Giving yourself a reality check for future projects


Liz Jenkins

yarn project with knitting needles

We all have a list of “somedays”.

You know, “Someday, I’ll run a 5K,” or, “Someday, I’ll go back to school and finish my master’s degree,” or “Someday, I’ll knit that shawl.” Dreaming of the future is wonderful, but are those “somedays” starting to clutter up your home, your mind, and your life?

Maybe you’ve told yourself for years that you’ll complete that half-finished table you started building. Or, you’re hesitant to let go of that box of old t-shirts you’ve wanted to make a quilt with. Maybe you have a hard time letting go of intangible things. To-do’s that you added to your list because they sounded great, or exciting ideas you dreamed up for your business a few months ago.

Whether they take up physical space or not, maybe it’s time to look at your future projects and ideas with a new set of eyes. You’re due for a reality check.

Be Honest With Yourself

woman running in 5k

When you first look at the materials or notes from an idea you never completed, it’s tempting to say, “Oh, I still love this idea, and I’ll definitely do it!” But are you truly being honest with yourself? Get past that initial gut reaction and ask yourself a few questions.

Is this project a barrier to your goals? If your goal is a tidy garage, but that disheveled stack of wood and hardware is throwing off an otherwise organized space, then that unfinished project is getting in the way.

Is this future project interfering with your current enjoyment of life? Let’s say you tell yourself you’re not going to clean out your closet until you lose five pounds—just in case things fit differently once you’ve lost the weight. Maybe you do wait to clean out the closet, and you lose the weight and carry on as planned. But maybe, you’ve used some of your ill-fitting clothing as an excuse not to enjoy your own body or find clothes that actually fit. If you edit your closet today and keep only items that suit your body right now, you just might find that you’re actually happy in the body you have today or you clear space to bring in clothes that really work for you.

Finally, will you really do this project in the future? Look at your historical success rate with projects or ideas similar to this one. Based on past patterns, be realistic with yourself when deciding whether to keep something, and pay attention to your expectations of yourself. Getting rid of something could be the best way to free yourself from the mental burden of completing something you no longer enjoy or no longer serves you.

If you make it through all of these questions and still truly want to do the project, great! Sometimes giving yourself a reality check can re-energize you and push you to do the project. Other times it clarifies that you need to say no—either for now or for good—and that’s okay.  

Why It’s Hard to Let Go of Future Projects

painting supplies

Often, you invest money or time into something with every intention of seeing it through. But life happens, and one day you look back and realize you never even touched any of the supplies you purchased or used the new skills you took so much time to learn.

Several years ago, my family planned to do a massive renovation on our home. We paid for architectural drawings to build an addition. For years, my husband and I kept thinking, “We need to get that project going,” but we never did. Looking back, building an addition wouldn’t have been the best decision, but we kept our family in that house for several years with the intent of renovating— simply because we had already invested money and emotion into the idea. Finally, we realized we just didn’t want the stress of a renovation, and we moved into another house instead. Now years later, I’m happy to say that moving was the right call for our family. We simply had to get past the sunk costs of our already-gone time and money, and then we were able to find a better solution altogether.

Sometimes we can’t let go because we have expectations of ourselves. Be mindful of your own self-talk regarding a project. Are you telling yourself you “should” do something, just because you can or because you’re good at it? Try determining what you want to do, rather than letting the “shoulds” drive you to hold onto every possible project or idea. Give yourself the grace to say, “I don’t need to do this anymore.” 

Worried about what someone else will think? Afraid they’ll label you a quitter, or become upset with you? Unless you made a promise to another person to fulfill this project, most people won’t judge you or shame you for letting something go, as long as you’re making the best decision for yourself (and if they do, maybe it’s time to reevaluate that relationship!).

Ask for Help When You Need a Reality Check

When you’re invested in a project or idea, it can be tough to be objective with yourself about it. When you simply can’t decide, call in the professionals. A Fresh Space is here to walk with you through your life and your home and determine how your spaces can best serve you, both today and in the future. Contact us to set up a consultation today.