How To Be A Great Finisher
Have you ever given up on a project? You had a great idea, started out well but then life got in the way and you are left with an unfinished task or an unfulfilled goal.
It happens with weight loss – first of January rolls around and everyone is on a diet. The motivation is high. Intentions are real. Week two and well, not so much. Exercise wans and the chocolate comes out.
It happens with house projects – you start renovating a room. You have big plans. Demolishing the old room is easy – everyone is pumped. Wow, a trailer load of rubbish going to the landfill. It’s a great feeling to stand in a blank canvas with all your ideas swimming around in your head. So exciting. But why, oh why, does it take soooo long to prepare this blank canvas for painting! Those renovation reality tv programs have a lot to answer for. Time passes. You get used to living with bare GIB (drywall) – it’s the new natural look. Then a new shiny task takes your eye and you are left with many unfinished renovation projects scattered throughout your home.
It happens with reading books – who has more than one book on the go? Hands up. I am a serial failure at finishing a book before starting another. Last month I had over ten books on the go at one time piling up beside my bed.
It happens with goals – those travel plans that never eventuated, that book that never gets published, that mountain that never gets climbed. There always seems to be an obstacle that keeps us from ticking off our goals.
I am usually a great finisher. I gain my satisfaction and fulfillment from ticking a task off my list. But sometimes, especially with the big goals, I become overwhelmed with the number of steps it takes to finish and I give up. Does that happen to you?
Those unfinished tasks and unfulfilled goals and dreams remain in our minds – bugging us. David Allen (in his book “Get Things Done” – affiliate link see note below) calls them “open loops”. These pop into our thoughts and sap our energy and drive. We probably are not aware of the effect of unfulfilled goals on our mindset. It may be the cause of apathy, depression, low self esteem and the feeling of being in a rut.
So, what is the answer? How do you become a great finisher?
Do a brain dump of all the projects, tasks, dreams that are currently unfinished in your life. All the unfulfilled to – dos and promises not kept. Make a long list of them. Everything you are started and not finished. Dreams that you are too scared to even start.
Does the list look long and scary? my list is completely overwhelming. Here is the key – you don’t have to do it all. In fact it is best that you don’t. The best thing to do is to look over your brain dump list and pick one thing that if it was completed or fulfilled it would make a big impact on your life. That is the one thing to finish right now.
Take the Next Step
Maybe you have already chosen your one thing to finish but you are finding the more you move forward with your project the more overwhelming it becomes. I know what that is like. You feel so tempted to give up or doubts creep in – is this really what I want to be doing? There is so many big and little tasks involved with writing and publishing a good book. I had to continually try and keep myself focused on the task at hand. One step at a time. Take the time to write down all the steps that you need to take to finish that task. Then take the next step. When you finished with that step…take the next step.
Keep the Vision Alive
I believe that what we focus on, we achieve. Without a picture in your mind of the end result – it would be very easy to give up. I printed off an image of my book cover and stuck it on the bathroom wall and as my computer wallpaper. Everyday my brain saw the completed version of my book. I think it helped me to keep moving forward when the learning curve became very steep and I had no idea what I was doing.
It’s in the messy middle of a project where staying determined is vital. I kept saying over and over in my mind – “This is the year, Rachel that you are going to publish that book – you are going to do it , this is the year!” Sometimes it feels like it is taking such a long time to finish. I have realised that nothing is wasted. Time is not wasted. Everything that I do towards my goal of finishing is valuable.
God reminded me of Moses – he was given a task to do – to deliver His slaves out of Egypt. It was a big task. Moses didn’t think that he had the right skills for the job. When we are pushing through and trying to reach a goal, doubts creep in – do we have what it takes to finish this? It took Moses 40 years to complete the task of delivering the people into the promised land. That story reminds me that the most worthwhile goals are a marathon effort not a sprint.
So what God given goals, dreams or tasks do you have still unfinished? It’s time to finish one thing this year! You can do it.
I would love to hear what unfinished project you have prioritised to finish.. share it on my Facebook page or below in the comments.
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