How important is to finish what you started

Every individual has certain personal or professional tasks that are left unfinished. It isn’t uncommon to start a project, class, book, and then leave it halfway through due to numerous perceived reasons. In this dynamic sphere of life, the importance of finishing what you’ve begun holds paramount significance. The discipline and consistency required to carry through and complete a task instill within an individual a certain form of self-worth, success, fulfillment, and positive growth.

The Psychology of Unfinished Tasks

Unfinished tasks have an uncanny ability to linger in our minds, often causing discomfort or stress. This is known as the Zeigarnik Effect – a psychological concept that states that individuals remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed ones. Indeed, the paradox of unfinished tasks lies in the very fact that these unfinished tasks can negatively impact our mental health, productivity, and happiness.

The aftermath of ‘not finishing’ things often leads to feelings of guilt, regret, and self-doubt, exacerbating stress levels and negatively impacting mental health. It creates a continuous loop of procrastination, where the unease of leaving something incomplete keeps nagging us, but we postpone it nonetheless.

Benefits of Finishing What You Start

Completing tasks you’ve undertaken bestows several benefits. Foremost among these is the enhancement of self-esteem and confidence. The satisfaction and sense of accomplishment attached with ticking off a task from the ‘to-do’ list work wonders on your self-confidence.

On this journey, your skills and abilities also witness improvement. As you navigate through various incoming challenges, you learn and grow, hence becoming more adept at problem-solving. This leads to increased productivity, reducing the stress of piled-up work.

Finishing tasks also have significant effects on personal growth and development. It aids in character building, enforcing the idea of responsibility and commitment. It establishes habits that foster discipline, paving the way for future successes.

How important is to finish what you started

Why People Don’t Finish What They Start

The phenomenon of not finishing what one starts is a common challenge faced by many. This issue stems from various psychological, emotional, and situational factors. Among these, a significant factor is the erosion of initial motivation or the “spark” that initiated the task. People often embark on projects with a high level of enthusiasm and energy. However, as time passes, this initial drive can diminish. The excitement that once fueled their actions wanes, leading to a gradual decrease in effort and interest. This decrease in motivation is often due to the realization that the task is more challenging or time-consuming than anticipated.

Fear of failure is another critical reason why many do not see tasks through to completion. This fear manifests in different ways, such as the dread of not meeting expectations (either self-imposed or those of others) or the anxiety of facing criticism or judgment upon failure. This fear can be paralyzing, causing individuals to avoid completing tasks to evade the potential negative outcomes of failure. The pressure to succeed and the potential repercussions of failure create a mental barrier that stops people from progressing.

Overthinking or analysis paralysis plays a substantial role in hindering task completion. When individuals overanalyze every aspect of a task, they often become stuck in a cycle of endless planning and re-planning. This constant deliberation over every possible outcome, risk, or mistake can be overwhelming. It leads to a state of inaction where individuals feel unable to make decisions or proceed forward because they are so caught up in the potential pitfalls and ramifications of each step.

Additionally, distraction and lack of focus also contribute significantly to unfinished tasks. In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, distractions are plentiful. From social media notifications to the allure of easier, more gratifying tasks, many find their attention diverted away from their initial goals. This lack of focus can lead to procrastination, where individuals find themselves constantly putting off tasks, thereby never reaching completion.

Another underlying factor is poor time management. Some people tend to underestimate the time required to complete a task or overcommit to multiple projects simultaneously. This mismanagement of time leads to a scenario where tasks are either rushed or remain incomplete due to conflicting priorities and the inability to allocate adequate time to each task.

In summary, not finishing what one starts is often a result of an interplay of various psychological and situational factors. From dwindling motivation and fear of failure to overthinking, distractions, and poor time management, these elements collectively contribute to the challenge of seeing tasks through to their completion. Recognizing and addressing these factors is the first step towards developing strategies to successfully complete initiated projects and tasks.

Tips on How to Finish What You Start

One of the most effective ways to combat the tendency of abandoning tasks before their completion is to employ a series of practical and thoughtful strategies. A primary factor in this regard is the establishment of plausible and realistic goals. Initiating any endeavor with clear, achievable objectives is a foundational step toward completion. Goals that are set within reasonable bounds ensure that motivation remains intact and fuels the drive to move forward.

Alongside setting attainable targets, it’s essential to consciously foster attributes of persistence and perseverance within oneself. These traits are pivotal when it comes to carrying out tasks to their conclusion. Challenges, obstacles, and setbacks are inevitable components of any undertaking; however, by remaining steadfast and committed, one can effectively overcome these hurdles.

Moreover, the environment in which one operates plays a considerable role in influencing the completion of tasks. A supportive and positive atmosphere is crucial for sustained effort. Engaging with individuals who offer encouragement and believe in your endeavors acts as a strong catalyst, urging you to persevere until the end.

Another strategy that can be immensely helpful is the deconstruction of tasks into smaller, more manageable segments. This approach can significantly mitigate feelings of being overwhelmed. When a task is broken down into parts, each segment becomes an achievable milestone, maintaining focus and sparking continued interest in the project.


The Influence of Finishing What You Start on Professional Life

The impact of consistently seeing tasks through to completion has profound implications for one’s professional life. It is a trait that enhances overall performance, productivity, and effectiveness in the workplace. By routinely finishing what you start, you demonstrate a level of reliability and dedication that is highly valued in any professional setting.

This habit of completion does not just elevate your work output but also contributes greatly to the establishment of a solid professional reputation. In the realm of business and employment, dependability is a currency of immense value. Colleagues and supervisors alike place great trust in those who are known to reliably follow through on their commitments. It cements your status as a professional who is serious about their work and is capable of handling responsibility with determination and focus.

In essence, the ability to finish what you start is more than just a personal habit; it is a powerful tool that shapes how you are perceived in your career. It signals to others that you are someone who can be counted on, who sees challenges to their end, and who values the quality and completion of their work. Such a reputation can open doors to new opportunities and can often be the deciding factor in career advancement.


Finishing what you started is a simple yet profound principle that holds the power to remarkably enhance your personal and professional life. The journey of completing tasks helps develop multiple skills and fosters growth, besides serving as a testament to your perseverance, discipline, and integrity. As we navigate through the many endeavors of life, the commitment towards completion indeed makes a significant difference. So, persist, persevere, and remember – the key to success is indeed in ‘finishing the race’.