Get Good at Finishing Things

By Leo Babauta

Recently I had a reader write in to me about not being good at finishing things.

A few examples of things they haven’t finished:

I can relate! It can be hard to finish things — we get excited about something at the start, but when we get busy or things get hard or boring, our commitment wavers.

So how do we get better at finishing things? We have to deepen into commitment, and get support.

Before we get into the details, it’s important to note: commitment is a practice. It’s not something you either have or don’t have, or that you’ll always suck at. You have to practice, develop trust in yourself, learn what works, learn to bring in what’s needed for what you’re facing. Let yourself get better at commitment by being in the practice of commitment, regularly.

If you’d like to practice commitment, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Make a deeper commitment: if you’re only half committed, then when things get busy, your commitment will go out the door. So it’s a practice to deepen the commitment — figure out why you really care about something, commit to others, and practice showing up no matter what. It’s like the commitment of a parent to feed their children — there’s no question.
  2. Use accountability & consequences: Most people don’t want to create consequences, but when we’re not really showing up with commitment, we can use accountability devices to deepen commitment. If you said you would have to get a pie in your face if you didn’t finish the course you bought by the end of the month, you’ll probably finish it. If you had to give $100 to a political candidate you don’t like if you missed your diet 2 days in a row, you’ll probably get more serious about the diet.
  3. Get support: Get a coach and find a community. It’s hard to persevere with something on your own. It’s easy to let yourself off the hook when things get busy, and easy to beat yourself up about it, and easy to engage with the same patterns over and over again. A coach helps us to see the patterns and choose something different. A community helps us to feel supported and not so alone when things are tough.

As you deepen into the practice of being committed, you’ll notice that you’ll falter a lot. You’ll want to give up, or habitually start to go to distractions, or have lots of reasons why it’s OK to put it off. That’s totally OK — this isn’t about doing it perfectly, but about practicing with these habitual patterns.

So when you falter, don’t quit. Think of it as a part of the growth process. You’ll start, fail, learn, and try again, over and over again. As you do this, you’ll get discouraged, and it’s important to get support to keep going. Get encouragement!

If you’re interested in getting support from me, consider doing 1-on-1 coaching with me, or joining my Fearless Living Academy community. The private coaching is a deeper commitment with much greater support, but FLA is a great community that will support you to keep going as well.