Did you ever wonder why it’s so difficult to get anything new done, that isn’t forced upon you from the outside?
I’m afraid that, as a social animal, there is a lot of your behaviour that is influenced by the social patterns around you. You developed into a family or carer environment which did things a certain way: that is how you inherited your first general skills. You took on the language spoken around you. It felt effortless, because it was everywhere, and because you were allowed to immerse yourself in it.
The fact is that task completion is a lot easier if it is consistent with the culture and skills around you.
This being the case, there are a few things we can do to make sure our personal projects work out in the end.
DEFINE YOUR PROJECT
It is a powerful thing to take the time to define, in a short sentence, exactly what you are trying to achieve. You may have read of SMART goals. In definine your aim, try to make your statement Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Rather than ‘I’d like to lose weight,’ which is a vague wish, try ‘I will lose [exact realistic amount of weight] by 30th June’. (Also check relevance by making sure the goal is consistent with your values and your situation.)
DEFINE YOUR PEER GROUP
I have mentioned we are social animals. To give yourself a better chance, find or create the peer group that will support your change. It could be an online interest-group, a face-to-face group, an educational institution, a club… it can even be book authors who write on your subject of interest, if you prefer. This will help you to immerse yourself in the project, surrounding yourself with those who live in a similar way.
If you are learning a language, jump into an environment which contains the language you want to learn. If you are learning a skill, book yourself classes, find yourself books, and try to make friends with those who already have the skill. If you are undertaking a journey, surround yourself with plans, maps, and other visual and sensory representations of what you are preparing to do. Have a time each day when, without fail, you focus on the task.
Is there something I would like to get done?
Can I take the time to state clearly what it is I would like to achieve?
Once I have done that, can I find a society of people, with relevant skills and interests, who can help to keep me on track?
Am I prepared to change my environment to reflect the things I want to get done? Would anyone guess, from visiting my house, what I am interested in doing?
Every day, does my daily timetable make space for my new task?