in book review

Learning to Finish What You Start

Slack Free September

Make Yourself Amazing in April


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!

I love talking to people! Leave a comment and let's chat!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Seven Sunday Sites - Amber I Am

    […] importance of setting manageable goals – bonus, she mentions a book that I’ve reviewed here […]

  • Amber Can Read : September 2017 - Amber I Am

    […] wrote an entire post about this one, so I don’t think I need to recap it yet […]

  • You can do anything, but you can't do everything - Amber I Am

    […] I was on two book launch teams at the same time – this one and Finish. Add that to the list […]

  • Favorite Teachers, Classes, and Memories : A TBB Talks Linkup - Amber I Am

    […] comes out tomorrow! Want to know more about it? Read my review of […]