People usually set goals and big plans that they will hardly start, let alone fulfilled (it happens at the beginning of every new year, right?). It can be the promise to start a diet, to go back to university, to play some sport, etc. The problem is that sometimes projects are left unfinished in the professional field too.
There are many justifications for quitting projects or goals halfway through. Giving up may have been motivated by lack of focus or anxiety, excessive procrastination, or difficulty organizing. At the end of the day, starting something and not finishing it is part of the reality for most of us – which, depending on the project that remains unfinished, can be frustrating.
Are you also one of those who never finish what starts? So make an effort and do not give up reading this piece before the end, to learn some ways to finally find the motivation and perseverance to finish those unfinished plans.
Fast to Start, Slow to Finish
Whenever someone imposes an important goal on you, or you promise some big change in your habits, these processes require a lot of determination, effort, and strength. Setting a goal triggers a series of psychological projects. It starts with that natural impulse generated by novelty and the possibility of positive change, which soon evolves into motivation and enthusiasm.
But as things happen, and especially when it comes to a complex project that requires a lot of work, it is also common that a certain demotivation arises, which is reflected in procrastination, denial, discomfort, and, finally, a feeling of incapacity and anger that leads to giving up.
These are some of the main reasons behind the difficulty of finishing what you’ve started:
- Even if you like to ideate or brainstorm and propose ideas, you’re not the one suited to implementing these ideas or bringing them to life.
- You are motivated by long-term goals and when it’s within reach, you lose the motivation to continue.
- Difficulty seeing the point or understanding how that big, complex project can help the company (and even your personal goals).
- You simply don’t like saying goodbye or ending things, perhaps due to trauma or an emotional block of some sort.
- You’re not adept at problem-solving or solving challenges as they arise in the middle of a project.
Becoming a Completionist
If you identified with one or more of the reasons above, the only way to become a completionist is to first understand and accept your reasons, and then talk to others (co-workers, your bosses, family members) to explain what’s going on and ask for their support. Next, try adopting some of the following strategies that can help you finish your projects – or the plans you set for yourself:
- To avoid excessive procrastination, don’t allow too much time to complete the plan or project or leave it without a deadline.
- At the same time, also set a realistic timeline and progress points if it’s more of a long-term plan.
- Assign someone to hold you accountable during work: a colleague to evaluate/help you at work, a personal trainer on your weight loss project, etc.
- If you have a long-time project related to house maintenance or landscaping work, for example, make sure you have all the necessary equipment before you start, such as a pair of sports sunglasses to protect your eyes, gardening gloves, appropriate boots, and all the tools and gear. Having to stop what you started to provide equipment that is not available can demotivate you quickly.
- Break your big project into small tasks, as it is easier to complete 10 smaller tasks little by little than a single big job. Celebrate every little achievement along the way.
- Track your progress periodically to understand how you’re doing and how far you are from your goal.
The End is Near
Very ambitious or laborious projects are similar to a video game: you start with simpler tasks, advance through more complex stages, and feel frustrated in the face of the twentieth defeat to those enemies that seem impossible to kill. But you’re driven by motivation, discipline, and hard work, and using these you manage to finally reach the end.
While it’s natural not to finish projects you’ve started, many of the reasons for procrastination can be tackled with little effort and some motivation. Try to understand the reasons behind your dropouts and start finishing everything you left unfinished.