A personal project enriches our lives.
Pioneering research from Dr. Brian Little shows it can even make us “act out of character”.
Writing an ebook forces the most extraverted to shut up and gather their thoughts.
Learning to speak a new langauge requires the most introverted to step outside their comfort zone.
Your personal project has a a major impact on your happiness and well-being.
But how do you choose your projects, and how can you make sure you get moving with them?
Choose your next personal project
A great place to start is to look at your personal growth goals.
As with any goal, make it SMART:
Following such a framework increases your chances of succeeding.
Make it your personal project
A healthy dose of intrinsic motivation is helpful. You want to make sure that you own the personal project.
(If outside forces — such as a spouse or a boss — intervene, it won’t be “your project” and you’re less likely to move forward.)
This is what Dr. Little calls idiogenic motives – the plans, aspirations, commitments and personal projects that we pursue. These “free traits” allow us to act beyond the conditioning of biology and society.
Another important factor is to feel in control of the personal project. Usually, when you believe you have more agency, you translate your ideas into action. Good stuff!
Take small steps
Here’s my tip: break down your personal project into smaller steps.
Make that next step incredibly small, and ridiculously easy.
You want to laugh at your next step, that’s how easy you want it to be.
(I’m a huge believer in small steps. Learn more about that here.)
Resources and support to help you get going
Here are some resources I’ve found helpful:
- Stickk – a free goal-setting platform created by behavioural economists at Yale University.
- 43things – a place for inspiration, advice and support.
- Me, Myself, and Us by Brian Little
Over to you
Which personal project are you working on? What’s your next quest? Let us know in the comments!
Did you enjoy this article? Read this next: How to Change Your Habits.