If you’re like me, you get excited about starting things. It’s really easy to start things. How do you start something and then actually finish it. If you’re like me, it’s a whole lot easier to start something. Finishing? That’s a whole different task.. Let’s get into what it takes.
How To Finish What You Start
First of all…
1. Get clear about the “Why”.
Why are you starting this in the first place? Sometimes, I start things just because it’s exciting or it’s novel or something new or something shiny and flashy. Get clear about your Why or starting. I have people tell me all the time that they want to start writing a book or start excersise.
Why? Why do you want to write a book? They want to start an exercise program. Why? Why do you want to start an exercise program? Now, get past the initial, “Well duh, who
wouldn’t want to start something like that?” And get to your personal reasons for why you want to do this.
I still remember a client of mine who was so determined to stop smoking. And he didn’t have a very strong why for many years. And you know, it’s one of these things where you start something and you never finish it. And then you start it again later on and you never finish it.
His daughter was out there playing with some of her friends. She was 5/6 years old at the time. She’s playing with her friends. And one of her little friends asks her, “Why does your daddy smoke?” And she looked up at her daddy with this look that just broke his heart. He didn’t want to be a disappointment to her.
And that became his strong enough why. You get clear about your why. I believe strongly that if you have a strong enough why, you’ll figure out all that
how. Get clear about it.
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2. Get clear about the “Who.”
Who will benefit from the completion of whatever it is you’re saying you’re going to do. You want to write a book, right? Who’s it for? Who’s going to read this book? And if it’s just you, you’re going to have a whole lot harder time finishing this thing than if you understand.
You have a whole group of people out there who will be deprived of the benefit they will have when you finish this project. Get clear about who it is that’s going to benefit from finishing this thing. Now, can that apply even to things like a goal to finish?
A marathon, for example. Yeah. A good friend of mine, finished a marathon. It’s part of her story. During her marathon, she carried with her a list of people who had been important in her goal to get there. As she was overcoming obesity and depression and some serious health challenges to actually run this marathon.
And as she completed each mile, she thought about a different person on her list. So, she ran each mile for another person. Because she was clear about the who it was for, she was able to complete a marathon. Can you finish a marathon if you’re clear about the who? Yeah. She didn’t want to leave number 26 off of the list. That person was just as important as number 1 and number 2. Get clear about the who.
So, number 1, you’re getting clear about the why. Number 2, you’re getting clear about the who and number 3…
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3. Get clear about the “How.”
What is going to be required for you to finish this thing? Finishing is a whole different skill set from starting. Starting carries with it a lot of energy and a lot of excitement. Finishing carries with it a whole lot of detail and attention to the specifics. And the ability to follow through with sometimes tasks that are not so exciting and fun.
You’ve got to get clear about how this thing is going to be finished. What are the elements, what are the components. Break it down so that you can see the different chunks of things that need to happen in order for you to finish. I like to call these chewable chunks.
So, instead of saying, “I’m going to finish my book”, you might say, “I’ve got 24 chapters to write.” Each of those chapters has three main sections in it. Each of those sections has three main points. You see, you’re going to break it down and I’m not saying you need to structure your book that way. I’m just saying break it down into chewable chunks. And then each of those chunks becomes a task.
Something that needs to happen in order to complete. And then as all those tasks are completed, obviously, the whole project is to be completed. So, get clear about the how.
Now, the fourth clarity has to do with, “When.” When are you going to do it? You’ve got all of these chapters, these sections, these elements, these tasks. You’ve got your list of things that needs to happen in order for you to complete it. When are you going to do it.
And notice this. The only time you can do anything is now. Yeah. Not right now. Because right now you’re reading this article. We’re spending some time together. But when you’re doing it, it will be now. You can’t do anything later.
So quit telling yourself you’re going to do it later. Find the “Now”. And I like to define that very specifically. “Now” means start time, end time. Very specific tasks in between. What tasks? The ones you came up with in number 3.
Remember when you got clear about the how? We’re going to put those in the “Now”. We’re going to put the How into a Now. That’s when you’re going to do it.
Stop lying to yourself that you’re going to do it later. That’s what makes this thing not ever get done. Put it into a Now. Start time, end time. Very specific task in between. The start time is obvious. Why that’s important. The end time, that’s when people leave out sometimes. And it creates a psychological trap. You want to give your mind an escape. An exit strategy.
So, that it knows that it’s not trapped here forever. We’re going to do this task and then it’ll be over. And that task will be done and we can set that aside and move on to the next one. And the next component that we identified in number 3 is also going to be put into a Now.
Honestly, this is the most powerful strategy I’ve ever found for actually finishing things that we start.
Get clear about the Why. Get clear about who it’s for, get clear about how this is going to be done.
The different components and then put each of the Hows into the Nows. And get clear about the When. So now, you’ve got some strategies about how to actually start something and finish it.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to finish what you start. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.