrate even a little bit along the way, for many of us, it is difficult to maintain the enthusiasm to continue. Stepping into such a grand undertaking leaves many of us in a state of taking a big inhale and holding our breath. For a while. But there’s an important thing we must remember: to BREATHE.


See, when you set out to tackle any project and you take that big leap, you breathe in, but you must allow yourself to stumble…to hesitate…to fall…to fail. It is only then that we get a chance to exhale and figure out what we learned from what just occurred.


Break the challenge down, whatever you have committed yourself to conquer. Lay out the process into bite-sized steps and climb that ladder one by one, giving yourself a chance to catch your breath and stop to admire the view along the way. Then, proceed…












Don’t let the size of the challenge overpower you. Break it down so you tower over it. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun doing it. Remind yourself daily why you embarked on this adventure in the first place. Recruit a cheering section if you need it and people to look in on you from time to time to help keep you motivated. I found an accountability person especially helpful with my first book — someone who I could check in with periodically to share what I had completed so far or who checked in with me when they didn’t hear from me in a while, someone who isn’t looking for excuses but signs of forward motion. With some challenges, we don’t always see results right away but effort and progress is on display in a step or two of forward motion.


What goal are you working toward right now and what measures are in place to help support you getting there, however long it may take you? I invite you to chime in with your own thoughts or experiences. I also welcome any other fellow writers who may wish to add their own suggestions for keeping your eyes on the prize when working on your book.


Good luck. And as always, thanks for reading. x — Chris K.





ART: Shaky Step by Shaky Step Climbing by Trine Meyer Vogsland



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