Photo credit: Anton Glavas www.antonglavas.com
This week's blog post is written by the lovely Claire O’Connor, who is an accountability and life coach. She runs an email accountability program of which I am a part, and she is very good at motivating and keeping people on task! Enjoy ツ
When we start a new project, it’s usually accompanied by feelings of excitement and motivation. But after a while, the doubts kick in. Energy levels drop, and we can start to wonder what the point is. This is the point at which most people give up. They decide it’s too hard, or it’s not for them.
But this is a natural part of every project. I guarantee that everyone you see at the top of their game has been through this.
So, how can we keep going when we feel like giving up? How can we keep moving forward, when we feel like throwing in the towel?
In no particular order, here are five tips to keep you going and prevent burnout with your goal or project…
1. Get support
Whatever you’re doing, it’s easier (and more fun) with people around to support you.
Don’t worry if you can’t find local groups as there are lots of groups online. Forums, blog posts, LinkedIn groups… there are tons of resources available. Tell your friends about your goal and ask them to check in or provide encouragement when things get tough. Join a Facebook group, work with a coach, or join an accountability program.
Don’t go it alone.
It’s a surefire way to burn out.
2. Break it into small pieces
For any big project you’re tackling, or anything that feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into small pieces. The smallest pieces you can imagine.
It doesn’t matter how ridiculous they are. Even if it’s just opening up a webpage or Word document to get you started!
It will get you moving and out of the paralysis zone.
Do one tiny thing, then one more tiny thing.
Before you know it, you’ll be half-way through without realizing.
As Lao Tzu said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".
Don’t focus on the miles ahead of you. Just take a small step, and then another.
3. Half done is not done at all
This idea is taken from the book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, and is very simple:
Half-finished projects don’t add value.
Anything half done isn’t finished, and is therefore a waste of time.
That half-finished job application?
Pointless - unless you finish it and apply for the job.
The blog you started but never published?
No one will benefit from it until you actually publish those articles!
That business networking group you signed up for?
A waste of time… unless you actually go.
It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Get things finished.
Because half-done isn’t done at all.
And you know what? It feels good to finish things!
If you need help with this step, remember to…
4. Get rid of perfectionism
Two of the most important words you’ll ever hear when it comes to completing a project are:
This doesn’t mean doing a rushed or half-hearted job on everything.
It means being okay with less than perfect.
Get that email written, check it through a couple of times, and then send it. It doesn’t have to be perfect—in fact, if you wait for it to be perfect, you’ll likely never get it done.
Challenge yourself to do imperfect actions. Go to that workout class, even if you don’t do everything perfectly. Ask a question you’re desperate to ask at a conference, even if you stumble over your words. Go to a meet-up group, even if you don’t know anyone.
Imperfect action is the best way to move forward.
Try it and see!
5. Remove the choice
When we give ourselves a choice, it’s easy to get out of. (I could work on my resume - but I could also buy groceries or start that new TV series I’ve been dying to watch!)
When we remove the choice, the decision is made for us, so our brains have less work to do. This frees up more space for the important decisions, such as, Should I take that new job or move to that new city?
If you want to cut back on sugar, get rid of the sweet things in your house and have a supply of healthy snacks ready to go.
If you want to work out one day a week, sign up and pay for a class, and tell your friends you’re going. There’s no opting out – you’re going!
Don’t create choice for yourself – make it hard to get out of.
Promise someone you’ll send them your resume by the end of the week. Email the organizer of that meet-up group and tell them you’ll be at the meeting. Book a meeting room for two hours so you create some free space to work.
Whatever you’re trying to achieve, make it as easy as possible to do (or as hard as possible to get out of).
And at the end of the day, remember that going after a goal can be challenging, but it’s an amazing thing.
Too many people look back on their lives and wish they’d started earlier, or pursued the things they truly wanted. Don’t be one of them.
You got this ;)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.