Almost all of us feel enthusiastic at the start of a new project. However, keeping the enthusiasm going over time is another issue, and is problematic for many people. Wisdom Source G. Gurdjieff suggested that there are points in the progress of every project when energy fades unless there is an influx of external energy. Since we cannot be sure that we will receive an energy boost from outside ourselves at just the right time, here are some ways to prevent our enthusiasm from flagging.

1. Use visual reminders of your goal.
Develop visual reminders of your goal and the advantages you will experience when you reach it. The classic example is that if, when you achieve it, you will be able to afford that luxury item you are yearning for, get your photograph taken with that item (e.g. go to a car showroom, sit in the car of your dreams, and have a friend take a picture), and place the photograph where you will see it daily.

2. Develop tiny steps.
It is easy to become discouraged if each step looms large, and requires a major expenditure of time. If you break the project down to extremely small steps, then you can make some progress even if you have only five minutes. It may be something as small as setting out the materials for the next step, but, nonetheless, it is progress.

3. Check off small steps.
As you take those small steps, check them off as achieved, and give yourself a pat on the back for your progress. Focus always on progress you have made as being just as important as the distance you have to go.

4. Cut out, or at least cut down on, your time-wasters and mind numb-ers.
Learn to identify the various time-wasters that you use to "numb out." Then avoid them as much as possible. The list may include too much TV, chat-rooms, computer games, time on the phone, shopping, mind-altering chemicals such as alcohol and other drugs, or other behaviors in which you indulge fairly obsessively.

5. Get enough sleep/rest.
Often, when we feel the need to work harder on a project, this translates to more hours of work, and less of rest. The statistics on sleep deprivation in this decade are frightening. It is true that certain great leaders have been reputed to function on very little sleep. However, most of them were in such positions of power that they could catnap when they chose, and they did. It is essential to our efficient functioning that we get enough sleep. Your project will suffer if you do not.

6. Journal about the benefits of your project.
Journalling involves harnessing our bodies and the verbal part of our brain to whatever it is we journal about. By getting both of these associated with the benefits of the project, you become more fully involved with it. Do this especially at the start, when your energy is high. Add to this journal whenever you can, and re-read it regularly.

7. Do NOT discuss your project with people who are clouds over your parade.
You know the people who worry that if you succeed you may grow away from them. There are others who just don't want to see you aim too high and then be disappointed. They mean well, but avoid giving them the opportunity to rain on your parade. Practice ways to change the subject if they try to talk about your project.

8. Keep yourself physically well.
It seems that we cannot open a newspaper or magazine, or visit a web site, without receiving information on keeping ourselves healthy. Eat right, exercise, drink plenty of water... you know the routine. The trick is to keep to it so that you have the physical energy needed for your project.

9. Avoid all-or-nothing thinking.
When we fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking, we begin to believe that encountering obstacles, or failure, at one juncture equals total failure on the entire project. Remember that each step is just a small step. If one does not succeed, try another in another direction, and keep the big picture in mind.

10. Clear the decks.
A major cause of loss of energy is the other *stuff* that accumulates around us when we are focusing on one particular project. Schedule time to keep the piles (physical or mental) from accumulating. Do the filing, if necessary. Keep up with your to-do list if you keep one. If you don't, they will sap your energy and overwhelm you. You may think that doing these things takes time from your project, but they will actually free up more energy to take you to a successful conclusion with your enthusiasm still in full flow.

Copyright 1997, 98, 99, by Coach U, all rights reserved.
The content above may be forwarded in full, with copyright/contact/creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from CoachU is required, with notification to the original author. Questions: email

Author's Bio: 

Submitted by Diana Robinson, Ph.D., who can be reached at, or visited on the web at