When I bought my first house, I couldn’t wait to start working on it. My tools were ready and so was I – or so I thought.
I had watched my fair share of HGTV so I knew there was nothing to it. My first house was a fixer upper. After about the first month, I hated house projects. There were too many things that needed to be done. Would this ever end?
I have learned a lot about working on houses in the last five years. I have learned a lot about life in the process. Here are some things I find similar about the two.
1. You just have to start. I am the world’s worst at overthinking everything. Paper or plastic? Turkey or ham? Chocolate or double chocolate? Okay the last one is a no brainer. You always go with double chocolate. At the end of the day, I am not good at making choices. I waffle. I overthink. I overcomplicate.
The key to finishing my house projects and whatever it is that you need to accomplish is to just begin. Just start. Sure, you might mess up, but that’s the beauty of life. You can always begin again.
2. You have to put in the time. The most fun part of any project for me is going shopping for the supplies. I make a point of “having” to buy at least one new tool for ever project (I love tools). It’s fun to go to home Home Depot and purchase all the goodies. It feels like I’m accomplishing something just by being in the store.
I generally enjoy painting the first wall or two. It’s nice to see progress being made. Then I begin to realize how much work this project is really going to be. This is going to take a while.
Welcome to the “messy middle”. This is the time between an exciting beginning and a fulfilling finish. As exhilerating as it is to begin and finish, it is what occurs within the “messy middle” that will make all the difference.
3. Incremental progress is key. Anything worth doing takes time. It is easy to walk into a house that is expertly crafted and looks like it was decorated for an HGTV special and not realize that it took a lot of hard work to arrive at the finished product.
I have found in our latest round of home renovations that it’s easy to work hard and still feel like nothing is being accomplished. The problem is I get distracted and try to do everything at once. It is not until I focus my attention on one specific area and just knock it out that I can see progress.
4. Sometimes you have to ask for help. In our latest round of projects I had a buddy help me put down hardwood floors. The plan was to floor the entire house in one weekend.
It didn’t happen.
Large projects like this always seem to take more time than you anticipate. What I hoped to accomplish in a weekend had stretched to two with the possibility of a third.
This is when my wife came to the rescue. She taught me that I can’t do everything on my own. If I continued to work on the floor for the next 2 weekends, we would miss the deadline for listing the house. She called a professional.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help. As a man, I often think that I have to go it alone, but that just isn’t the case. The most successful people ask for help. They do what they are good at and leave the rest to the professionals.
5. It will be worth it in the end. This is what keeps us going. This is why we start projects to begin with, because we know the reward of finishing outweighs the hard work of creating. Keep you eyes on the prize. Know that whatever you are working towards will be worth it. One day you will get to stand back and say, “I did that!”
6. I should have done this sooner. This is a tough one. We are doing all of this work to our house because we are going to sell it. We are putting in all this effort, and we aren’t even going to get to enjoy it. We could have replaced the floors and decorated two years ago, but instead, we are doing all of this work for someone else.
Why wait another year to chase your dream. Why not now? Will you really be any more prepared in a year, a month, or a week? Probably not. Get out there and just do. One of my greatest fears is having to look back and think, “What could have been?” Don’t let this be you!
Do you have any life projects going on right now? What do you find to be your largest barrier to achieving your goals? Please leave your comment below.