Would you be comforted to know that you’re not alone in your struggle with half-finished projects?
Even if you’re a special snowflake like me, who prides myself on being different and interesting (damn Enneagram 4 🙄), you’ll likely feel a little bit better knowing that what you’re struggling with right now is all normal—and it’s all solvable.
During every Half-Finished to Done, LIVE launch, I host many 1:1 consults with potential clients, and I spot common patterns in these conversations.
Here are 8 common themes that emerged in the last Half-Finished to Done, LIVE launch that you might be dealing with, too:
- Having a time problem vs thinking you have a time problem
- Getting yourself into double binds
- Paying penance for Past You
- Not knowing why you don’t follow through
- Thinking you’ve tried something like this
- Relying on or hiding from someone else
- Not guaranteeing your own results
- All-or-nothing thinking
In each section below, I’ll explain how specifically these patterns show up, why they prevent the steady, sustainable forward progress you’re looking for, and how I can help you overcome them when we work together.
At the bottom of the page, I’ll invite you to book your own consult, so that we can continue this conversation.
Having a time problem vs thinking you have a time problem:
Not surprisingly, many clients come to me because they feel like they don’t have time to take on their half-finished projects.
When clients tell me they “don’t have time,” we always fact-check if this is true (sometimes it is!) or an unhelpful story that they’ve been carrying around. This is a classic example of the power of separating your perception from the actual facts.
Often, a story about “not having time” can actually be hiding other data, like lack of energy, lack of engagement, too much saying yes to things that you don’t want to do, or feelings of fear and inadequacy.
My job as a coach is to help you pressure-test your default thought patterns around time. If they’re true, I help you implement doable solutions or, if they’re false, I help you get down to the real issue.
Getting yourself into double binds:
A double bind is an un-winnable situation that you’ve created in your mind. When you put yourself into a double bind, you usually can’t even see it.
For example, you might think “I need to be more consistent” while also believing “I don’t know how to be more consistent.” Double bind. You might think “I need to follow through more” while also believing “I can’t figure out why I don’t follow through.” Double bind. These double binds feel stifling, like there’s no way out.
My job as a coach is to help you see and get out of your mental binds, by helping you open up new possibilities.
Paying penance for Past You:
By the time clients come to me, they’re often putting immense pressure on themselves to take action now, to make up for “lost time.”
A belief system that things should have gone differently or faster in the past adds urgency and pressure to the present, which always backfires. (Because who’s excited to show up to work when they feel like they’re under intense pressure?)
My job as a coach is to help you make peace with the past then make a clear, doable plan for moving forward; this ensures that Present You and Future You don’t continue to suffer in the same patterns as Past You.
Not knowing why you don’t follow through:
If you think about why you aren’t following through on your half-finished projects, what emotions come up for you?
Likely confusion (“I really don’t know!”) or exasperation with yourself (“I hate that I don’t follow through.”)
Saying “I don’t know” or shaming yourself keeps you stuck at best, and taking less action, at worst.
Unfortunately, no one ever taught us how to compassionately self-evaluate our own behavior and give ourselves clear, doable solutions in order to make sustainable changes. Luckily, Half-Finished to Done, LIVE exists.
My job as a coach is to show you when you’re beating yourself up and help you instead investigate your own behavior with curiosity and compassion in order to actually understand and change it.
Thinking you’ve tried something like this:
Wanting to join Half-Finished to Done, LIVE but also telling yourself “I’ve tried something like this before” is an example of a double bind.
There are two easy ways to break out of this bind:
- Acknowledge that it might be true that you’ve tried something like this program before and then explain to yourself how it will be different this time (10% of people)
- Tell yourself the truth—that you likely tried on your own without a supportive community and structure; that you’ve tried either the mental piece, the emotional piece, or the logistical planning piece, but probably not all of them simultaneously; or that when you tried, you dabbled but didn’t go all in (90% of people)
My job as a coach is to help you figure out for yourself why this experience will be different from what you’ve tried in the past, in order to increase buy-in for yourself.
Relying on or hiding from someone else:
Often, people come to me wanting to join Half-Finished to Done, LIVE, but there is someone else whose opinion is influencing their decision making process.
There is usually at least one person in your life who you either feel that you need approval from in order to enroll or, conversely, feel like you can’t tell about the program.
To be clear, seeking counsel from others in your life isn’t a bad thing at all, or neither is desiring privacy with your decisions. You just want to notice if you’re using someone else as a proxy for making your own decisions.
My job as a coach is to help you distinguish helpful input, collaborative decision making, and healthy self-reliance from dependence on other people’s approval.
Not guaranteeing your own results
Many people come to me wanting to join Half-Finished to Done, LIVE—but something outside of them is stopping them from moving forward.
Their clients haven’t paid their invoices yet. They just don’t have enough paying clients yet. They need approval from someone else. Their kid and spouse need a lot of attention right now. Their team is new and needy.
This puts them into a pattern of passively waiting on other people, and it often breeds resentment, defeat, apathy, and disappointment.
If this is you, notice what you’re not doing when this is happening: You’re not being bold and following up on your unpaid invoices. You’re not pitching new clients. You’re not proactively setting up family systems. You’re not creating employee manuals.
Put simply, you don’t feel that you can guarantee your own results, so you stop showing up powerfully.
My job as a coach is to show you where you’re abdicating responsibility for creating your own results, and help you step into full ownership by learning to guarantee your results—no matter what’s happening outside of you.
Often, people tell me that they’re scared to join Half-Finished to Done, LIVE because they don’t trust themselves to follow through. I joke that they wouldn’t be joining a program for self-proclaimed procrastinators if they already fully trusted themselves.
What’s really going on is that they’re viewing success in the program and with their projects as all or nothing: “Either I master every single piece of the process and finish a project, or it was a bust.”
This perfectionist attitude stops you from starting, letting yourself fail, and improving—while supporting yourself all along the way.
Here’s an example: You might not trust yourself to finish an entire project. That’s okay. You might not even trust yourself to get through an entire 60-minute deep work session. That’s okay, too. Do you trust yourself to get through a 30-minute deep work session? Start there.
My job as a coach is to help you see where you’re falling into all-or-nothing thinking that’s preventing you from taking small, incremental steps forward. We’ll find out the threshold where you do believe and trust in yourself, and build incremental gains from there.