I don't need to tell you that life has ups and downs, highs and lows, thrilling projects that draw you in like a magnet and, well…other sh*t you have to do. You know the kind of project that prompts you to do a deep clean of your house instead of even getting started. The kind that brings on an instant sinus infection forcing you into Netflix recovery mode instead of doing your work. Your work—how did this project fall on your plate, anyway? Whether it's your job search, a project at the office that is way out of your wheelhouse or your family budgeting—when we're adult-ing—there are things in life we have to do, no matter how much they make us want to pull the covers over our heads.
Here are some ways I help my clients (and myself!) get through the brick wall of resistance to not only nail the project at hand, but learn about what's been blocking them/us in the process.
1. Acknowledge your stuck-ness
Inertia has you in it's grip, my friend. It's ok—it happens to the best of us. Let yourself off the hook. Just because you've been holding off on kick-starting this project, it doesn't mean you're a loser. I'm certain you have some good reasons for not doing this thing and now is the time to do some free writing to figure out what they may be. You can acknowledge your fears one by one by writing and speaking aloud the following: I haven't done ___________ because I was afraid of ____________. That's ok, but I'm ready to move on because I'm [insert your superpowers here].
2. Tap into your team
You're not the first person who has ever had to create a budget or has looked for a job. I promise. Who do you know that has done something similar and did not die? Who has mastered this hideous thing and can walk you through it in grave detail over a sushi dinner or a drink? The bonus to this approach is that you get to connect with your friend or colleague and actually laugh—even just a little while you're jumping into the unknown with your project. Perhaps this person can even hold you accountable for doing what you say you're going to do along the way. Having periodic meetings with your team member can give you some natural deadlines and motivation to keep going!
3. Re-brand and plan your marketing blitz
Think about the language you're using for your project. You're not alone if you're using words like, "have to, should, ball and chain and this f-ing thing." Who's going to want to do anything related to those choice words? Time for a project re-brand! What are some aspects of the project that are exciting? What might you learn? What about it might be slightly ridiculous or funny? Go on and dig deep. You're going to create a title or perhaps an image that will either make you laugh or inspire you, creating a new story about your goal and what you want to get out of this project. Good branding evokes feelings and connection to the end product or the company. What feeling do you want to create? One of my clients was planning a move to California, but was completely overwhelmed by all she had to do to make the move possible. We came up with a simple title and then she went ahead and put together an bitmoji of herself in the sunshine under the words, "Operation, Cali!" For my own budgeting exercise last summer, I named all of my documents and folders on my Mac, "Financial Badassery." Who wants to work on a budget when you can think about acquiring financial badassery?
4. Track progress and celebrate small wins…big
Create a simple process to track milestones so you know when you've completed even the smallest of baby steps along the way. I like tools like Asana, Evernote or even reminders in Google Calendar to keep me on task. Remember, a week ago you could barely get started and now you've completed a handful of tasks. Celebrate each of these in a BIG way. You may not be to your goal, but you're moving. You're doing it! By celebrating ongoing, you'll be able to gain the confidence and momentum to keep going toward your goal—and you'll have fun instead of powering through drudgery. Which would you choose?
Once you master this approach, there's no end to its practical applications. I use it for areas of my business where I'm doing "pretty well" but feel some fear and want to go deeper in understanding it. "Pretty well" is not how I roll, so stay tuned for my latest project, "Countdown To TED Talk", people. See you there.