Productivity and GTD
10 reasons why your project will fail
Want to live according to your lifestyle? Want to have a successful career? Want to create a business? Want to quit smoking? Whatever you want to do, this is a list of things you should avoid to increase your chances of success:
1. Not having a clear why. The first thing you must ask yourself when you face any project, especially if it’s of some importance, is the fundamental reason why you want to perform it. This exercise is critical because, if you cannot state a significant enough reason, probably you shouldn’t start (or you will abandon when the first troubles appear) and if you can, you will need to think back of it when the tough times come and your whole being is asking you to give up. Whatever you are going to do, it should let you closer to your ideal lifestyle.
2. Not having a clear vision of the final result. Beginning with the end in mind allows you to activate all your energy and skills to achieve the desired result. If you haven’t defined clearly the direction to take, you won’t be able to establish the right step actions to get there.
3. Not having set your goals. I don’t mean not knowing what you want, of course you know it. I mean doing a deeper exercise and writing clearly what is the outcome you hope to accomplish. If you don’t define your goals, your brain can’t develop the strategies and the planning necessary to achieve the desired result, and you run the risk of being bogged down without getting anywhere.
4. Not having set a deadline. If you don’t set a deadline, chances are that the project remains in a simple dream that never comes to fruition. This is a great motivator to achieve goals and will help you get out of bed every day to accomplish what you want. Do you feel under pressure when a deadline is set? Are you afraid of not being able to meet? The deadline is not the end in itself, so not being in time doesn’t mean a failure. If you don’t meet, at least you’ll be much closer to your goal. In this case, you simply adjust it and keep moving.
5. Standing still. Thinking is important because it prepares us to act, but don’t let too much analysis will lead you to paralysis. To get things done you have to stop thinking and start acting. It’s better to have a good plan in motion than a brilliant plan in preparation. Make a decent plan, show it to other people who tell you you’re not crazy, and go on, take the first step.
6. Waiting to know all the information to make a decision. The path to achieve your objective is full of junctions and detours. And it’s not always clear what the best option is. When you stop making decisions you get stuck in neutral, you no longer have the control and the project earns points to go drifting. You have to take risks and move forward. Intentionality is key to achieving any goals. If you feel stuck, make a decision and put a plan in place. It may not be perfect, but you can correct it along the way.
7. Carrying a parachute. Most of failures happen because commitment is not total. If you don’t take risks, then you’re playing, and if you’re playing, your brain is set to fail. If you carry a parachute, you will be tempted to use it when the first problem arises. You must commit and put all eggs in one basket. Remember that you have a good reason for it (you’ve read the first point, right?).
8. Fear of failure. Times where you start doubting are the worst ones. You are not sure to reach your destination and start wondering if it’s worth all the effort. You know what? If you don’t try to do something because you’re afraid to fail, you’ve failed indeed. Fear of failure is how a poor relationship becomes a bad marriage and a hateful job becomes a prison for life. Lack of decision is just another decision.
9. Fear of success. It’s less obvious but more common than it seems. What if I get it? Your head begins to sabotage a possible success, inventing a series of uncomfortable situations that will come if you succeed. In this case, you should go back to the first point (why am I doing this?) and look at things in perspective. Think of the benefit you get if you complete the project successfully. Remember you’ll be closer to your ideal lifestyle.
10. Being alone. Of course, some projects are personal, but it doesn’t mean you can’t share them. If you make public your project and talk about it with people who would be interested, you will get a source of extra motivation when things get hard. Find your community. Whatever you do, others have done it before and can help or advise you. Find support and also different points of view. By helping others in their journey, you get some help in yours.
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