As humans, we’re great with the idea of starting things. Whether it’s a home renovation project, 1,000-pieces jigsaw puzzle, book trilogy, or yard work, we’ve got the “start” aspect down. However, very few of us are good at finishing. If you – like many others – don’t follow through on a regular basis, this can be frustrating and worrisome. It’s time for you to learn how to consistently finish the tasks that you start.
1. Be Careful of What You Start
In order to finish something that you start, you have to be selective about what you start in the first place. If you’re always starting new tasks and projects without considering the amount of time, money, or effort required, then you aren’t going to be much of a “closer”.
“I have embarked on things which I was half-interested in in the past, for example learning tennis or learning Japanese. Eventually I stopped them mid-way. This resulted in waste of time and resources which could have been better utilized elsewhere,” life coach Celestine Chua says. “If you set a high threshold on what you want to do, the completion rate is also higher.”
2. Set Goals and Milestones
Let’s say you embark on the massive goal of building your own house. If your only goal is to finish the house so that it’s move-in ready, do you really think you’re going to stay motivated for months or years? Probably not. However, if you set goals and milestones along the way – such as finishing the foundation, framing the walls, installing plumbing and electrical, constructing the roof, etc. – you’re much more likely to stay on track. The moral of the story is that goals are good.
3. Use A Reward System
CBT Nuggets, a leading online IT training vendor, encourages using some sort of rewards-based system with clients to help them stay on track. They even use it in-house to ensure success.
“One of our team members here at CBT Nuggets talks about his training habit including hot tea with lots of sugar in it when he sits down to train, every afternoon at 1:00,” Karin Klinger explains. “He is so consistent in drinking sugary tea while he trains, that now when he gets a craving for tea and sugar, his brain also expects that it’s time to train. He has successfully married his training to a time (cue) and reward (tea with sugar), which has resulted in the development of a true habit.”
4. Carve Out Time
The reason so many people fail to finish projects is because they don’t make time for them. They always put the work off, saying something like, “I’ll get around to it tomorrow.” Well, the truth is that you won’t get around to it if you don’t carve out some time. Add the task to your schedule and you’ll probably succeed.
5. Find an Accountability Partner
Depending on how your intrinsic motivation works and the amount of ambition and discipline you have, it may be challenging for you to stay on track. It’s possible to encourage yourself, but it’s also good to have someone else help you out.
Find an accountability partner and ask them to check on you. For example, let’s say you’re reading a book and have a goal of finishing it in 10 days. You can have your accountability partner call each evening at 9 p.m. to ask for a recap of what you read. This simple act will increase your chances of staying on track.
It’s Time to Start Finishing!
Once you realize that it’s possible to consistently finish what you start, your whole mindset will change. Suddenly, you’ll realize that you can accomplish things and embark on challenges without fear of failure.
Use these tips to get started!
Featured photo credit: Entrepreneur via entrepreneur.com