Learning to Finish What You Start

Slack Free September

Make Yourself Amazing in April

#Achieve2017

What do these three links have in common?

They’re all post series that I started but never finished.

The list doesn’t end there either. I am full of great ideas about things I want to start. I can start things all day. The half unpacked boxes scattered throughout my house and the partially filled out planners can attest to that. It’s the finish that trips me up. Finishing proves to be an elusive goal that I almost never reach.

I’m not alone in my struggle. According to Jon Acuff, author of the forthcoming book Finish, nearly 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Acuff equates this to almost having a better chance of being accepted to Julliard than finishing a goal.

Now, since I made an A in my Intro to Dance class in college, this comparison doesn’t ring true with me, but for you non-dancers out there, this should be a little shocking. How can be possible? Why do we have such a problem finishing things?

Acuff explores this topic in-depth in Finish. One reason we fail to finish is that we’re making our goals too lofty. Instead of starting with a small goal, like completing a 5K, we immediately dive into the deep end, headfirst, with no lifeguard on duty, and say that we’re going to complete a triathlon. We create elaborate plans for how we will reach these goals, and then the minute one tiny piece of the plan is off track, we abandon it faster than it takes to spell triathlon.

Another obstacle to finishing is that we are our own worst enemies. We need to be easier on ourselves. One example Acuff gave was that if we set a goal to lose 10 pounds but only lose 6, we think we have failed. But, if we set a goal to lose 5 pounds and lose 6, then we have met and exceeded our goal. We shouldn’t feel like we have to go all in at full speed. Progression that helps us actually finish is much better than having good ideas, even if the progression is slower than we want it to be.

Another reason that we don’t finish is that we pursue “noble obstacles.” Acuff defines a noble obstacle as “a virtuous-sounding reason for not working towards a finish.” Another way to look at this is the sudden urge you get to sketch out your idea for a queso-on-demand delivery service instead of going for your training run. While a queso-on-demand delivery service might be a cool idea and be used by many people (or just Jon Acuff. Same difference), it doesn’t do anything to help you finish your goal of running a half-marathon. I am so, so, so bad about doing this, so this chapter was especially eye-opening for me!

Finish comes out on September 12, but you can pre-order a copy now. If you pre-order by September 11, then you receive the bonuses shown in the picture below.


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I didn’t expect it to be so timely for me though as I’m starting to plan out a few goals that I really, really, really, really (really) want to finish. I have been a fan of Jon Acuff since the “Stuff Christians Like” days and even guest-posted there once! I was excited to have this opportunity to be on the launch team, especially since this is a book that I enjoyed and can see revisiting many more times in the future. Perhaps there could even be a Fall Finisher challenge coming up soon…

I’ve also used affiliate links in this post. Want to know what that means? Check out my disclosure policy.

What is something you’re struggling to finish? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Together: A Journey in Godly Marriage

Together: A Journey Of Godly Marriage (Christian Female Book 2) by [Coleman, Sarah]

I read “Make Yourself Amazing” and really enjoyed it, so I had high expectations for this book. I was especially interested in this one because it’s a short read and since having a baby, our marriage has changed, so I wanted to see if she addressed anything like that here. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations. It felt very scattered and unfocused. Coleman touched on things that I found interesting, such as an analogy between making sure you back up your technology and your marriage, but she didn’t go into any detail about how to back up your marriage, so it left me wondering why she brought it up. She also painted a very flowery, almost romance novel version of marriage. She married later in life (at 31), and I got married at 29, so I understand that it’s going to be different than it would be for younger people, but it makes marriage seem unrealistic. It’s easy to think marriage is the greatest thing in the world when you and your husband are on a road trip adventure across Australia; it’s another thing when you’ve been up and down all night with a baby and your husband tells you how tired he is the next day. That’s where the digging down deep comes in. That’s where your marriage is tested and refined. That’s where you have to be more Christlike and use every ounce of Christian discipline you have not to wring his neck.

Ahem.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, and I have been hesitant to post anything because I don’t like leaving negative reviews, but there was so much potential here. There were so many more things that Coleman could’ve delved into and developed in order to make this a broader, less romanticized view of marriage. Yes, a godly marriage is going to look different than a secular marriage, but reading this book makes me see how people think that if they’re not living this life then they must not have a godly marriage. At least that’s what I felt like a few times while reading this. All in all, I would say skip this one unless you’re looking to read a real life love story that may or may not encourage you in your own marriage.

Jesus Helps Me Book Review

I recently received a copy of Jesus Helps Me to review in exchange for my honest opinion. The book, written by Callie Grant and featuring art by Missi Jay, goes through the Bible verses John 12:44–47.

Grant offers an explanation at the beginning of the book about how birds are signs of the loving God who made them. She then goes through the verses, nearly line by line, and compares attributes of different birds with children’s relationships with God.

Honestly, I’m still not sure that I fully understand why Grant chose to use birds as reference points to the Bible verses. It almost felt more like a nature book than one about Jesus. It was a fairly short and easy read, but I couldn’t picture it as one that children would immediately gravitate towards.

It is a beautiful book, and she offers suggestions for how the grownups reading the book can integrate it with different age groups. There are also some supplemental materials on Pinterest. All in all, it wasn’t a bad book, but it just didn’t spark my interest, so I feel that it would be difficult for me to be excited while reading it to our daughter.

I will be donating this to our local public library instead of keeping it in our home library in the hopes that it may resonate with another family more than it did with mine, so if you’re in my area, check it out!

 

Mama Needs A Do-Over Book Review

I recently received the opportunity to review Mama Needs a Do-Over by Lisa Pennington. Pennington, a blogger and the mother of nine (!!) children offers ten steps that mothers can use to reset themselves and their children when everyone is having a hard day.

Click on the picture to purchase your own copy!

I liked that her chapters were full of personal anecdotes and scriptural references. I’ll be honest; if I had nine children, I don’t know if I would have time to remember Scripture, much less quote it!

I also appreciated the exercises that she had in each chapter. It made going through the chapters much more interactive, plus I think it will make me more likely to remember and implement her strategies when my own future bundle of joy is pushing me to the edge!

I would recommend this book to any mother (or even many women) who are struggling with keeping it all together. Even though we only have a fur child until April, I could use some of the strategies now. Hopefully my scrambled egg brains can remember these techniques. Somehow I think if a mother of nine can do it, then so can I!

Disclosure the first: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Disclosure the second: The link above is an affiliate link. Purchasing the item with the link will provide money for diapers and superhero onesies.

The 5 AM Miracle: Book Review

I have a little problem with punctuality.

(Stop laughing, everyone who knows me in real life…).

I always think that I can get “just one more thing” finished in the mornings before I leave for work, but that one more thing turns into five other things, and it’s almost inevitable that I leave at least twenty minutes later than I had originally planned to.

The worst part of all of this is since my husband gets up at dark o’clock for work, and the pup and I get up too, I usually have at least two hours between getting up and when I should leave.

Two. Hours.

With that kind of time, I could really dominate my mornings, but instead I dominate napping on the couch and playing games on my iPad.

Okay, maybe I’ve figured out why I’m not the most punctual person…

I’ve always had aspirations of being more together and on top of things, but I tend to start strong and then fizzle out quickly. I think I just try to change everything all at once, lose motivation when everything isn’t instantly how I want it to be, and then quit. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? If so, then let me introduce you to The 5 AM Miracle!

(I completely intended for that to have a cheesy infomerical feel to it!)

I started listening to Jeff Sanders’ podcast earlier this year, and when I heard that he was accepting applications to be on the launch team for his first book, I wanted in! I received an advance copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

Click on the book to purchase from Amazon

In his book, Sanders lays out a plan for you to gradually make over your mornings and your life, rather than diving in headfirst. In fact, one chapter even advises you not to get up at 5 AM the next morning. I can get behind that kind of plan!

Each chapter is full of tips, action plan items, and a “kill the snooze button” section that gives readers ideas about mistakes and problems to avoid. He also gives readers steps to create their own 5 AM blueprint and 30-day action plan.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting to make big changes in their life. The paperback edition is set to come out on December 1, so you could have it and implement his tools and suggestions before 2016. You could be a month ahead on your resolutions!

What could you accomplish if you dominated your mornings rather than letting them dominate you?

Disclosure policy: I am using Amazon affiliate links, so if you click on and purchase the product above, I will receive compensation. That compensation will be used for diapers and superhero themed onesies.