I have a confession. I used to be one of those people who started and stopped projects all the time. My problem, like many people I know is that I would get very excited about something, make a certain amount of progress only to get a new idea that took me in another direction.
Maybe you can relate. Even if you don't fancy yourself a creative type, you may notice that you get easily distracted or feel pulled in ten directions and forget what you intended to being doing in the first place.
Raise your hand if you made a resolution this year and have already dumped it.
Earlier this week, I did something I never thought I would do. I published my first book (If you are a yoga teacher, this book is for you). This huge project took at least a month longer than I had hoped and now that it is out, I have never had more work to do in my life. Between writing guest blogs for like minded websites, working with my amazing team to get the word out to studios and teacher training programs who might want to offer the book to their teachers and making little and often frustrating tweeks to the format (seriously, I know why designers charge the fee they do).
What's the point?
It was a challenging behemoth project, and yet as I enter the next phase of it, I realized I have won the battle against the part of myself that would normally abandon such a thing in favour of a new shiny idea that popped up.
How did I manage to make this happen suddenly after years of being a "start-and-stopper"?
I attribute this to the three extremely practical secrets I discovered to get things done. You can use these things for anything from cleaning your home to writing your book.
Feel the Pain
When an inspiring idea hits, it feels so good. The interesting thing is, when that feeling fades as you come into contact with the reality of what it will take to see your project through, the good feeling can evaporate and leave you with no motivation. For many years, I believed that when the good vibe disappeared there was something wrong with me or that the project "wasn't meant to be". At some point I began to understand that inspiration is like a passing cloud, its job at least for me was to get me fired up.
The secret to actually following through with most of my big projects was not based on warm fuzzies, it was based on the pain I felt when I imagined not doing it at all.
Trust me, I have wanted to quit every major project I have ever started.
The A-Z of Being a Successful Yoga Teacher book almost got deleted from my computer at least four times. The reason it didn't was because I was constantly hearing from yoga teachers who were struggling with their business, self-worth or about to give up on what they once thought they had been called to do. Inspiration got the ball rolling, but it was actually the pain I felt when I imagined not doing whatever I could to help these wonderful people, that got the project done.
Do you know a surefire way to get someone (including me) to clean up my home or office? Tell them you are coming over in two hours.
Want to get the best workout of your life? Go to a class or meet a friend.
I talk about accountablity all the time. Most recently in my last post about success. Many people find that being accountable to someone else makes all the difference between following through and letting things slide. It may be easy to flake on personal projects but if you set a deadline and make it public, your promise and pride can help you get it done. If peer pressure doesn't spur you on, check out a service like stickK where you can actually set cash stakes if you don't follow through.
The Power of Good Music
The hardest part of any project for me has never been getting started. The hard part is always near the end. I am a total nightmare to be around when I am about to finish something. The last stretch of travelling to visit loved ones makes me crazy. The day before a big event makes me want to crawl out of my own skin. If you are like me, this is probably why you too have a hard time finishing things you start. You hope there will be a sense of satisfaction when you accomplish something, but that final climb to the peak almost never feels good and is sometimes enough to thwart you before you ever leave basecamp.
My greatest ally in making it to the homestretch has always been music. If I don't want to workout or do my asana practice, I will use a killer playlist to trick myself into it. I have even been known to sing the entire George Michael discography while walking somewhere I can't wait to get to. Music can calm you down, lift you up and be your friendly distraction as you bump along in any project.
Here is my latest playlist: Yoga and Getting S#!t Done (follow this playlist on Spotify):
Faith - Calvin Harris
Man x Woman - Full Crate Mar
Brand New - Pharrell Williams & Justin Timberlake
Animaux - Kidnap Kid
Midnight - Coldplay
Paper Scissors Stone - Portico Quartet
Pre-savasana: Dorian - Agnes Obel
What are your secerts to get things done? Share in the comments below.
Need a friendly kick in the asana? Our Fitness and Yoga 30 Day Challenge begins the first Monday in February.