10 Ways to Finish What You Start

The average American is about 40% done with their goals at the start of the new year. The problem? They don’t finish what they started and by April, only 1 in 5 of them are still working towards those goals. What’s wrong with this picture? If you want to be different than most people, it’s time to find out how to FINISH WHAT YOU START. In today’s blog post I’ll give you 10 ways that have helped me complete my own projects. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way to finishing what you start.

Many people are poor at getting started. They make big plans but never take the first step. Others can get started but seem to bail out before they reach their goals. It’s quite maddening to put in a lot of work and then quit just before you reach success.

The most successful people are masters at finishing what they start. They’re like a bulldog with a bone. They’ll never give it up without a fight. We all have a story of quitting that seems to haunt us. You can put a happy ending to these stories – and this behavior – by learning to finish what you start.

Try these techniques:

  1. Develop the habit of being a finisher. When it comes to making the most out of our lives, we all have dreams and goals that seem unattainable. The problem is that many people never follow through with their plans because they are afraid of what might happen if they don’t succeed. However, there’s a way to get around this obstacle: developing the habit of being a finisher. This is most easily done by finishing all of the little things you start. Complete every little task you start.
    • Make that difficult phone call
    • Take steps to understand your financial situation in-depth
    • Finish the chapter you start reading.
    • Be obsessed with driving through to the end.

  2. Set reasonable time estimates. It’s easy to underestimate how long something will take. I know firsthand that it can be tempting to set a deadline for ourselves and then rush through the project, not taking time to do things properly. It is important though, as you are likely working on other projects at the same time, not to overestimate how much work we have left for this one. When something takes longer than we think it should, we become discouraged and quit the task. Instead of assuming everything will go perfectly, assume there will be challenges and plan accordingly.

  3. Release yourself from the need to be perfect. You might be reading this because you’re constantly feeling like you need to be perfect. You’re always striving for the best results, but the pressure is too much. It’s time to release yourself from that need to be perfect and stop comparing your performance against others – it’s not a competition! Perfection is a burden that gets in the way of progress. It takes too much time and destroys your enthusiasm. You can still do something well without taking the time or energy to try to make it perfect.

    • Remember the adage, “Better done than perfect!”

  4. Keep the benefits of finishing in mind. Is it really worth the hard work and effort to finish a difficult task? Many people are faced with this question when they’re on the verge of finishing an arduous project. In reality, there is always some benefit to finishing something you have started. Whether it be gaining motivation from your past successes or feeling accomplished for sticking through something tough, there are benefits that come with completing tasks. List the benefits of getting this task done. What will it do for you? How will you feel? Focus on the positive, and you’ll be much more motivated to complete it.

    • This is much more effective than focusing on how much you don’t want to do it, or focusing on how miserable the experience will be.

    • Keep the end in mind.

  5. Reward yourself for completion. You must reward yourself for completing tasks. The idea is that if you complete a task, you should do something to make yourself feel good and happy. This could be anything from taking 10 minutes to read an article on your favorite topic or go out with friends, to buying new shoes or treating yourself to dessert.

  6. Remember the times that you’ve quit in the past. We’ve all given up too soon and later regretted it. Remember those times. Remember how much it bothers you now that you quit. No one wants to relive that feeling. Quitting something meaningful should be something that no one does more than once.

  7. Remember the times that you’ve completed a big project in the past. How did this make you feel? Really good, right? When you finally complete a big project, it feels great. You feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders and you’re ready to take on anything life throws at you. Hold on to that feeling and feel more of it, more often, by completing things, even if they’re just small tasks.

  8. Keep track of your progress. Make note of the progress you make. It can be easy to forget the progress you make when it seems like you’re not going anywhere. But that’s just because we’re too close for perspective. The good news is, if you take a moment to look back on what has already been accomplished, it will show that there have been many improvements made and things are getting better! Be proud of your progress and use it as fuel to keep pushing forward.

  9. Keep away the negative thoughts. Giving up is the result of negative thinking. Notice when your thoughts are counterproductive and immediately switch your thoughts to something more positive. Negative thoughts are the most difficult to fight because they don’t show themselves. They’re hidden in our minds and it’s hard to know when we’re having them or how many we have. What you need is a way of knowing if your mind has been invaded by negative thoughts, so that you can take steps to evict them before they start taking over your life.

    • It’s hard to believe, but you can choose to think about anything you want. Choose wisely.

  10. Be okay with discomfort. Being uncomfortable doesn’t have to derail your progress. Accept that you’re uncomfortable and keep on going. I know it sounds cliche, but life is about the journey. It’s not necessarily about where you end up, but what you do with your time and how much effort you put into it. I also know that when we are on a journey, we often have to make difficult decisions and face our fears head-on in order to get there. One of my biggest fears is being uncomfortable or not knowing what’s next. We often receive the glib sounding advice “follow your heart” or “do what feels right.” Entering midlife it was obvious this was hardly the basis for a specific plan, and I realized they were inherently flawed pieces of advice because everyone has different hearts and different ways of feeling right doing something. What I can state with great confidence is the more you give in to discomfort, the less you’ll achieve.

If you want to be successful, it’s crucial to learn to finish what you start. This isn’t a skill that most of us were taught. We like things that are easy and comfortable, but if you learn to finish what you start, your life can easily become more comfortable for you!

You know people that never seem to complete anything. You also know people that finish what they start. Take a long look at their lives. Who do you want to be like?

If you think somebody else should read this post please share it on your socials:

I’m not recommending any additional reading with this post but you may be the kind of person who would benefit from this great tool. The Eisenhower Matrix Daily Task and Project Planning Notepad with Sticky Note Backing by Daily Ritmo. If, as I have discussed, you sometimes feel like you spend all your time managing chaos then you are probably confusing the urgent with the important. Leverage the method coined by 34th U.S president Dwight Eisenhower to filter your tasks and commitments, cut out the nonessentials, eliminate interruptions and distractions. Links for the UK and USA right here:

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