Personal Notes & Listener Updates: Finish (Jon Acuff)

As a follow-up to episode 6, Finish by Jon Acuff, in this episode Em and Melissa discuss how they’ve personally started taking the action items from Finish and put them into practice in their own daily lives. They also revisit episode 4, Atomic Habits, to learn if one listener benefitted from James Clear’s advice — and check in on Em's progress with a problem she identified in her own life after reading Atomic Habits.

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Year after year, readers pulled author Jon Acuff aside at events and said, “I’ve never had a problem starting. I’ve started a million things, but I never finish them. Why can’t I finish?”  The author thought the reason he couldn’t finish his own goals was because he didn’t try hard enough. He says: So I started getting up earlier. I drank enough energy drinks to kill a horse. I hired a life coach and ate more superfoods. Nothing worked.

Then, while leading a thirty-day online course to help people work on their goals, Jon Acuff learned something surprising: The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite—they took the pressure off. It turns out the sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism.

The strategies in this book are counterintuitive and might feel like cheating. You might not guess that having more fun, eliminating your secret rules, and choosing to bomb on something intentionally works. But the data says otherwise.

If you’re tired of being a chronic starter and want to become a consistent finisher, you have two options: You can continue to beat yourself up and try harder, since this time that will work. Or you can give yourself the gift of done.


Show notes

To read the full show notes and takeaways from Finish, click here

In this episode, we also reference…

  • Episode 4, Atomic Habits

  • The Pomodoro Technique. Click here to learn more about using this cool time management technique for working on (and finishing! 😉) projects large and small

  • Grocery delivery through Instacart, which has enabled Melissa to simplify grocery shopping, stop lugging 30 lbs of groceries around Brooklyn, and save money and time! Take advantage of Melissa’s promo code!

Share your takeaways

Want to share your experience with Finish after listening to episode 6 or reading the book? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know if you’ve set a goal for yourself to finish or had any aha moments from this book — or any of our previous books — by emailing us at You can also leave us a voicemail at 929-515-BOOK (2665).


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Emily Hammel-ShaverEP 07