Do you ever start a project with gusto, only to fizzle out soon after? Maybe you resolved to lose weight. Maybe you wanted to repaint the house or redesign your website.
Whenever you start something, you’re filled with interest and anticipation. You wonder how the project or event is going to progress. You think about how hard you’ll work on it. But then one day, life gets in the way and the project doesn’t seem as important as you thought.
When this happens, your cherished goal loses its glow. Plus, you now have some other things you need to work on. Gradually, the project you were all excited about gets put on the back burner. Before you know it, months have gone by and you never seem to have the time or energy to go back and finish it.
Would you like to change this recurring sequence of events? Imagine your feelings of pride and accomplishment as you begin to finish your projects – one after the other. But how can you turn things around to where you can consistently complete your projects?
Try these strategies to help you finish what you start:
Prioritize. Before you jump in and begin something, ask yourself whether it’s really important. One key to finishing what you start is to not begin something that has little relevance in your life.
* For example, buying that expensive Italian language package to learn to speak Italian might sound challenging and fun, but do you have a trip planned to Italy or some other Italian-speaking country within the next year? Maybe you’re headed to Mexico instead. How much good will speaking Italian do you there?
Ask yourself, “Is this the right time to start something new?” Any other big things going on in your life will take time away from new projects you hope to do.
* If it’s November and you want to start a massive project of cleaning out the closets in your home, recognize that the holidays are starting next month. Is this the right time? Can you get the closets done in a month? If not, no worries. You can always note in your calendar on January 1st to begin your closet cleaning then.
After determining that a project is important enough to start and it’s the right time, commit to it. When you make this type of commitment, write out exactly what you plan to do.
* Write down each step. Plan to finish all steps within a time frame that’s acceptable to you. Plan your project and then go forward with each step according to your plan.
Evaluate your energy level.
If you’re working and taking care of your family, everything else you do is extra. Are your energy reserves built up enough to take on another project and see it through to the end? You be the judge.
“If you set a high threshold on what you want to do, the completion rate is also higher,” writes Celestine Chua in a LifeHack.org article. “If you aren’t sure that this is something you really want to do, dip your feet into the pool first – try it out on a small scale and see if it’s what you’re interested in.”
Consider your end result.
If you finish the project, how will it affect your life? Will your everyday life be better? Will it be mostly unchanged? Will you feel a sense of pride and completion? Spend some time reflecting on the experience of finishing the project.
Be 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 finish the task.
Finishing what you start can be a real challenge, but being detailed in your planning will help. Be realistic about 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!
What are your best tips for staying on-task and finishing what you start? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.