6 Reasons Why You Need to Finish & The Perils If You Don't


So you started, that’s fantastic. You were likely filled with enthusiasm and exhilaration on Day 1. Then a few challenges got thrown your way, and that excitement waned. Then a few more obstacles got tossed into your path, and you slowed down. Maybe you came to a stop. Maybe, like many people, you abandoned yourself and gave up entirely. But, I say kindly, you won’t ever get to where you want or become who you want to be unless you finish.

1. To prove to yourself that you’re capable.

The best way to boost your self-confidence is to finish. Period. You will prove to yourself that you are tenacious, strong, courageous, full of perseverance. You will prove to yourself that you are so much stronger than any obstacle that comes your way. You will prove to yourself that what you want matters, what you do matters, and that you matter. And you need to prove those things to yourself (not to anyone else) so you can nourish your self-respect.

The peril if you don’t finish:
  • You’ll foster self-doubt, which tends to feed on itself, increasing with every unfinished project, and you’ll shrink back, saying no to opportunities, instead of boldly moving forward.

2. To nourish your self-respect.

When you don’t have self-respect, you allow all kinds of terrible behaviors both from yourself and from others. If you don’t respect yourself, you don’t take care of yourself, you don’t defend your boundaries, you don’t demand that you treat yourself well nor that others treat you well. Finishing will show you that you view your own wants/passions/goals as important, you are deserving of things that bring you joy, you have gifts and talents to offer, and you hold a firm commitment to discover who you are and what you want from your life.

The peril if you don’t finish:
  • Your belief in your own worth and value may falter; you may start to believe that what you do doesn’t matter and by extension that you don’t matter.

3. To grow trust in yourself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Self-trust is the first secret of success.” You need to be looking inside yourself for answers as to what you most want to have/be/do/say. You need to decide for yourself what success looks like for you. All the answers you need truly are inside you. But if you don’t trust yourself, you start looking outside yourself for those answers. You start believing that others know you better than you know yourself. And that’s how you end up living a life better suited to someone else. The best way to grow your self-trust is to keep your word to yourself every single time. (And if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t keep their word, well, that’s a character issue, I say kindly, that you need to work on.) If you say you’re going to do something, do it, and see it through all the way to the end. Keep your word to yourself over and over, finish over and over, and the self-trust will come.

The peril if you don’t finish:
  • You will trust yourself less because you broke your word and gave up on yourself. Honestly, would you trust someone who promised you then didn’t fulfill that promise? What if they did that to you over and over; how much would you trust them then?

4. To make finishing easier the next time.

Your brain does some 6 billion (billion with a b!) calculations per second. It’s always looking for ways to streamline and make things easier. So it makes neural pathways based on previous behaviors; that way the next time a situation presents itself, your brain tells you to react the same way you did before (which is how habits—good or bad—get made). What that means is this: if you finish what you start, your brain makes a neural pathway that tells you to finish the next time you start something new, making it easier for you to push through whatever challenges might get thrown your way.

The peril if you don’t finish:
  • You’re training your brain all the time, so if you give up partway through, hit an obstacle and quit, talk yourself out of finishing for whatever reason, well, your brain makes a neural pathway for that too; making it all that much easier to throw in the towel and not finish the next project.

5. To let go and move on.

Once a project is finished, you can let it go. That project is no longer taking up time, space, energy, focus, resources, and on the list goes. You get to move on to the next one. The world opens wide to you; you can go in any direction you choose. You get the excitement of experiencing new people/places/things. You get to learn about yourself and grow. You get to see just what other achievements you’re capable of and discover just how much potential you really have.

The peril if you don’t finish:
  • Your focus gets scattered, especially if you start a new project then another and another and never finish any of them. Each one of those unfinished projects drains your energy (because you’re always thinking you’ll get back to it) and they often overwhelm you (perhaps causing you to zone out entirely), which makes it all the harder to actually pick one and finish.

6. To give yourself joy.

Finishing is about pleasure and satisfaction for you and you alone. It’s about not denying yourself those things that bring you joy or fulfillment or nurture you in a way that makes you come alive and feel excited about your life. Finishing is about giving your life meaning because the project you started matters deeply to you. Make no mistake: finishing is not about others and what they want; finishing is about you and what you need to make yourself healthy and whole.

The peril if you don’t finish:
  • You refuse to allow yourself happiness and fulfillment and those things that make your life worth getting out of bed in the morning, which like self-doubt tends to feed on itself, and so the more projects you don’t finish, the more you deny yourself joy, the more likely you are to start believing that you, somehow, don’t deserve joy/happiness/fulfillment in your life.

Some things I’ve learned:

  • To finish, all you have to do is keep going; you’ll finish if you’ll just keep moving forward (regardless of how slowly that may be).
  • Finishing is easier if you motivate yourself with prizes (so pick something you’d really like and give it to yourself when you finish).
  • Again, finishing is about you and you alone. Do you want it for your life? If the answer is yes, then that’s reason enough to pursue it and see it all the way through to the end.


So what will you work on finishing today?


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