How to start a Passion Project – A practical Guide

How to start a passion project – A practical guide.  Weekly Challenge #16

The video Link.


So this week is going to focus on that one thing you know you want to, ought to and need to do! It’s time to start that project of yours you’ve been neglecting for so long –  you may not be able to explain the reasons fully, but the thought of it keeps circling around in the back of your head. Or it may just be something you told yourself long ago you were going to do someday, and it just wouldn’t feel right to not at least give it a try. Whether it is customizing your bike or starting your own YouTube channel – the time to start, is now!
You may ask what this has to do with personal development? – I say It has everything to do with personal development! it’s a cornerstone in personal development. Because whatever it may be, if its’ a dream or something you just know you know you have to do, you are not being true to yourself if you keep ignoring something that obviously is so important that you brain constantly reminds you of it. It follows you around wherever you go, nagging and urging you to take action. Being true to ourselves and are the foundation of self- esteem.

I know there is one thing you’re thinking of right know, you know what it is. We owe it to ourselves to put in the effort and give it a try.  At least give it a proper evaluation, and from that standpoint realize it maybe wasn’t anything that had any real value to it. But your current state does you nothing good and only drains you of valuable energy and occupies white space, space that when cleared out could open up for new ideas and projects.

So, the first step will be to have a sit-down and write out all the thoughts you have concerning your “thing”, which will lead you to a making a decision on whether it’s time to let go of it or actually put a real effort into it. Often the hardest part is to start, to get the ball rolling. We have to let go of the concepts of perfectionism, which – in my opinion – one of our biggest enemies. Nothing will ever be perfect, you just have to get over that idea. We have to become friends with uncertainty, and start to believe – have faith – that our focus will align us on a path towards our goals. If you want to, if you truly and wholeheartedly need something to happen, it will. But also realizing and accepting, that if that is what you’re pursuing, it will require way, way much more time and effort than you ever can imagine. But if you can come to terms with that, it’s just a matter of getting started.

So How do we do this? Well, we’re going to try to keep things simple by approaching this on a WHAT, WHY, HOW & WHEN basis.

WHAT – Start with defining WHAT the wanted OUTCOME is.  We are doing this in two steps; short term and long term.

Long term – What’s the end goal? At this state dare to be bold, dare to dream big and reach for the stars. Have a playful mind.  You don’t have to have any clue for how to reach your goal, you just need to have a belief that our focus and determination will set us on a path towards it. If we must, we will find a way. This is where faith and accepting uncertainty plays a tremendously important role. We have to accept not knowing; we have to embrace it. Don’t underestimate the power of a determined mind & belief in yourself.

Short term – Since we are doing this challenge on a five-day basis, you will set up a goal for what you want to achieve in five days. So, what’s a realistic outcome you could reach in five days? This is dependent on what it is you are reaching for and how much time you actually have to allocate for this project. We’ll come into time allocation more in detail further down in the text, but If you’re working, an hour a day may be a good start.

WHY –  Write down the reasons for why you are doing this. If you’re in a rush and has known why you need to this for so long, scribble it down and go on with it. But don’t underestimate the power of clearly defining your reasons. Because when you actually sit down and go through your thoughts and ideas – those you thought was so vivid and clear – you most often find that is not the case. Hence, doing so often results in great insights and new perspectives. Having a crystal clear WHY will empower you not only to get started, but also keep you going for the tuff times ahead, because they will come. So, if you want to get better clarity and motivation you’ll write the following lists:

  • 10 reasons for WHY you MUST do it
  • 10 reasons for WHY you CAN do it
  • 10 reasons for WHY it will benefit you – creating a positive association! Have a playful mind, remove all pessimism; dare to think big. How would the most gracious outcome change your life?

HOW – Strategy planning – now here’s where things stop being general. Depending on how your project looks like, you need to do different kinds of research. Google and search around for the experts in the area your projects relate to. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, there are people that have shared their knowledge on basically every area that is out there today. Find those persons and model what they’ve done. Or if it actually is something brand new, find the closest thing to it, and see how you can borrow thoughts and ideas and implement it on your project. Research and prepare; read books, google, talk to people you may know, or just get started and learn for yourself (if that’s the path of least resistance that will actually get you started, take it). On a general level, here are some workflow tips;

  • Create a list of all the things that you could do, then pick out the top 3 and focus on those things first.
  • Brake things down to actionable items and to do’s, what’s the first thing you have to do to get started?
  • Have clear deadlines and sub goals (SMART- goals – ). When you are responsible to yourself, deadlines (if you respect them) are what will give you something to strive for in an otherwise infinite amount of time.
  • Reviewing analysing and re-evaluating; tweaking your plan, because it will change! What you know when you start is massively going to change time after time.

For this 5-day challenge, I want you to focus on the short term strategy. To JUST get started without overcomplicating things. TO get momentum. The long term strategy you can look into when you revaluate things, or if it really is a big project, creating or starting to create that long term strategy, is perhaps suitable to be your first short term goal for this week.  Now, if it’s a new habit you want to create, like starting a new exercises routine, look into my last week’s challenge ( ), or simply read the book “The Power of Habit”.

WHEN – First off, you have to allocate time to this. If you’re in the middle of a vacation – GREAT! What a fantastic opportunity, if you’re not, you just have to reprioritize and make time with what you’ve got. Try to schedule in a least an hour a day, but of course It’s dependent on your situation.

The initial timespan will be five days, then it’s time to do a new evaluation of the status and look over the long-term outcome tweak if necessary and then put up a new short-term outcome. Always work with deadlines. Trust me, it will make things happen. Also, you may come to the realisation that it wasn’t what you thought it would be and you can say god bye to it forever. Either case, if you put a real effort into it – great, now go out and celebrate with friends and share your experience! Your worth it, and you need to reward yourself for it.

A Work schedule outline:

  • Day 1: the most important day – it’s what will give you a game plan for the rest of the week
  • Day 2: Reviewing short term / long term goal. Taking action for X amount of time. Tracking & logging progress.
  • Day 3: Reviewing short term / long term goal. Taking action for X amount of time. Tracking & logging progress.
  • Day 4: Reviewing short term / long term goal. Taking action for X amount of time. Tracking & logging progress.
  • Day 5: Reviewing short term / long term goal. Taking action for X amount of time. Tracking & logging progress. CELEBRATION FOR REACHING YOUR GOAL; or for ACTUALLY STARTING SOMETHING THAT MATTERS TO YOU. Revaluating Long term goal, putting up next short term goal.

You are also going to need a place to gather thoughts, ideas and material. I do all this in OneNote, but there are other alternatives like Evernote or a regular paper block. But, from experience I’ve found that a paper book just won’t store all the links and data i gather in an efficient way, since so much of the work is being done on a computer.

Good Luck, and hit me up if you have any questions.

/Alexander Nilsson

About the author: alenils

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