The Right Way To Start A New Project
You Overanalyze Everything
Well, maybe not you specifically… actually, who am I kidding?
You’re probably just like me.
You get bright ideas to do something life-changing and follow the classic “Ready, Aim, Fire” strategy. You come up with an idea, you determine the perfect execution strategy, and you launch.
Except you never launch, do you?
You intend to launch, but you get stuck in the planning phase.
As you grind away in the “ready” or “aim” stage, trying to perfect your idea or craft a foolproof launch strategy, you slowly lose steam. You encounter roadblocks, and that little voice in your head makes you doubt yourself.
Maybe this goes on for days, weeks, or even months, but eventually, you lose interest and abandon the idea altogether. Sound familiar?
Is that why you never lost the weight? Launched your startup? Or wrote that novel?
The Solution: “Fire, Ready, Aim”
Launch before your ready. Launch then iterate and improve over time. Putting in the work and optimizing as you go along provides much-needed momentum, builds confidence, and gives you real results.
Here are a few strategies to help you fire first:
End Your Quest For Perfection
Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good enough.
“If more information was the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs” – Derek Sivers
Let’s say you want to lose weight or put on some muscle. Would obsessing over finding the perfect workout routine and diet plan for days or weeks on end be the best route to go?
Or would downloading MyFitnessPal to help count your calories and going for a run today work better?
Stop Looking For Shortcuts
For one, you’re wasting precious time trying to find your silver bullet. Secondly, you likely won’t find one. Finally, even if you find one, it’s likely too extreme to provide lasting results, or everyone would do it.
Sure, you’ll see results with the Whole 30 Diet or setting strict rules like not eating out at all, but for how long? How likely can you go against the grain and deprive yourself of pizza or sweets?
Chances are you’ll stick with it for a while, spiral out of control, and gain all the weight back.
A better alternative is finding a middle-ground. Something that will outlast your emotional sprints. Put differently:
The good-enough routine you stick with is better than the perfect routine you never start or can’t sustain.
I’m using fitness to stick with a theme here, but you can apply this logic to anything. For example, you could spend all day looking for strategies to make your brand go viral, or you could focus on getting five new people to subscribe to your newsletter today.
Give Yourself A Deadline
Contrary to popular belief, constraints can be a good thing.
Twitter launched with plenty of competition but found success by limiting users to a 140 character limit. It forced creativity and satisfied our short attention spans.
A deadline is one way to provide a positive constraint.
“Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.” – Kevin Kelly
Pick an arbitrary date to lose the weight by and find a way to reward yourself. Pick your birthday. Plan a vacation and make it your motivator.
Take a week off work and launch the MVP of your startup. Sign-up for NaNoWriMo and write that novel in 30 days.
Seek Out & Embrace Criticism
Any new venture or project will create its fair share of haters. Doubters criticize because it’s easier than doing something interesting or daring themselves.
“If you absolutely can’t tolerate critics, then don’t do anything new or interesting.”— Jeff Bezos
Firing first requires thick skin and relentless positivity. Actively seek out people’s opinions, hold onto what’s useful, and discard what’s not. Knowing you launched before you were ready makes things easier since you know it’s not perfect and are happy with that.
Seth Godin places “shipping” in high regard because shipping something requires finishing it. Shipping is the most critical part of any new project, and without it, all our work means nothing.
Start that thing you’ve been putting off.
Not tomorrow. Not next month. And definitely not at the new year.
Eat a lighter dinner and clear the cabinets of your junk food. Write 500 words of that novel and join a writing group for inspiration. Lace-up and go jog as far as you can go.
Do something and do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.