Do you often struggle to finish the projects you start, even when you have every intention of finishing them? Even high achievers and top leaders can find themselves staring at the pile of incomplete initiatives, and wonder what happened to their momentum.
Believe it or not, inability to see certain things through to their completion is a common problem that most people face. Whether it is clearing out years of clutter, writing a book, or starting a business, we launch strong and then quickly lose steam. What’s happening to us? Well, a lot, really, and dealing with it is actually not as hard as you might imagine. Even if you have been beating your head against a brick wall, and believe you are doomed to stay stuck at the starting gate, these four reasons we struggle are also the key to moving forward with clarity and renewed energy.
1. We are too focused on the goal and not the process, so we miss taking just the next right step. I have been notorious about this. Go getters love to set goals and go for them. Except, if we only focus on the goal, and it is a big one, with lots of tasks that must be accomplished to get there, then we can quickly lose focus and motivation. We fail to see progress, and the bigger the goal, the more likely this is to happen. It’s good to have goals. And it is even better to break them down into micro-goals. So each step is a success by itself. If you are staring at a mountain of clutter, just spend five minutes each day. Then whatever you accomplish provides you with the endorphin hit you need to come back to it tomorrow.
2. We have other priorities, but we haven't consciously decided which one is the most important right now, or what to let go of in order to add something new. Oh! This one kills me. I don’t know about you, but I want to do all the things! Yoga, learn three languages, get a doctorate, write novels, run two businesses simultaneously, hike the Camino del Santiago, and so much more. Well, guess what? I can do all those things, and you can too. Except in order to make space for them, I am going to have to let go of something else I am doing right now. And no, sleeping is not the thing to give up. I encourage my clients to make a list of the eight things they currently spend most of their time doing. Then they make a list of what they want to spend most of their time doing. Once we see those two lists in black and white, we can make realistic choices about what items we currently are spending time on can be automated, delegated or eliminated. I invite you to try this one right away.
3. It isn't really what we want to be doing. We're letting ourselves be externally rather than internally driven. The self-awareness to distinguish between what we truly, authentically want for ourselves, versus what society and those around us whose opinion matters want for us is a rare insight. Sometimes they are the same. However, when we keep avoiding doing something, it is a good time to check in with ourselves, and see whether we are off course with our personal values, purpose and priorities. This is where I encourage clients to use the 5 Whys as well as practice strengthening their intuitive skills. The 5 Whys are fast and simple. Look at what you are not finishing. Ask yourself why do you want to do it? Write down the answer. Then ask yourself why you want that. Write down your answer, and continue digging five levels down. On the last one, ask yourself: What will that give me? If it is for you, the answer will be something like freedom, empowerment, confidence, etc. If you are really serving another person or group’s agenda it will be something like approval, respect, validation, safety, or belonging.
4. We're afraid to fail. This is true more often than most of us are actively conscious of. It is especially common when we suffer from imposter syndrome, as we rise into high profile roles. Contrary to the popular statement: “Failure is not an option,” it most certainly is an option. And if you don’t start something, much less finish it, you just failed. If we try, and don’t succeed in the manner we had hoped, we at least learned what to do, and what not to do, next time. The only way to truly fail is to never attempt it.
If any of this resonates with you, let's talk! I'd love to give you a FREE strategy session to get you back on track! Message me, or book the session directly.