Most of us are great starters. We are excited and enthusiastic about our new venture, whether it is a new job, a new exercise regimen, or a new toy. You know the feeling. When you are starting a new project, you are filled with interest and anticipation. You wonder how the project or event will progress. You think about how hard you will have to work on it. But then suddenly, one day, the project, or the new “thing” just does not seem as important as you once thought.
When this happens, your cherished goal loses its glow, it’s no longer “shiny.” Plus, you now have some other things on your plate that you need to work on as well. Gradually, the new project you were all hot and bothered about gets put on the proverbial back burner. And, before you know it, months have gone by and you never seem to have the extra time or energy to go back and get it finished.
If this is a recurring theme in your life, then you need to fix it. Aren’t you tired of this recurring cycle of excitation followed by disappointment and stress. Imagine the sense of pride and accomplishment that you would have if you could begin to finish your projects, one after the other. But how do you turn things around to where you can consistently complete your projects?
This is a new year, and the project we are focusing on is you.
Get A Plan!
1. Prioritize your projects. Before you jump in and begin something, ask yourself whether it is really important to you. One key to finishing what you start is to not begin something that has very little relevance in your life.
For example, buying that expensive Italian language package to learn to speak Italian might sound challenging and fun at first, but it does not make a great deal of sense unless you have a trip planned to Italy or some other Italian-speaking country within the next year? Perhaps you have decided to head to Mexico in the interim. How much good will speaking Italian do you there?
What is important to do now?
2. Assess your timing. Ask yourself, “Is this the right time to start something new?” If there are any other big things going on in your life, they will pull time away from the new projects you are hoping to start.
For example, if it is November and you want to start a massive project of cleaning out the closets in your home, recognize that the holidays are beginning in a month. Is this really the right time? Can you get the all of the closets done in a month? If you decide that you cannot, no worries. You can always make a note on your calendar to begin your closet cleaning project on January 1st. And you can also map out one closet at a time. Perhaps clear the guest closet first if you are expecting guests.
3. Commit to completion. After determining that a project is important enough to you to begin, and that it is the proper time, commit to it. When you make this type of commitment, write out exactly what you plan to do.
You know what comes next. Write down every single step. Plan to finish all of the steps within a specific time frame that is acceptable to you, and of course, do-able. Plan your project and then go forward with each step according to your plan.
4. Check and Know your energy level. If you are working doubles and taking care of your family, everything else you try to add in is extra. Are your energy reserves built up enough to take on another project and see it through to the end? You are the best judge for this.
5. See the end. If you finish the project, how will this affect your life? Will your everyday life be any better? Will it be mostly unchanged? Will you feel a sense of pride and completion? Spend some time reflecting on what it will feel like to finish the project. This goes back to knowing our “why.” If you don’t know why you are doing something, then you will fail your commitment at the first sign of trouble.
6. Be realistic. Be completely and brutally honest with yourself about all of the above considerations. The more realistic you are when making the decision to start something new, the more likely you are to complete the task.
Finishing what you start can be a real challenge, but being detailed in your planning will help. Be realistic about the scope of the project before beginning any new endeavor.
If you think proactively, you’ll be much more likely to finish projects once you decide to start them. And then, every project you begin will enhance your life rather than detract from it!
In school which, in my case, seems some kind of never-ending story, there are frequently papers and projects to get done. I also work full-time and try to spend some quality time with my girls, none of whom live near. For me, success in my educational endeavors means that I have to map out the whole class or semester into a study grid. Figure out how many pages I have to read each day, when the first and second drafts are due, when the final paper is due. What is the date of the quiz? What days of the week can I interact with the forum of other students? The whole class needs to be mapped out to be a success and all the components finished in time.
I, like you, am the most awesome beginner. But, frankly, I get bored easily. A written schedule helps keep me in check. And when I fall off, I re-do the schedule immediately.
Today I will complete my tasks more easily, knowing that I am fully capable of great things
1. How does having a plan help me?
2. How has stress kept me from achieving my goals?
3. What is the very next action step in my plan?