This is why you never feel ready to start that big personal project.

I’ll get on with that big project, just as soon as I’ve done these other things, then I’ll be ready”

6 months later… the big project is still being postponed.

Has this ever been you?

Don’t worry, I know the answer is yes.

It’s ok, every human does it.

You have this big project that you want to get on with, it could be starting a blog, setting up a business, changing direction in your career, or taking that course that you’ve always wanted to go on. 

You know it’s going to be fun, beneficial to your progression, and even potentially LIFE CHANGING. 

You even have an image in your head of how your life will be once you’ve got on with the task. 

Despite knowing how awesome this project COULD be. You’ve been delaying it for a long long time.

You keep saying to yourself that you have to do other tasks before you’ll be ready to complete this big task. 

  • “I just don’t have the time at the moment, when things calm down at work, thats when I’ll start”
  • “I’m going to finish this amazing tv series on Netflix, then I’ll be ready”
  • “I’ve already done a lot of things today, so I’ll start it tomorrow”
  • “I just need to wait until the new year for a new start, then I’ll be ready”

This ever been you?

The thing is, this type of reasoning will never actually end. As soon as one reason cant be used anymore, such as new year actually coming along, another one will pop up that you convince yourself is legitimate and will again delay your big project. 

You actually acknowledge this vicious cycle as well and start to think to yourself: Is this big project ever going to get off the ground? You even start to doubt the validity of the project in the first place!

That’s how big dreams just fade away into nothingness, without it even been given a shot. 

There’s various reasons why we as humans self sabotage and do this to ourselves. This ranges from an inherent disposition to not look after ourselves as much as we should, fear of failure, procrastination, and the fact that people prefer to complete smaller tasks with a deadline, rather than larger tasks that don’t have a deadline (your project).

However there is hope. People do get stuff done in this world, and so can you…

Talk to People

Sometimes in life all you need is someone to say to you “yeh, I like that idea, I think you should do it”, to give you that little push you need to get started. 

That person you talk to might also be able to give you some advice or push you in the direction of some useful resources to get you going. And you never know, a person you chat to about this might be thinking about a similar project and you two could work together to help each other along. 

This is where the powerful concept of an accountability partner comes in to play. 

Accountability partners

I guarantee that someone else you know is feeling the same frustration you are of never being able to get a project started. 

If you’re feeling the same frustration, why don’t you push each other and hold each other accountable for overcoming this shared frustration and start your respective projects? 

Accountability partners share a common goal (in this case starting a project) and check in on each other to make sure the other is getting on with the project. The mutual benefit being that both parties have someone pushing them to achieve their goal.

The whole question of why we need accountability partners in the first place is another topic. But is basically comes down to the fact that, as one of my favourite physiologists, Jordan Peterson stated:

“People are more likely to give medicine prescribed to their pets their take their own prescribed medicine” – Dr Jordan B Peterson

Basically, we as humans don’t look after ourselves as well as we would someone we were in charge of looking after. Its fascinating stuff.

The accountability partner concept takes advantage of this and gives each member someone to “look after” and in turn both are looked after by the other. A recipe for success if you ever asked me ;).

Plan it

Planning phase 1

The first thing you need to do is plan. Take 45 minutes out of one day and dedicate yourself entirely to this 45 minutes. Phone away. No distractions. Sit down with a pen and paper and just write.

Write down the negative and positive impacts of dedicating a small amount of time (roughly an hour) every day to your project from now on.

When you hopefully see that there’s a lot more positives and hardly any negatives, you’re ready to move onto phase 2.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

Planning phase 2

It’s now time to decide the first thing you need to do to get started, to lay the foundations of your project. 

Do you need to:

  • Set up an account on a website?
  • Shoot an email off to someone to arrange a meeting? 
  • Buy some materials or equipment? 
  • Talk to someone who has already done what you are trying to do?

Whatever your project, there is usually an initial first step that lays the foundation which you can build your project upon. 

Identify this initial step, there might be two, and write it down. 

Planning phase 3

The third phase of the planning phase involves identifying the separate aspects of your project. Then breaking these down into their constituent parts.

When you look at your project as one big task, its a giant mess with so many aspects. So much so that you can comprehend it so you more than likely give up. Break it down into manageable chunks then break those down even further.

Heres a simplified example from when I completely changed my career from teaching and went into software development through a course at Le Wagon.

Phase 2:

  • email course to find out details when/where/how much.

Phase 3:

  • Booking course 
    • Interview
    • Payment
    • Course prep work
  • Making sure I have enough money during course
    • Saving as much money as possible before I leave current job
    • Organise work on weekends during course duration
  • Leaving current job
    • Decide suitable date to leave
    • Hand in notice

As you can see this could be broken down even further to simplify the steps even more. 

Once you’ve completed these three phases, you now know that your project is possible and you have a basic plan that will help you start it. 

If there are parts that you’re unsure about, that’s fine. Just get on with the bits you know – then the rest will become clear. 

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” – Elon Musk

Take action

Now I know some of you many want to stick your middle finger up to your boss and storm out the office in dramatic fashion. But the crucial thing is this: you don’t need to quit your job in a fan fair of fashion in order to work on your project.

Because of the planning you’ve put into this so far taking action is now going to seem a whole lot easier and you now have small chunks you can tackle instead of one big overwhelming mulch of confusion.

All you need to do is dedicate 1 hour a day to your project. 

If you take one hour a day to get on with the parts of your project that you identified in your planning, then you’ll be golden. 

If you miss a day don’t worry. But if you stick to this strategy then in one year you would have dedicated 300 + hours to your project and you will be amazed at how far you have come from spending 45 minutes planning this project on paper. 

You don’t need me to wish you good luck..

If you follow the guidelines above, I promise you that you’ll feel a lot more prepared to finally get on with the project thats always been pushed to the back of your brain.

You don’t need me to wish you luck. You’ve planned it and now all you have to do is take the action.

Your project could honestly change your life, even the lives of others as well.

Michael x

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