I love the excitement of starting a new project or setting a fresh goal. Everything seems so easy and possible. You think, As long as I stick to the plan I've laid out, I'll be done in no time.
And then reality sets in.
It's easy to underestimate the amount of time and effort plans and ideas require. Plus we can all get distracted after the "honeymoon period" of an exciting project wears off and it's time to actually do the work.
I'm sure you know plenty of people who are serial project starters (maybe including yourself!). But how many people do you know who always finish what they start? I imagine that number would be much smaller.
The truth is—it's not easy to accept that the task may be much bigger or more difficult than you expected and then actually stick with it.
When I realize I have several half-baked projects dreamed up, I like to take a step back and evaluate each one to figure out the best way to actually finish it.
1. Stop ignoring it.
I'm naturally a procrastinator, so I'm inclined to ignore most issues and pretend they're not there. Especially if it's a large task or something I don't want to do or I'm too scared to start for fear of failure or other internal insecurity. We all have them!
Since I know these are my usual ways of ignoring a problem, I can recognize them and deal with them. Make sure to pay attention to your own personal "tells" so you can stop bad habits before they happen.
If you are in denial, try writing a list of all the things you need to do to complete that project. You might surprise yourself and find that it's easier and requires fewer steps than you think.
2. Push through.
Once I've recognized an issue, it's easy to get frustrated and want to give up. It's why I use the Pomodoro Technique and take a five-minute break for every 25 minutes of work. It stops me from getting bogged down by my workload and getting irritated over big tasks. I sometimes use shorter time blocks to create small wins for myself.
This is also a good time to assess the task at hand. Remember why you started it and what you hoped to achieve. This can help to reignite your passion and give you the motivation to keep going.
Of course, if you realize that this goal may be out of your reach or not the right thing for you, it's OK to let it go. There's no point trying to make a broken system work.
3. Ask for help.
If a project or task is actually much bigger in scope than you initially thought, it's OK to bring in some extra resources. Friends and co-workers can be great when you need a fresh perspective. It's easy enough to shoot them a quick email asking for advice or for some accountability. So if you're cleaning out your closet or bookshelf, call in a friend to help, as long as you reciprocate when they need help.
I also like to reach out to my mastermind group when I'm looking for a quick confidence boost or thinking up new ideas. Having a group like that can really help you achieve your goals. Sometimes it's good to just have someone to talk to.
Starting something new—whether it's learning a new language or setting up your own business—can be a frustrating experience if you don't know what it's supposed to look like. Remember, it's OK to be frustrated as long as you have a plan to work through it.