027: How to Discipline Myself to Finish What I Start [Podcast]

Do you get frustrated when you start something and don’t finish? Maybe you were really excited about a book – only to stop halfway through. Maybe you started a home project – only to leave it half done.

How do I discipline myself to finish what I start

There is nothing more discouraging than being surrounded by unfinished tasks. Is there any hope for me? Often we think the answer lies in having more will power or maybe we just need more self-discipline. While these seem like logical answers, they don’t work most of the time.

Are You a Starter or a Finisher?


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I think you can categorize most people in two areas: starter or finisher. You probably know people who are finishers. When they start something, everything else gets pushed aside until the project is done.

Sounds great right? The downside to being a finisher is they often are really hesitant to start anything new. They are less risky and more conservative, which can cause you to miss out on opportunities in life.

The starter finds enthusiasm in starting something new. They usually have 3 or 4 books they are reading at the same time. They are full of new ideas (almost seems like a curse). Yet, they are low on execution.

I am a starter. I naturally find enthusiasm in new things. I have to be more strategic about finishing what I start. Here are a few tips I have learned:

Focus on starting

I know this might sound backwards, but hear me out. I am not talking about focusing on starting new things. Just focus on starting where ever you last left off. We can have a tendency to see how much work needs to be done to complete a project and we end up doing nothing.

Use your strength to your advantage if you are a starter. Set a timer and work on that thing your procrastinating on for just 20 minutes. I promise you will end up doing more.

Replace your negative thinking

Whether you realize it or not, your thinking negative about that unfinished project. Instead of “I have to clean the garage” say “I choose to organize the garage because I love how it feels when I am done.” Change your thinking.

Decide not to be perfect

Another reason we do not finish well is because we want everything to be perfect. Perfection is an execution killer. It will rob you from getting things done. Instead say “I can always improve it later.”

I want you to picture the biggest project you have that is currently left undone.  Now, take the pointers mentioned above an apply them to that unfinished project. Get momentum on your side and everything becomes easier. For more tips and advice, I highly recommend that you read The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. It is a must read in my opinion.

Question: When it comes to finishing things you start, what has helped you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    6 thoughts on “027: How to Discipline Myself to Finish What I Start [Podcast]

    1. Love this Jonathan. Such great practical advice. I’ve had to use the “I can always improve it later” approach more times than I can count. This is such a huge key to taking action and dealing with perfectionism.

    2. I like this post. I am actually on a 21-day plan to finish the first draft of a workbook. I find it hekpful to share the goal with an accountable friend or group and to remind myself of the why to what I am doing.
      Thanks for these tips.

    3. Great points Jonathan. I especially like the point “Focus on Starting.” My weakness is coming back to a previously started-yet not completed project. This month, I will work on Focusing on Starting.