I’m great at setting goals.

Finishing them is more challenging!

Do you find that once you have set a goal, staying focused on it is the next stumbling block? Do you find yourself getting distracting? Do you finish what you start?

I have a friend who used to carry a list of 70+ goals on a piece of paper in his wallet at all times. He felt they were all worthwhile and refused to shorten his list of goals.

Guess what? He was constantly stressed about having to make progress against all his goals!

How many of those goals do you think he accomplished? Not many.

Setting goals can be the easy part of personal growth. Making initial progress and then actually achieving something meaningful is far more difficult.

Another example is found at your local gym. In January it’s packed with people working towards their new years resolutions. Now look around, you will see far fewer people.

I’ve learned a trick that has helped me become great at finishing what I start. OK, maybe not great, but at least BETTER than I used to be 🙂

Finishing what you start can be a lot easier when you are clear on WHY you care about something.

When you set your goals, write a page about WHY the goal is important. Yes, a full page!

Re-read this page every week.

You can also perform a trick I like to do. Take your page describing why a goal is important, put it in an self addressed envelope and give it to a friend. Have them mail it to you in a few weeks. Write your page as a letter to yourself. Better yet, make a few copies and have a few friends mail it back to you at different intervals.

Doing this exercise makes you realize that having too many goals is distracting. Focus on the FEW BIG THINGS that really matter to you and everything else will fall into order. It helps to have just a few goals, but make sure they are MEANINGFUL. It will be easier to focus and the payoff will be worth it.

Instead of 100 or even 10 or 5 goals, start with just a couple BIG ones! Better yet, just pick 1 and really go for it!

Harvard Business Review has other ideas to help us finish what we start.

Published by Ravi Raman

Executive Coach + Yogi + Endurance Athlete

4 replies on “How to Finish What You Start”

  1. Interesting that I just added another goal to my list and then I receive your email about this post! I’ve always known that streamlining your focus is important, but sometimes I can fall out of practice when I get excited about new things.

    At the same time, it’s important to differentiate between a new goal and an activity that will help you achieve your original goal. For example, I set a goal to produce 60 videos within 30 days, however uploading those videos will contribute to my overall goal with my website.

    Great post, Ravi and thank you!

    1. Thanks Gabe! I’ve been following your blog and just saw that 30 day video challenge thing. I’ve never been much of a video-guy…have you found it useful in growing your audience?

      1. In the past, it has (relatively) blown up my YouTube channels but I wasn’t blogging much at the time. Last April was an all-time record month for views and video ad earnings, so I’m looking to far surpass it this time around.

        I’m curious as to how it will translate over to the blog;s growth, and will of course be sharing my results come May. 🙂

  2. Great article ! it has really emphasized a very common issue ( not finishing what has been started. I my self have always hoped that in life i will achieve a great goals. I used to set a list of 20 goals (very big ones ) and talked to my schoolmates about them and How i will be great a chiever. But I have never a achieved any of them so far.. i believe i shall try this approach of minimizing the goals and focusing one at a time. Thank you Mr Ramin for the great hint.

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