How To (actually) Follow Through On Your Ideas

how to follow through on your ideas
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The planning, the brainstorming, the note-taking, the research, the (slightly premature) excitement… This is what I always do when I get a new idea. And trust me, with a brain that never seems to shut off, it feels like a new idea pops into my head everyday!

Sometimes these ideas are business related, sometimes they’re life improvement related, sometimes they’re blog post related, and sometimes they’re just ideas for how I want to rearrange furniture. Yup, exciting things.

Regardless, though, the constant ping pong match going on can be exhausting.

And yet, sometimes, like right now, for example, that little ping pong match feels totally worth it.

Because yup, you guessed it: I have a new idea, and I’m totally jazzed about it!

I’m not ready to go into specifics about it just yet, because, who knows, maybe I’ll realize it’s a silly idea two days from now, but at this exact moment, this idea is probably the most excited I’ve been in a while about any of those little ideas that pop in my head.

So what does all of that have to do with the subject for today’s blog post, you might be wondering.

Well, today’s post is as much for you as it is for me.

It’s all about following through on your ideas, not giving up too early, and having the confidence to pursue your ideas. 

So first, how can you build confidence in your ideas?

For me, I think this is probably the thing that makes me give up on my ideas the most: my lack of self confidence.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not always the most confident person, especially when it comes to decision making. I’m always the last person to decide what she wants to order at a restaurant, I hate making decisions for groups, and don’t even get me started on my inability to decide about what I want to wear in the morning.

I’m constantly asking for other peoples’ opinions and approval with any decision that I make.

To be honest, I can’t pinpoint exactly where this lack of confidence originates from, but I can guess that it likely has to do with my lack of trust in myself.

I wrote all about this in my post about breaking promises to yourself, but I think when we consistently break promises to ourselves, we start to subconsciously distrust ourselves. 

Because, I mean, if I tell myself I’m going to get up at 6:30 everyday this week, and I can’t even stick with that, why would I trust myself to make the right decision about whether I should purchase travel insurance for an upcoming trip or not?

It’s these little broken promises to ourselves that start to add up.

And, if you read about why I started My Daily Blogging Challenge, then you’ll know that one of the reasons that I started blogging everyday was because I needed the challenge. I needed something that I was to commit to for 30 days, no questions asked.

I needed to prove to myself that I could make a promise to myself and actually stick with it. 

And so, if you come up with an idea, and you want to stick with it, I think you need to have some confidence in yourself. To do this, set up a challenge for yourself.

It doesn’t have to be 30 days, and it doesn’t have to be some crazy commitment. Again, it could just be a commitment to wake up at the same time everyday, or a commitment to stop eating a certain kind of food that you know is bad for you.

You can read more about this in this post, but in general, start making commitments to yourself, sticking with them completely (no cheating!), and watch as you start to gain confidence in your ideas.

Next, you need to reign in your excitement

I’m also really bad about this…

When I get an idea that I’m excited about it, I want to sing it from the rooftops. I dive in head first, and I almost always end up over-researching and overwhelming myself.

It’s a pretty bad habit.

And so, if you also find yourself in this scenario more often than not, I would suggest holding onto your ideas and letting them stew a bit before releasing them into the world.

I mean, I’ll be honest, with this particular idea I have, I’ve told three people already, which isn’t exactly low-key, but I also haven’t fully committed myself to the idea. I’m letting it stew, and really trying to think through it fully so that I can execute on it.

Which brings me to my next point…

You need to have some sort of plan

When it comes to executing on an idea, there’s a very line between over-planning and planning enough.

For example, with me, I find that if I over-plan, I tend to get overwhelmed, but then if I under-plan, I tend to sit around on the idea, “researching,” and not really taking any action on it.

I think the key here is to have a flexible plan. Set goals for yourself and write down your ideas, but also recognize when you’re simply planning and not doing.

If you have an idea, and you’ve spent multiple days just planning it out without taking any action, there’s a good chance that you’re over-planning.

Get honest with yourself, and you’ll probably be able to detect that fine line.

And lastly…

You need to decide when it’s time to pivot and when it’s time to push through

For me, this is probably the hardest thing, and I still don’t think I have an answer for it.

Nobody wants to be that person who keeps pushing an idea that is clearly dead, but I’m also going to guess you don’t want to be that person who came up with an idea, followed through on it for a couple months, gave up, and then you see someone else having success with almost the exact same idea.

Neither one of these situations is very fun.

And I think that’s why I go back to the importance of planning. 

If you’re serious about your idea, you should have goals and aspirations for it. Or, in other words, you should know what your idea should be doing for you at what time.

For example, if your goal is to make money from your idea, you’ll know that at Month 6, you should be making x amount of money.

If you’re nowhere close to that goal, then you know something isn’t working with your idea, and it might be time to try something new.

If you don’t want money to be the deciding factor, perhaps you look at email subscribers (i.e. how many people also believe in your idea and are interested in it). If you’ve been promoting your idea for 6 months, and you only have 5 people who are interested in the idea, maybe it’s time to move on.

I mean, this is going to be different for everyone, but coming up with the benchmark for where you want to be at a certain time before you even start should help you with being objective about finding the balance between pivoting and pushing through.

Wow, guys, I think I might have wrote that post more for myself than anything, because I honestly have a newfound sense of inspiration and drive to push through on this idea that I have.

Hopefully you’ll be hearing about it soon, but for now, I’m going to take my own advice and let it stew for a bit longer.

Have a happy Saturday!