Have you ever started something and never finished it? Whether it's a diet to stick to, a book to read, an exam to prepare, a training program to follow, or a business to launch, we all have left things half done. Not a big deal, if it happens every now and then; however, it’s a completely different story when it keeps occurring. In today’s post, you are going to learn how to finish what you start and break the habit of not following through so that you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals no matter how ambitious they are.
If taking the first step in pursuing your goals is important, carrying on taking action is even more.
As a matter of fact, success doesn’t come from what we occasionally do, it stems from what we consistently do.
Getting started is already great, but the real difference lies in our ability to finish what we started.
WHY WE LEAVE THINGS HALF DONE
Starting something new is like falling in love. It’s exciting, it brings with it a lot of positive energy and expectations.
Yet, we don’t often consider the inevitable challenges or downsides that are part of the journey we embark on.
Before long, what we started - whether it’s a diet, a business, or a relationship - turns into harder work than we expected.
It takes longer to achieve what we have planned and hoped for. We get confused and our motivation hits the wall.
The difficulties take over, and the excitement of the novelty gives way to boredom.
The curiosity to see the evolution of what we started fades along the way.
As a result, what we started with so much enthusiasm and with so many good intentions and expectations too often remains only a dream and never comes true.
We come up with justifications and excuses. We tell ourselves that we don’t care and that we'll try again.
But the truth is that we will probably never do it, or perhaps, we may give it a try, only to leave things half done once more.
That’s why you must make sure you have a strong reason in order to follow through regardless of what curveballs life throws at you.
LEAVING THINGS HALF DONE IS MORE THAN A BAD HABIT
Not finishing what we started and ending up missing a goal is not only a bad habit, but it is also the quickest way to get dissatisfied with ourselves.
We begin to doubt ourselves, we feel incapable of commitment, bored, and lacking in initiative.
Before long, our self-esteem and confidence are jeopardized, as well as our strength and determination to keep moving towards our goals.
We end up feeling we are losers and convincing ourselves we are not good enough.
By carrying this belief we are pretty much doomed, as a matter of fact, our identity reflects the results we get.
If we regard ourselves as someone who is not good enough, we take lousy actions which in turn result in poor outcomes.
THINGS HALF DONE - A LACK OF DISCIPLINE
In the end, what it all boils down to is a lack of discipline.
If in the morning, when the alarm clock goes off, you keep sleeping in instead of getting up, you are teaching your mind to be lazy.
The same holds for the side-hustle you are building around your job.
If you don’t put in the work to learn the necessary skills to make it successful because you prefer to opt for instant gratification - squandering your precious time browsing Social Media, watching Tv series, etc - you are training your mind to avoid putting in the hard work.
As a result, you won’t get the result you want, i.e. quitting your current unfulfilling job.
If you are on a diet, and you keep eating chocolate, you are conditioning your mind to be weak and to yield to temptations.
Before long, your mind controls you, instead of you being in charge of it.
Do not be discouraged! Self-discipline is not an innate gift, but a skill that can be acquired through constant practice.
You can learn how to build lasting and solid self-discipline by reading the 11 tips I listed in my post entitled - WHY SELF-DISCIPLINE IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR SUCCESS.
HOW TO FINISH WHAT YOU START
Here are 5 simple tips you can use to stop leaving things half done and finish what you start.
1) BECOME AWARE OF YOUR PATTERN OF STARTING THINGS AND LEAVING THEM HALF DONE
List every past goal you can recall. Every class, resolution, business, language, book, or plan you began.
Write down why you started, and when and why you stopped.
Was it because your goal wasn’t within your reach? Was it because you didn’t have a clear vision of what you wanted? Was it because you were distracted by many things? Was it because you didn’t have a strong reason to keep pursuing your goal? Was it because you didn’t believe in yourself?
Can you spot any recurring patterns when answering the above questions?
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance”. - Nathaniel Branden
2) TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Keeping track of the progress you have made encourages you and helps you gain momentum in moving forward.
If your goal is to lose 10 kilos, track how much you lose week by week.
By seeing your progress, you boost your motivation to keep doing your workout and eating healthy so that you’ll be able to achieve your goal.
The same holds for any other goals you have, whether it is increasing your sales, bettering your relationships, reading books, and so on.
“What percentage of my final goal have I achieved”?
“Am I on track to achieve my goal”? If not “Why am I not”? “What do I need to improve”? “What different actions do I need to take”? “What can I do tomorrow to get closer to my goal”?
Keeping track of your progress makes you motivated and responsible for your goal!
“The greatest motivating factor in the world is progress”. - Jim Rohn
3) BE SELECTIVE WHEN YOU SAY YES
Every time you say YES to something, you are saying NO to something else.
When we say YES to everyone’s requests, we end up overlooking what is important to us.
We overload ourselves and end up not being able to fulfill our commitments.
You may be able to please others, but you will certainly not please yourself.
Or, you may enjoy instant gratification by saying YES to TV, junk food, or by squandering time instead of taking action aligned to the pursuit of your goal, but you will certainly not harvest the outcomes you aim for.
Learning to say NO is all you need sometimes to finish what really matters to you, whether it's your personal or professional life.
“Success depends on getting good at saying NO without feeling guilty. You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects. You can only get ahead with your desired lifestyle if you are focused on the things that will produce that lifestyle”. - Jack Canfield
4) STOP PURSUING PERFECTIONISM
It's okay to strive for excellence and do things to the best of your ability, but don't be too perfectionist.
Perfectionism is a mechanism that leads us to never complete something because there is always something missing.
It slows down and brings to an end the pursuit of our goal.
There is a sentence on the wall of the Facebook central office that says: ''Done is better than perfect''.
That is precisely the point.
If you wait for something to be perfect, you will never finish it, because there is always room for improvement.
The more you wait, the more doubts and uncertainties will chase you.
Waiting for the moment when everything is perfect is the best way to get stuck and never hit your goal.
“Perfectionism is a delusion that can rob one of a very successful, enriching life if not careful”. - April Bryan
5) LEARN FROM FAILURES
Don’t use failure as an excuse to give up; learn from them instead!
Running into temporary failures is inevitable during the pursuit of our goals.
Failures are essential because they teach us where we need to improve, the skills we need to acquire, and the person we need to become to follow through and achieve our goals.
So every time you fail, get back to work immediately!
When children fall while learning to walk, they stand up, fall, and get back up again until they find their balance. It’s a process of trial and error!
Every time we come up short on our goals, we must try again and learn from our past mistakes.
It is initially a really difficult commitment, but the good news is the more we get back up from temporary failures, the easier it gets, so keep at it.
“There is no success without failure and losses”. - John C. Maxwell
Now that I’ve shared with you 5 tips on how to finish what you start, are you ready to implement them?
You may wonder, “Why should I bother”?
Well, look at the alternative - REGRET!
No one wants to get to the end of their lives regretting not having dared and achieved their goals, in other words, having lived life with the handbrake on.
Therefore, remember that starting pursuing a goal is not enough, you must get into the habit of finishing whatever you start.
Only this way will you succeed.
So, which of the 5 tips are you going to try, and, what strategy, if any, are you going to use to counter the urge to leave things half done?
Let me know in the comments below.
Get inspired and be inspirational!
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