The cycle of your project goes like this:
In the beginning there is hype and optimism and inspiration. Part infatuation, part zealotry.
In the middle there is flagging energy, interest, and faith. This is the suck, the dip, the dreaded middle, quitters row.
In the end, if you haven’t just quit, 3 things might happen. 1. Dragging yourself like an anchored, rotting ship of fatigue toward, forever toward, the finishing line. 2. A buoyant dash onward with a second wind 3. Something in between, not so heavy but still a gritty push.
Don’t quit in the middle when everything gets boring and difficult and obnoxious and disappointing.
But, how not to quit?
What do you do when energy, interest, and faith subside?
Have you admitted to yourself that this time is coming?
Do you have a strategy?
Are you prepared for gloom with as much gusto as you engage with glee at the get go?
Let’s say you’re already smack dab in the middle and haven’t prepared for this, like usual, because this time was going to be different.
Emergency Rx for the Middle of Your Project
- High dose injection of inspiration. Return to your “Why” with a vengeance. Don’t hold back.
- Forgive yourself gently for “sucking pond scum” (a high school coach of mine used to say.)
- Self-care your brains out for 24 hours, then
- Do just a tiny little itty amount of work on your project immediately
- Set up a plan for the duration of the project, to NOT be a hero but build incrementally, little by little on the tiny work you did today. Your motto should be “every day a tiny bit.”
- Get help from someone who can grab you, love you, shove you, encourage the petunias out of you, only positively.
If you are not today in the thick of it, plan ahead.
Your strategy should include:
- Reliable structure and systems to guide your daily work
- Social support
- Eyes on the prize/finish line
- Short term, achievable goals
It can be hard to determine, when you’re slogging through the muddy middle whether or not you really should quit. Maybe the signs really are pointing you to the exit.
My rec? In the short term, err on the side of following through.
If you can’t return to the passion of the beginnings, find a new you, the middle you. This person, the middle you, continues on subtly, mildly, while you rekindle your energy to finish strong.