It’s January, it’s depressing AF outside, you have the blahs but at the same time you know you should be getting something done, and yet you don’t want to doooo anything.
I’ve written before about how I hate starting The New Year in January, at least in Canada. September’s so much better for harnessing excitement to start new things. But, sadly, the FFY system hasn’t yet caught on in the greater world, so here we are in January making resolutions and then promptly tripping over our excited shoelaces and face-planting into a snow bank of failure because it’s AWFUL outside and the fun of Christmas has worn off and it’s hard to muster the enthusiasm to continue.
I wish I could grant everyone more energy; but short of breaking bad, I will have to stick to increasing your motivation and what better way to do that than by starting a project in the middle? Finishing one where you’re already half-way done?
Think about it: the foundation is already laid. You don’t have to start from scratch, or prepare, or face a blank screen. And if you need an additional carrot to chase: think about how good, how deliciously satisifying it will feel, to cross something off your to-do list that’s been hanging over your head?
I know you have such a project. We all have such a project. Something that’s half-finished either because you ran up against a deadline (hello, end of NaNoWriMo) or because you got mired in the middle of the creative swamp (hello, Week Two Weepies of NaNoWriMo) or because you got sick, or something came up. The reasons for abandoning a project are as myriad as the projects themselves; that’s why I know you have at least one. Maybe not a novel, but something that you loved starting and haven’t yet finished and it’s not high-enough a priority to reschedule your life around it but it’s not low-enough to let it go. So it hangs around, a middle-child of a project, neglected except for a few head-pats in its direction because there simply is more important stuff to do.
There’s always something more important to do, even in the dead of winter. The truly important projects, the pay-your-rent, advance-your-career projects? Those you can manage to scrape together the motivation to complete, but these middle ones? Nah. It can wait.
…and now it’s August and they are still on your to-do list and you’ve been carrying them around for at least half a year already and where does the time go?!?
That’s a sucky feeling. Let’s nip it in the bud, bud.
Let’s do Finish It February.
For the next month, instead of Monday Submission Challenges, I’m going to do 4 motivational posts with strategies for avoiding blockers, keeping yourself focused, and probably most importantly, learning how to abandon “perfect” for “good enough” so that you can finish the fucking thing.
Just GET it DONE. Done like DINNER.
And when March 1st rolls around, and the days are a bit longer, and you feel the sap rising, you can start something Shiny and New, with the rich satisifaction of knowing you cleared That Thing off your plate.
So this week, before February starts, your challenge is to pick ONE (1) MONTH LONG THING–or four (4) small, weekly things–to finish. Don’t overstretch yourself; part of the reason The Thing remains unfinished is because it was larger than you thought. So be gentle with yourself, and pick ONE project. Or four small things, that’s fine too. One a week.
Pick one thing, and then read up on my “Project Managing Yourself” series, because I am going to be referencing it a lot in the coming weeks. That’s it. One project, one reading assignment, and I’ll see you on Feb 3!
Bring stickers. 😉