I was just two weeks into the 100-day project (#the100dayproject), when I gave myself permission to quit.
I like to be challenged and set goals for myself and I thought I’d love being committed to one theme for a hundred days in a row. I was envisioning the outcome of having gained insights and skills and a big fat sketchbook full of drawings, but on Day 15, Danny asked me if I was enjoying my project, and it was the first time I even thought about the enjoyment factor. I hated to admit that no, I was not enjoying it.
Maybe it was the theme I gave myself for the project: wheels. I thought it was a great idea to challenge myself to draw something with wheels every day to ultimately improve my drawings of cars. Wheels are everywhere – I could draw them wherever I was! Right?
But now that I was actually looking for something with wheels every day, it felt a bit like a chore. The drawings weren’t that interesting. It’s possible that if I pushed through I would have seen progress, but I knew I’d rather spend time drawing in my usual sketchbook, instead of spending time making those mediocre sketches of random wheels.
I don’t like quitting. I like the gold star that comes with starting and finishing a project. But what’s the gold star’s value when the process isn’t fun? So there was just one way to go – I quit.
After deciding to quit, I felt relieved. I am so happy to focus on my daily sketchbook, and I’ll probably do a few drawings of wheels there – but only when I feel like it.
When you’re working on a project that at first you feel committed to, but then feel like you’re losing interest in – assess your project. Can you bend the rules you set for yourself? Maybe try a different tool or sketchbook to change things up? Can you be more creative around the theme? Maybe you just put it aside and come back to it later. But if you just don’t feel the joy of the process anymore, let it go. Nobody is going to give you a hard time about not finishing it, except for yourself. And you can give yourself permission to quit.
Then give yourself that gold star for ignoring your inner critic!
* — Koosje Koene*