I have an IQ that, depending on the test, measures between 144-152 on a scale of 160. My Mensa membership is in its third year. It took me less than 18 months to finish an M.Ed. with a 3.97 GPA. I haven’t even had to try much for my PhD and have a 3.85 GPA with a great dissertation idea. In short, my brain is not a weak point when it comes to learning. With that said, Jon Acuff is smarter than me.
If it can be started, I may have tried it for a minute. There’s a guitar that has been in a closet for 5 years now. I was taking to it fairly well, but gave up. 4 changes in major occurred before I finally finished my undergrad degree 14 years after I started. Right now I’m finally able to focus on something I want, with a consistent blogging habit for 6 months and a plan to write a novel in November for NaNoWriMo, but even then I’ve struggled to take necessary steps. I’m doing this while on leave from the PhD program while looking for work.
I have a problem with finishing. Thankfully, super genius Jon Acuff has the answer for that in his new book Finish.
Jon Acuff is Smarter than Me
Acuff’s new book focuses on defeating the crippling disease of perfectionism. He gives us a great, humorous overview of 7 major issues that rear their heads at the worst possible moments to keep us from accomplishing our goals. Contrary to all the BS laden hype of so-called self help gurus, these items are all realistic and genuinely helpful. His suggestions are as follows:
Cut Your Goal in Half
We tend to badly overestimate our abilities and underestimate how long things take. Go for half of what you initially targeted. Double the time you’re allowing yourself. Do something to overcome your natural tendency early to combat potential problems.
Those who cut their goal in half increased their performance from past similar goal-related challenges on average by over 63 percent.
Choose What to Bomb
It’s okay to fail some things. Not everything is equally important at all times. Don’t quit a goal because some less important area of life is suffering.
To be good at one thing you have to be bad at something else.
Make it Fun if You Want it Done
Don’t do things you don’t enjoy if possible. Find a goal that makes sense and a means of accomplishing it that you genuinely like. It’s okay if that looks different that my choices for the same goal.
The second benefit to picking something you enjoy is that it increases performance success by 46 percent.
Leave Your Hiding Place
What do you default to when you’re stressed? Do you find yourself going to a specific activity or two when you’re avoiding your goal?
Line your finish line with the dream goals you’re currently using as hiding places and then watch how fast you’ll run toward it.
Ignore Noble Obstacles
Stop pretending it’s better to not accomplish your goal for some mythical reason that it might hurt people. Painting your goal in a negative light is just a way to explain away failure as a virtuous attribute.
At the heart of it, a noble obstacle is an attempt to make your goal harder than it has to be so you don’t have to finish, but can still look respectable.
Get Rid of Secret Rules
We’ve all been feed a bunch of truisms that aren’t necessarily true. We’ve filtered life through sayings and beliefs that we don’t consciously think about and have allowed to take control of our actions regardless of their accuracy.
One of perfectionism’s favorite secret rules is ‘Winners never quit.’ Of course they do — people quit stupid things regularly.
Use Data to Celebrate Imperfect Progress
Track things. Don’t swim in data up to your neck at first, but check progress on meaningful aspects of your goal.
If you don’t review the progress, you can’t make adjustments. You can’t learn from mistakes. You can’t get better, and ultimately, you can’t finish.
So What Are You Going To Do About It?
What keeps you from finishing your goals. Which area could you best improve on? Is there something you feel was left out?