Lately I’ve been reading a lot of entrepreneurship, small business, and motivational books. A LOT. And, honestly, it’s been amazing. So, rather than keeping all that amazing knowledge to myself, I’ve decided to share my notes from these books with you!
The first book on my list is Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff. There were a few themes from the book that really stood out to me.
The Day After Perfect
Why do so many of us struggle with completing our goals? I like Jon’s take on this. He postulates that it’s the breaking a perfect streak or the fear of falling short that keeps us from continuing.
I’m incredibly Type A and a perfectionist. And this struck a chord with me! I have noticed that at times, I do give up after I break my “perfect” streak. Perhaps you do too. Have you ever been on a diet? You’re doing great. Eating healthy. Exercising daily. Then, for whatever reason, you mess up. You miss a day at the gym, or maybe you eat something unhealthy. Even though it was a small error, you find your inner monologue going something like this, “Well, I already ate a piece of cake. I may as well eat some chips and ice cream too.”
The irony is that it was just one small slip up, but it’s often enough to discourage us from continuing. That’s where the day after perfect comes in. And it’s a GREAT day. Sure, you may have messed up the day before (or the week/month before) but that’s okay. You have choices to make today. You can choose to hop back on that goal and keep going. As Jon says,
Do you know what will serve you far longer than perfectionism ever could?
Moving forward imperfectly.
Reject the idea that the day after perfect means you’ve failed.
Set Realistic Goals
The actual idea he puts forward is to “cut your goal in half.”
The problem with lofty or unrealistic goals is that if we don’t reach them, we tend to throw in the towel. However, if we set more moderate or attainable goals and succeed, we can always set new, larger goals for ourselves. The burst of energy and momentum we get from reaching our initial goals, tends to propel us toward reaching even bigger goals as we go forward.
Decide where you can let go
Ever decide to say, “yes” to literally everything? Why, yes, I will teach this class, write 18 guest blog posts, bake brownies for the bake sale, volunteer at the women’s shelter, edit my friend’s book, start a new business, go the gym every day, journal daily, read 85 books, and keep my house immaculately clean. All of those a lovely, noble things; however there’s very real potential for burn out. I liked the way Jon put it,
You have two options:
- Attempt more than is humanly possible and fail. – OR –
- Choose what you want to bomb and succeed at a goal that matters.
By “bomb” he’s referring things you can let go of. It got me thinking of what I could take off my plate during this incredibly busy season so I can focus on things that truly matter.
Say “No” to shame
Another freeing concept in the book is giving yourself a pass to say no to shame. You’re busy and that’s okay. Some days will inevitably be more successful than others. Don’t beat yourself up. Get back up the next morning and go at it again. The worst thing you can possibly do is let shame keep you from pursuing your goals.
If I could share just one key takeaway, it would be this, all forward progress is good… imperfect as it may be.
For more tips and insight you can grab a copy of Finish on Amazon.