Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done

by Jon Acuff

Do you have a hard time finishing what you start? You're not alone. 92% of New Year's resolutions fail, and the same goes for other goals. In Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, author Jon Acuff unveils the secret formula to crossing the finish line and achieving your goals. Through his own experiences and research, he found that the key to success lies in releasing pressure and embracing imperfection. With this book, you can learn how to successfully finish what you start and make your dreams a reality.

Summary Notes

Embrace Imperfection to Achieve Goals

Consistency is key to achieving goals. It is not enough to start something; we should also be consistent in order to see results. This creates momentum and helps us create habits that will last.

Along the journey, we may find ourselves making mistakes. And while it's tempting to give up, it's important to remember that perfectionism is a trap. It tells us that if we can't do something perfectly, it's not worth doing at all. We don't want to get Bs and Cs, so we don't even take the first step. We don't want to fail, so we don't even try. We don't want to make mistakes, so we don't even write down our ideas.

But here's the truth: Your journey towards reaching your goals will never be perfect. Mistakes will be made, but that doesn't mean it's the end of the world. Instead of quitting when things aren't perfect, we need to develop a tolerance for imperfection and become consistent finishers.

Actions to take

Cut Your Goals in Half to Increase Your Chances of Success

When Jon Acuff, the author, was just a freshman in college, he had a grand ambition: to become a field-goal kicker for the football team, despite having no prior experience. But his own naivety and perfectionism led him to set a goal that was too big.

Research has shown that when we set goals that are too big, we increase the chances of failure. As the planning fallacy states: we tend to underestimate the time needed to complete a task. And as a result, most of us tend to fail at the goals we initially set for ourselves.

To combat this, Acuff implemented a simple yet effective strategy for his 30 Days of Hustle program: he asked participants to cut their goals in half. Surprisingly, those who followed this advice saw a 63% increase in performance and a renewed desire to work towards their goals.

Actions to take

Choose What to Bomb and Simplify in Life

Many people often try to do too much and set unrealistic goals for themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy and shame when they inevitably fall short. This tendency to overcommit is often a habit learned in high school or earlier, where individuals may have felt pressure to excel in multiple areas. The key to overcoming this is to choose in advance which activities or commitments you're willing to "bomb" or prioritize less in order to focus on what truly matters and achieve your goals.

For example, if you're a runner who wants to focus on training for a race, you might have to eliminate regular night outs with your friends. Or, if you're a busy working mother who wants to prioritize her job and her children over maintaining a perfect home, you may have to spend less time doing household chores. Essentially, choosing your priorities means you have to sacrifice those that don't mean much to you—and this requires having the ability to say "no."

However, if the idea of saying "no" makes you uncomfortable, or if completely stopping an activity is not possible, you can simplify instead. For example, ordering groceries online and picking them up at the store can save time and simplify the task of grocery shopping.

By bombing unimportant commitments and simplifying your activities, you'll now have more time to focus on the things that will contribute to your goals, making your life more meaningful and fulfilling.

Actions to take

Fun Can Motivate You to Reach Goals

People often pursue goals they don't enjoy because they believe that goals must be difficult and that fun goals don't count. But this doesn't always have to be the case. In fact, choosing a goal that one believes will be enjoyable increases the likelihood of satisfaction by 31% and performance success by 46%. Take Jeremy Cowart, a photographer, for example. Back then, he had this desire to fulfill his purpose of giving back to the community in any way he could. However, he finds it difficult to stay motivated.

He then decided to use his photography skills to give back and started Help-Portrait, an event where people get their makeup done for free and have their portraits taken. This allowed him to pursue his passion for photography while also giving back to the community. The event has been successful, and more than half a million photos have been taken to date.

Aside from making your goals fun, you could also incorporate two different types of motivation as you go through the process of achieving your goals. Ben Rains, a financial adviser, found that people are motivated by two different flavors: reward motivation and fear motivation.

People with reward motivation are driven by the positive outcome of achieving a goal. For example, you might buy yourself ski boots after you've achieved a certain milestone. Fear motivation, on the other hand, is driven by the fear of an undesirable outcome. For example, you could write a check to a political party you hate the most if you didn't hit your goal at a certain time you'd set for yourself. Depending on the situation, the size and type of reward can vary.

By incorporating a reward system, you'll not only be motivated to achieve your goals, but you'll also find the process fun and fulfilling, increasing your chances of success.

Actions to take

Adopt a Finisher’s Mindset

Perfectionism can be a major obstacle when it comes to achieving our goals. It can make us second-guess ourselves and our abilities, and make the process of achieving our goals feel harder and more complicated. But luckily, there's an effective way to help us overcome this—that is, by adopting the finisher's mindset.

A finisher's mindset is characterized by focusing on making things simpler and easier, rather than harder and more complicated. This mindset can be exemplified by the story of Jason Kanupp, a furniture maker in a factory in North Carolina.

Like many of us, Jason was always looking for ways to stack the odds in his favor. In his case, this meant finding ways to make the process of assembling couches more efficient. He noticed that the worst part of the process was twisting on the legs, so he experimented with different methods to make this task easier.

Eventually, he came up with a solution that involved attaching a short piece of radiator hose, a drill bit, and a freeze plug from an engine block to a leg, which allowed him to use a power drill to screw the legs on. With this simple innovation, he was able to cut the time it took to deal with the legs by 50%.

However, when the company saw what he had done, they told him it wasn't fair to the other employees who were working hard to do that same task. But instead of stopping, Jason built nineteen other radiator hose contraptions so that each of his coworkers could use one too. This way, it will be easier and faster for all of them to assemble the couch.

To achieve our goals, it's important to adopt a finisher's mindset and focus on making things simpler and easier, rather than harder and more complicated. By doing so, we can overcome the obstacles that perfectionism creates and achieve our goals with greater ease.

Actions to take

Replace the Secret Rules That Limit Your Success

We all have our own set of secret rules, or "limiting beliefs," that we live by; some of us may not even be aware of them. But even if we do, they can still have a huge impact on our lives. Often, these rules are caused by past experiences or fears and can manifest as perfectionism.

Perfectionism is destructive. It's an attempt to live up to impossible standards, which can add extra pressure and stress to our lives. We may start to believe that things need to be difficult for them to count and that if we're not miserable, we're not doing anything productive.

To deal with the secret rules that are holding us back from pursuing our greatest goals, we need to identify them first. Then, work on destroying them and replacing them with positive, more productive beliefs.

Actions to take

Track Data Points to Measure Progress and Learn From Mistakes

When things aren't going as planned, the best step to take is not to give up but to take a step back and reassess the situation.

Perfectionism can make us feel as if we've failed if we need to make changes. That, however, is not the case. In fact, regularly checking our progress is crucial to make sure we're still on track. Without it, we can't make adjustments, learn from our mistakes, and ultimately achieve success.

We often rely on our memories and feelings to assess our progress, but those aren't always reliable. Even a day after an event, our recollection of it may be fuzzy. Fortunately, there's an alternative and more efficient way to do this—that is, by using data.

Data can be used to make better decisions in life and business, just as Jon Acuff experienced. Even when things seemed to be going poorly, the data showed that they were actually on track. Without the data, he might have become discouraged and thought they were failing. Simply put, data helps us make better decisions and prevents us from getting bogged down by perfectionism. It also kills denial, which prevents disaster.

Actions to take

Eliminate Perfectionism From Your System

Imagine you've been working tirelessly towards a goal for months, maybe even years. You can see the finish line in the distance, but as you get closer, something strange happens. Instead of feeling excited and motivated, you start to feel a sense of dread. The voice of perfectionism starts to whisper in your ear, telling you that you're not good enough, that your goal won't be perfect. Suddenly, the idea of quitting becomes all too tempting.

We've all been there at some point in our lives. Whether it's a writer who can't bring themselves to finish their novel or an artist who shreds their own work before completion, the fear of not being perfect can be incredibly powerful. This fear is often referred to as the "fear of the day before done," and it's caused by perfectionism.

But here's the thing: perfectionism is a trap. It's a mirage that promises success and happiness, but in reality, it only leads to disappointment and frustration. Life is unpredictable, and no one knows the outcome until after. Take it from Bon Jovi, a famous musician who initially didn't want to put “Living on a Prayer” on his album because he thought it wasn't perfect. But eventually, it becomes a hit.

So, how do we overcome this fear and reach our goals? One way to do this is to surround ourselves with a support system of friends and loved ones who can help keep us focused and motivated. When we work with others who have achieved breakthrough, it's often because they had someone who believed in them and helped them overcome their fears.

By recognizing perfectionism for what it is—a trap—and surrounding ourselves with supportive people, we can reach our full potential and ultimately finish what we have started.

Actions to take

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