Do you ever start projects and don’t finish them? There was such excitement in the beginning. The ideas were flowing and you felt that once you had all the pieces you needed, this would be your best project yet. But then something happens. Anything, really. And whatever it is, now feels like a barrier to being able to follow through on your plans. And so we have another unfinished project.
Let’s discuss Ways to Follow Through without Overwhelming Yourself
1. DO A SELF-INVENTORY. Before even starting the project, do an inventory of the strengths you already have that can be used in your plan. Then think about what skills you need and what it’s going to take to develop it.
2. PACE YOURSELF. Don’t go full throttle just yet. Imagine the man running a 5K and he sprints the first mile, powering ahead and taking an impressive lead. Before he has a chance to be too proud of himself, he realizes he still has 2.1 miles to go and he’s already winded. You know what happens next – he’s no longer in the lead as one by one the runners who paced themselves started pulling in front of him. Not only did he come nowhere close to winning, he had exhausted himself so much in the beginning stages that he didn’t even finish the race. Disqualified by his own exhaustion. Moral of the story: don’t be that guy.
3. RESPECT THE VISION BOARD. Not your thing? Make it your thing. Go old school with it and clip what appeals to you out of magazines, brochures, and any other material that can help you create a collage of your best life. Get your scissors, glue, and markers ready 3rd Grade Art Class style. (Glitter optional).
4. TALK LESS, DO MORE. I talk to my clients about an interesting habit some people have to talk, brainstorm, philosophize, theorize, and conceptualists. Basically do everything accept for take real action. It makes them feel like they’re working on things when in reality they’ve just been thinking about working on things. The Visioning stage should be just that, a stage. Not a place where you get stuck in your mind for years instead of moving into action phase.
5. BREAK THE ELEPHANT. Someone (I don’t remember who but they must have been wise) once asked me: What’s the best way to eat an elephant? To which I gave my thoughtful answer of: I don’t know, how. Unknown Wise Person replied: One bite at a time. I liked it. I liked it so much I started sharing that with my clients. Like it so much I’m writing about it. Break the big tasks into bite-size pieces. As great of a multi-tasker I’m sure you are, take a mindful approach and focus on one thing at a time. And speaking of breaks – have some.
6. TAKE BREAKS. Not the eternal breaks where you step away from your project for awhile only to never return to it again. But legitimate breaks where you stop for a moment even before you get tired. You can take a pro-active approach to self-care. Go ahead and decide when and how long you’ll put things down to let yourself regroup and refresh, then back to it.
I think the main key to completing projects is to keep working on them until they’re done. That’s right, there’s no mind-blowing formula to it, and you probably don’t need a weekend retreat to have that revelation. What you do need is stick-with-it-ness, self-motivation, and portion control as you work through your elephants.