Brilliant! You’ve got an idea, a project, a plan a goal. The thought of completing it fills you with preemptive satisfaction and you’re zapped with a bolt of energy.
You work begins, and you revel in discovering all you can, creating and strategizing. You’re fuelled by passion for what you’re doing and what you’re creating.
Time flies. The days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and you realize it’s getting harder to gain the same traction you did when you began. The worst part is, you’re finding it hard to love your idea as much as you did when it was pure potential. Now you’ve slaved and poured your blood sweat and tears onto it, and it’s not as attractive as you thought it would be.
The easiest option right now is to give up. Let it go, discard it into the pile of abandoned dreams. That’s the easiest option - but what if you are depending on this goal being completed? What if someone else is depending on it?
When things get tough, the ‘easy’ option is always to give up and walk away. But the easiest options aren’t always be the best option. You might stand to lose face, lose time, lose money if you don’t finish.
Perseverance and fortitude are two things that are hard to come by - you have to purposefully work on these character traits and the best time to do it is in the face of struggles. How can you push through to finish what you’ve started?
#1. Remind yourself why this matters.
Who is counting on you to finish? What’s at stake? What difference will this make?
Sometimes it takes stepping back and refreshing your eyes with the bigger picture. Diving into the details can start to feel sticky and slow - the devil's in there! Step back, take a look around again and see where you want to be.
#2. Take a break.
Are you spending all hours of the day and night working on this?
Make sure you aren’t being totally consumed by this project! Take time to do activities that relax you. Spend time with your friends and family, take a day off here and there. Humans aren’t meant to work 24/7 - we need time for play, rest and recovery too.
#3. Find a listening ear, mentor, accountability buddy or partner.
Who can you 'offload' to? Who can help you carry the burden for a while?
Find someone who you can chat to when the going gets tough to offer encouragement, advice, or some extra motivation. Maybe you need to find someone who can take on some of the workload - are there any tasks you can delegate to someone you trust?
#4. Break it up and reward accordingly
How many steps are in this project, and how many have you done?
Take the time to sort the project into chunks and steps. Work on what you can, and when a chunk is finished, celebrate! Phone a friend, take yourself out for coffee, do SOMETHING that marks the milestone for you and lets you enjoy the accomplishment. Progress is progress!
Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, and a project that has to be done, has to be done, even if it’s not you. Maybe your health or other uncontrollable circumstances mean you’re unable to finish, and you’ve got to pass it on to someone who can.
Finding the right person for the job can be tricky - they need to have the passion for the project as well as the right skills - and their vision might not be the same as yours. If you’re in this situation, make the best preparations you can, accept that letting go means letting go, and focus on working through your circumstances as best you can, knowing that you’ve done everything you can at the time!
Motivation over long periods of time is tricky. We’ve all started something we haven’t finished - how many projects have I thrown into the ‘too hard’ basket? When the results aren't immediate, or within the time-frame we expect, we can feel like we're failing and give up.
You've got to decide if it's going to be worth it someday, and keep on going. You got this!
Where is your motivation fading?