Have you ever started a project or had a new idea in which you were very excited about at the onset? The excitement of venturing on this new path probably kept you active by day and awake all night. When you manged to drift into sleep, you probably dreamt that you saw your future-self reveling in the reality and success of you finished project or the outcome of this BRILLIANT idea of yours. You are convinced at this stage that this project or idea will mark a new phase in your life.
But weeks or months into this project, you begin to lose interest as the initial buzz starts to diminish. Then the excuses start. The guilt of stopping midway sets in. The final blow to the once ‘brilliant’ project or idea is the struggle to blank it out of your consciousness in the hope that nobody, including your deluded self, remembers you ever ventured on the path.
Can you relate to this?
Well if you can, then today’s post is dedicated to you!
Please bear in mind that abandoning a project or an idea is nothing to be ashamed of or beat yourself about. Trust me, I have had my own share of abandoned projects. Experience has thought me that leaving projects behind could be due to different reasons or unexpected turn of events in our lives. At other times, it is either because we have come to our wits’ end or have lost the momentum and zeal we had when we first embarked on the project. My personal favorite reason is that 4-letter word, TIME! We say we don’t have the time due to more pressing family, social, professional, emotional and even financial commitments.
I do know what it is like to start something and forget or dump it altogether due to reasons best known to us at the time. A few months back, I resumed blogging again after months of careless abandon. But ‘Thank God’ WordPress came calling for their annual fees and that gave me the much needed kick in the butt. The rest, as they say, is history as I have once again, found my way back to blogging.
It hasn’t been easy since I resumed blogging again but I have resolved to do all that it takes to keep going. While I may not yet have the faintest idea where this ‘blogging thingy’ will lead, every post has given me that deep sense of satisfaction and reminder that I am not a quitter. This my friend, has become one of my weekly victories!
So I share with you 6 simple steps I have adopted to keep my blogging buzz going. I am currently applying these steps to all the other projects I have taken upon myself in recent times too. I hope these tips help you ward off any creative or innovative block you may be experiencing.
Please bear in mind that before taking on these steps, it is important that you have critically assessed the viability of the project or idea and it is one which is still in line with your future goals and aspirations. This is in addition to the project passing the SMART test.
1. Accountability will take you far
When I decided to get back into blogging and the world of writing all together, I knew I had to find a way to be accountable one way or another. I have realised that the best way to achieve this is to share the vision for your project with someone else – probably a trusted friend, partner, husband, mentor or even a coach. But never share it with a buzzkill. You know those people who think they have a better idea about the project you ought to be focusing your time, energy and even money on? Yes, those people are a ‘No No’. Instead, share your ideas with people who will help you stay on course. Such people will also remind you of why you started the project when they see you are beginning to lose interest. They are the sort of people you will be free to share your challenges with without any hint or sense of judgement. Rather than judgement, they come bearing gifts that will ignite the passion you once had for the project. Your Accountability Team will also help to remove bottlenecks and will work with you to find solutions to some of your challenges. John Lennon certainly knew the importance of accountability when he said:
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality “
2. Get a supporters’ club
In life, you don’t have to be a sports person before having a Supporters’ Club. Their role, just like your Accountability Team, is to cheer you on, on this somewhat lonely road of creative and innovative pursuits. Whether you are a creative person, an innovator, an entrepreneur, a social-entrepreneur, a network marketer, an artisan (whatever field you find yourself), begin to build for yourself a Supporters’ Club. For example, if you are a blogger, they are the ones who will take the time to leave a comment on your post; they will like your articles on your social media platforms; they will call to let you know how ‘on point’ your post was or even send you a text or an email to let you know that a word in ‘paragraph 2, Line 3’ was misspelt or that it appeared twice. Learn to appreciate these kind of people because when the creative or innovative juice begins to slow-down, they will call to ask you ‘How far?’ and why activities relating to the project is either declining or has ceased.
3. Self Motivation is always a good idea
Another way to finish what you start is to daily motivate yourself no matter how bleak or uninspired you feel. Even when you encounter a setback or life throws a curve ball at your dreams and goals, look inwards and draw out the last strength within you to continue your journey. Nowadays, you don’t have to go too far to find motivation. Just get on social media and you will find quotes, videos and TED Talks all within your reach. The only thing you need to do is to click on such links and let words from people who have had similar experiences of setbacks and discouragement lead you back home (to your project or idea). Don’t forget your Bible too. There are tons of verses that is guaranteed to help you stay motivated and on course.
4. Daydream about the outcome
I am yet to read any self-help book or an inspiring story of someone achieving a great feat without the author talking about daydreaming. Well they use the term ‘Vision Board’ but I like to call it daydreaming. Books about living your dreams, pursuing your passion and finding happiness in life always allude (directly or indirectly) to having a picture of one’s dream stuck on a vision board and displayed in the house, office, or even in the car. This will enable the mind to constantly visualize and anticipate what success would look like while the universe works to make it a reality. For me, it is about dreaming of how happy and uplifted my spirit becomes the moment I publish a blog. I live for those moments because it is the most exhilarating thing ever. So, when you get stuck in a project, cast your mind forward to that very beautiful sunny or rainy day in the future when it will be said or written that you have finished your project, published your book, recorded your song, lunched your business or even published your first post. Think of how elated you will feel and the sense of achievement that will overshadow you even if it is just for a few seconds, minutes, days, weeks and if you are lucky, months. But I must sound this warning: Always end your dream at the point where you finished the project. The acceptance and rejection of the project is not something you should be consumed with (at least not for now). Also, this is not the post for that either. So let us just leave it at you finishing first.
5. Look outward, think beyond yourself
Regardless of how insignificant you think the project you are working on is, never forget that there are people out there counting on you. Yes YOU! People you know, people you do not and may never meet in this lifetime may be counting on your strength, courage, audacity and sheer determination to get the job done. In addition, completing a project may just be the inspiration or push that your sister, brother, cousin, niece, nephew, friend or the most unlikely person within your sphere of influence is waiting for. Therefore, whenever you fill unmotivated to continue with your project, look beyond yourself and think of the people counting on you.
6. Divide Your work into sizeable chunks, set a deadline and don’t get sidetracked by perfection
Now that you have got steps one to five locked down, you should divide the tasks ahead into sizeable or workable chunks. Think of how many hours or minutes in a day you can commit to it and stay true to your commitment. 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there and progress will unravel before your very eyes. Also set a realistic deadline for when you want the project finished and work to make it happen. Lastly, try not to be sidetracked by PERFECTION. A finished project is still better than a perfect project that was never finished. Your goal is to finish first and then worry about perfection once you have that out of the way.
So permit me to ask you. What is the project you started but have been struggling to finish? What song have you been writing or working on and have still not completed? What book did you start to write but lost your zeal midway. What blog did you start but for sometime now have not published any new post? What did you start but have lost the desire to see through?
Whatever the project is, it is high time it stopped gathering dust or fading into oblivion. Stop waiting and start doing. Don’t wait another year, month, hour, minute or second. Get back to work and finish what you started!
I am already rooting for you… can you hear me cheering…
See you at the Finish Line!