Get it done / Utilize a goal-setting book
FINISH: GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF DONE, by Jon Acuff
Do you think your goals should be bigger? Do you believe you can—or should be able to—do it all? Do you think if it’s fun, you’re slacking?
Lies. All lies, according to Jon Acuff in his new book, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. Acuff takes an approach to goal setting that seems to fly in the face of traditional goal setting mantras. And for the hard-driving, take-no-prisoners-type motivational gurus, his advice may sound downright dangerous. With strategies like “cut your goal in half,” “choose what to bomb,” and “make it fun to get it done,” some might accuse him of dumbing down goal setting and letting people make excuses.
However, according to studies, ninety-two percent of New Year’s resolutions fail, so it seems traditional methods aren’t working so well. And in this book, Acuff presents a revolutionary new way to accomplish goals, over and over. Not only does he give concrete examples of what’s not working, he also gives specific solutions to get you off the hamster wheel of setting and giving up goals within weeks, or even days.
From the research inspired by his “30 Days of Hustle” online course, Acuff learned that, in general, the inability to complete goals doesn’t stem from being lazy, undisciplined, or aiming too low, as one might assume. The number one enemy of goal completion? Perfectionism. So many of us believe a quiet lie that if we can’t do it perfectly, we should just quit. “We will gladly give up the whole thing when we discover some error or imperfection in our performance,” Acuff says, adding that people often won’t even start because “they believe that perfect is the only standard, and if they can’t hit it, they won’t even take the first step. Developing tolerance for imperfection is the key factor in turning chronic starters into consistent finishers.”
With just one chapter, Acuff already had my number interest. He’d pointed out something I vaguely knew about myself but had never connected to my trouble finishing what I start. And the revelations continued from there. Like, “Cut your goal in half.” What? What kind of mixed motivational message is that? A brilliant one. In one of my favorite quotes from the book, Acuff says, “This goes against every sappy motivational statement in that cursive script on photos of a waterfall universe, but if you dream too big at the start, you curse your finish.” I can just see those waterfall quotes on my Instagram feed.
When we aim too high, we are actually demotivated, because we know our goal is unattainable or, at best, a huge reach. When we set a realistic goal, and accomplish it, we are way more likely to set another, and reach that one too. And the next and the next. Whereas when we give up because a goal is too big, we are likely to flounder and not even try for a while as we sit in the corner having a pity party for one.
Check out the book for more surprising revelations. Acuff has served up golden nuggets of wisdom surrounded by a candy-coated shell of humor, just to make it go down easier. This book is basically the peanut M&Ms of goal setting. From Acuff’s witty, self-deprecating humor to his well-researched conclusions, you’ll probably find this book very hard to put down. You’ll probably even finish it. Pun intended.