How to Start the Project You’ve Been Putting Off
Maybe you’re scared of failing, or maybe you think you “don’t have what it takes” (whatever the heck that means). Maybe you just don’t know where to start.
Wrapping your head around a brand-new project can be a daunting task. Personally, I think a lot of people fall into the latter category. When something feels so huge, you often have trouble imagining where to begin. Inertia is hard to overcome. It’s easier to just stay where you are, and, let me tell you, no one is going to give you a push to get you started. If you want to change your life, you have to do it yourself.
So how do you do that?
When you tackle a new project, keep these 3 main objectives in mind:
- Break it into smaller steps.
- Turn it into a daily habit.
- Reflect on your progress often.
This is how you will form your process. Having a concrete plan in place will help you take your aspirations out of the abstract and into the real world.
Don’t get me wrong, positive thinking and visualizing your goals is a great thing, but too many people get caught up in vision boards and positive affirmations and never make a real effort to materialize those dreams.
Tangible, concentrated effort is the only way to get what you want.
Break it into Smaller Steps
If you’ve noticed, even this process is broken into steps. It’s easier to digest information and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed.
So, say that your goal is to get fit (a very common goal that you’ll be hearing more and more as New Year’s approaches). Great! But how? Just thinking, “I’m going to get fit,” isn’t helpful because there are so many ways to approach it. Are you going to go to the gym? Which one? Cardio or strength building? High number of reps, low weight or low number of reps, with a higher weight? What routine are you using? What about diet? Old-fashioned calorie counting or will you try some sort of program like Whole 30 or maybe keto?
As you can see, within this one goal, there are many different things to consider, and without a plan of attack, you can quickly lose focus. This is true of any new endeavor—starting a business, working on a new marketing strategy, achieving a personal goal. I find that researching the process of other people I admire is the best way to come up with my own plan of attack. Remember, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Turn it into a Daily Habit
So, you’ve laid out your steps to success, now what? Well, now you are going to convert those steps into a daily schedule.
Let’s look at another example: content marketing. If your goal is to begin content marketing for your business, you need to commit to a regular content creation, distribution, and promotion routine. It’s not enough to just say, “I’m going to start posting to Instagram and writing articles to promote my business.”
That’s a great idea, but without a daily schedule, it’s easy to fall back into your old habits.
After you decide on a general approach, your next step is to schedule activities into your day that will keep you on track. You will decide how many days of the week you’ll be working toward that goal, what you’ll focus on each of those days, and how long you’ll commit to that activity.
Keeping with the content marketing example, if that’s something you want to pursue, you need to decide how much time you’ll devote to content creation, engagement, research and so on. You need to connect these small habits to your larger goal.
That’s how you start to chip away at a seemingly daunting task.
Reflect on Your Progress Often
Set small milestones along your journey. Depending on your goal, this could be something like setting a personal record at the gym, gaining a certain number of new clients, or increasing the number of content views on your website by a certain percentage.
Then, once you’ve achieved that goal, make a tangible note of it. Even the small act of checking a small goal off of a list will give you a huge sense of personal satisfaction.
Make sure you’re also recording your emotions along the way. Keep a journal, write notes in your phone, talk to and get feedback from your friends or role models, anything to keep you motivated and mindful.
If something isn’t working, change up your routine. Maybe you’re having a hard time sticking to a strict content schedule. Okay, so how can we fix that? Maybe you’ll want to find ways to lighten your workload with more user-generated content. Maybe you’ll decide to bring in some outside help. Either way, you are still sticking to your ultimate goal, but you’re evaluating the best way to get there based on your experiences.
Remember, there are always different ways to approach the different steps in your plan. You don’t need to force something that isn’t working. After all, slower progress is better than no progress.
Everyone has a dream, and with the New Year just around the corner, many people will be talking about their goals for 2020. However, few will ever take the steps needed to pursue it. If you take this approach, regardless of setbacks or slow progress, you will already be doing more than most people.
Although there are more steps along the way, it really does all boil down to, “Just do it!”