When you say ‘Yes’ as I chose to this year, you might end up choosing to say ‘yes’ to too much! This hit me hard in July, when I realised that I had my head full of plans and things I had said ‘yes’ to, but not enough energy or time to follow through. So what did I do? Gave up. It was at the end of July that Jon Acuff’s book ‘Finish – Give Yourself The Gift of Done‘ found me!
Say Yes and Finish
Despite its somewhat lighthearted tone, Finish has some great wisdom in it. In fact, it seemed to have been written specifically for me. Thank you, Jon!
I’m a great starter, but a poor finisher. I realized that this has something to do with things not turning out just the way I want them to. So I start something, find it’s not ‘perfect’ and then give it up. This is why most of us fail to finish or sometimes even to start!
Perfectionism will do its best to knock you down when you work on a goal. At every turn, it will kick you in the shins, steal your lunch money, and fill you with doubt.– Jon Acuff, Finish: Give Yourself The Gift Of Done
Here are some ideas from Finish that made so much sense to me and that I’m trying to incorporate into my life.
1. Cut your goal in half
Now isn’t that something? While popular culture encourages us take on more, here’s a guy telling us to take on less. He suggests that the goal be cut in half or double the timeline. Easy peasy!
2. Choose what to bomb
We can’t do it all. We have to give something up. This means we might have to give up doing something we love for something we love and care about even more!
It also means saying no. For example, you might have to call a halt to certain social events and activities if you want to write more.
When you can’t say ‘no’, then simplify. If for example, you have your children’s friends coming over – something you can’t say ‘no’ to, then keep things simple. Make the simplest meal or order in.
Also saying ‘no’ to every
shiny object course, newsletter, group that excites you temporarily is important.
3. Leave Your Hiding Places and Ignore Noble Obstacles
This is what hit me the most, because it was such a reflection of what I do.
A hiding place is an activity you focus on instead of your goal. So, you might suddenly justify your need for fun when you watch Netflix instead of writing. Or more subtly, you could decide to do something that seems very productive, like organizing your desk. While there’s nothing wrong with doing that, you might actually be using this ‘hiding place’ to put off doing a more important project. Desk organization might also feed into your need for perfectionism, while your actual goal scares the perfectionist in you.
If you’re watching Netflix every time it’s time for you to do X, that’s a hiding place. You’re afraid to face the fear of imperfection that comes along with every endeavor, so you’re hiding from it by doing something that requires no skill. You might write a bad sentence on your blog, but no one’s going to critique the way you watch TV.Jon Acuff, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done
A noble obstacle is a virtuous sounding reason for not moving toward a finish. It’s you saying, ‘I can’t do X until Y’. Like someone saying, I won’t start my blog until I have at least 50 posts ready to be published.
Both of these activities are equally toxic. I’m always finding hiding places and noble obstacles to keep me from following my main goals and finishing them.
I need to focus on writing more and finish working on the goals I have to that end. But you get how trying to be perfect is something that can keep me from finishing what I really plan to do.
So in August, I’ve been working on making more realistic goals and trying to avoid getting side-tracked into doing other stuff or taking on too much. I’ve also been looking at what my hiding places and noble obstacles are.
I’ve tried to simplify things and not take on unnecessary things that don’t help with my goals. I started by killing the separate Instagram and Twitter accounts and Facebook pages I had for different blogs. I’ve created a common About page and clubbed my Instagram and Facebook and Twitter accounts.
It’s hard work throwing off old patterns of behaviour and adopting new ones, but I’m aiming to try my best to do this. Wish me luck!
What progress are you making with your Word of The Year for 2021?
Linking in to Lisa’s One Word 2021 Linkup for August.