Do you have an ‘Impossible Task’? Coined by M. Molly Backes on Twitter, an ‘Impossible Task’ can be anything – starting an assignment, going grocery shopping, or making a phone call. The task may seem simple enough, but for you it’s overwhelming and all too much. Even if the task weighs on your mind every day and you spend significant time and effort willing yourself to ‘just do it’, for some reason you just can’t.
Why exactly is it so hard? Because doing the Impossible Task is not just about doing the task, it’s also about working through the difficult emotions attached to the task. Fear of failure, guilt, and shame are some common ones that tend to tag along. To tackle the Impossible Task, we first have to soothe these challenging emotions with compassion and understanding. People tackling Impossible Tasks have often tried multiple strategies to get the task done, but having self-compassion may not come so naturally. Here are a couple of suggestions on how to try it out:
- Acknowledge that facing the task is not just about the task, it’s also about the difficult emotions attached. What difficult emotions show up for you? Is self-doubt present? What about feelings of rejection, or feeling like a disappointment? Each of these challenging emotions is like a hurdle you have to jump in order to get to the impossible task. No wonder it is so difficult.
- Listen to your self-talk. “Why can’t I just do it? ‘Normal people’ do it all the time. What is wrong with me?!” Sound familiar? Being hard on yourself is often used as a way to conjure up the motivation needed to do the task. This way of speaking to ourselves can come so naturally, we may not even notice what we are saying. However, beating yourselves up only adds more difficult emotion hurdles to jump on the way to the task, like feeling criticised, shamed, and guilty. The alternative is to show yourself some understanding – just like you would a friend who is struggling.
- Add some understanding to your self-talk. What would you say to a friend who was struggling with the task? Maybe something like “I know you’re really trying to do this task. I hope you know everybody feels disappointed with themselves sometimes, it’s not just you. Human beings are imperfect and we all struggle. To help you feel better about this, I’m wondering if it would help to ask a friend to keep you accountable with starting this task.” Just like how a message of encouragement might lift a friend up to get them over a hurdle, saying this to yourself might do the same for you.
Click this link to read M. Molly Backes’ original post on Impossible Tasks: https://twitter.com/mollybackes/status/1034239973392871426?lang=en
Lauren Chee (M Clin Psych, BSc (Hons – First Class)) is a psychologist who understands the importance of forming a genuine and caring therapeutic relationship with each individual she sees. Lauren is registered with Medicare and is also an approved practitioner in the NSW Workers Compensation System.
Lauren has experience working with both children and adults within schools, private clinics, and inpatient and outpatient hospital settings. Her warm and supportive approach helps her clients feel comfortable exploring their concerns in order to develop practical strategies to reach their goals. Some of the issues she has helped her clients with include depression, anxiety, perfectionism, adjustment to significant life change, self-esteem, grief, learning difficulties, and school and work-related stress.
In her work, Lauren recognises the individuality of each person and their story, and provides uniquely tailored treatments to support her clients. By being committed to the latest psychological research, she is able to equip her clients with evidence-based skills and knowledge that can lead to positive and lasting change. Lauren is a dedicated and approachable psychologist with a passion for helping her clients live a life in line with their personal values.
Lauren has a special interest in:
Anxiety Disorders e.g. Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Health Anxiety
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Skills and Assertiveness
Parenting and Attachment
Child Mental Health and Wellbeing
Learning Difficulties e.g. ADHD, specific learning disorders
Outside of work, Lauren enjoys spending time in nature, discovering new music, and sharing delicious meals with her friends and family.